We will not allow PDP rig us out again — Oshiomhole
By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
IT was a spectacle to behold as a mammoth crowd thronged the vast playground of Garrick Memorial College, Ekheuan Road, Benin City as President Muhammadu Buhari visited the Edo christened the Heart beat for his re-election campaign.
The playground, estimated to be size of three standard football fields, was filled to capacity with All Progressives Congress, APC, faithful and other Nigerians from all walks of life.
The gathering afforded Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is the national chairman of the APC, the opportunity to show that their relationship is robust. It was an avenue for the president to tell Edo people what he has in stock for them in the next four years.
Party chieftains were awed by the large turnout of people for the rally. Party leaders like Hon. Charles Idahosa said he was impressed by the turnout, which according to him, is an indication of what the party would get in the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state and the state house of assembly election two weeks after.
It was an opportunity for candidates of the party who struggled for every available space to make the crowd notice their presence.
Our scorecard and promise — Buhari
President Buhari who had earlier visited the palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II said he would not relent in ensuring food security for Nigerians just as he said he would mandate the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, to make public what they have recovered, where they are kept and what they would be used for.
His words: “I want to remind you of what this administration has been doing based on the promises we made when we were looking for your votes in 2015. We will like you to reflect and want to assure you that we have certainly made some progress on security, it was not the same way it used to be in the South-East that it is now, it is not the same even in the Niger-Delta. We have raised peace. On the economy, we have encouraged farmers. We told the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Central Bank, they gave soft loans to farmers and we succeeded in virtually having food security and we are saving hundreds of millions of dollars not even naira by not importing food products. I congratulate Nigerians for that because they decided to go back to the land.
“On fighting corruption, we are doing our best we are still following the slow system where we have to face people with facts and drag them through the courts and then get them successfully prosecuted and what we realise, this time around, we are selling the assets and putting the money through the Treasury Single Account, TSA, so that nobody can take the assets back to them. I assure you, sooner than later, I will get the EFCC and the ICPC to give a comprehensive press conference to tell Nigerians how much we have recovered, and where it is and what we intend to do with it. I am here purposely to thank you and again request you vote APC from bottom to the top. Vote for all APC candidates; please give us the power to control the state assemblies, the National Assembly and the Presidency.”
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Edo will give Buhari one million votes — Obaseki
On his part, Obaseki, who said that the president would get at least one million votes from the state in the presidential election said what his administration has been able to achieve in terms of foreign investments which would result into the actualization of the Benin River Port, the Benin Industrial Park and several others was because of the support he got from President Buhari.
He said: “In Edo, we say when you see a masquerade dancing very well, you must know that there is somebody who is beating the drum that is making the masquerade dance. Are we dancing well in Edo, is your governor doing well, are we paying salaries, are we paying pensions, are we training our teachers, are we building an Industrial Park, are we going to build Benin River Port? The drummer, who is making all these things happen is here today and he is our president, President Muhammadu Buhari. There is nothing I could have done in the last two years without President Buhari.
“The President has done what we expected him to do; give us direction, tell those who have been stealing our money to stop stealing our money, the rest we can do ourselves. Today, when I was coming here with him I told him there is something that is paining us in Edo, that ‘when you resumed office, within 60 days, Comrade Oshiomhole came to you and said help us with Azura Power plant, give us a letter so that we can go and raise money to build that power plant, the people before then refused to give us that letter, they were demanding for $20 million bribe which we said we can’t be part of.’
‘’President Buhari gave us that letter, we went to the market with our partners, we raised that money and within two years, we were able to build and 450 megawatt power plant in Edo State. Today, we generate more than 700 megawatt in this city alone. Unfortunately, we do not have electricity and the reason is not President Buhari, the reason is those people who were there before and sold our DISCOs to their friends. President Buhari has told me, he even mentioned it in the palace that he will do everything to make sure that Edo gets electricity but that can only happen when we vote for him. If we do not vote for Buhari to come back, we will be in darkness. If we want light, if we want progress, if we want industrialization, if you want me to continue and conclude everything that I have started, we need to vote for President Buhari.
“It is not whether we will win, it is by how many votes we will win, we want to make history; we want to give you one million votes.”
Oshiomhole praises Buhari, Obaseki
Also speaking, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole commended Buhari and Obaseki. He said: “I am proud of what under your leadership and guidance, the Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki has been able to achieve over the past two years. Because we have worked closely there is no learning curve. Whichever sector you look at, things have changed and things will continue to change. I am not saying things are perfect, they can never be perfect. I believe Governor Obaseki has added value and Edo State is better than I left it.
“This afternoon I am proud of Godwin Obaseki because I was nervous when I was coming to Benin. I had followed my President to Akwa Ibom, and I saw what our people in Akwa Ibom under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio did, then we went to Kogi our neighbour and we saw the turnout and then we went to Warri and we saw what Warri people did by saying they have totally and collectively rejected PDP by the way they turned out and the people we saw on the road side, I am happy I am proud with the quality of crowd that I am seeing here.
On President Buhari
Oshiomhole said: “I believe whatever Mr. President has done and what he is doing including the renewed efforts. Mr President paid off the debts incurred without doing the dualisation of the Benin to Lokoja road, we know that under your leadership, those debts have been paid and the contractors are back to work and as I speak, they are working.
“There are things that have shown where your heart is. Your constituency is the masses of the Nigerian people which is why you created several social programmes. All of these show a heart that is committed to the mass of our people but what I want to tell Edo people today; I believe you are an enlightened electorate and together we fought the godfathers and together we buried the godfathers and today Edo is free, no one man dictates who becomes what, the destiny of our people is in the hands of our people.
No room for PDP’s rigging again
“At the beginning, we were in opposition but today we control the local government, the state government and by the special grace of God we are controlling the federal government and God giving us victory, we will control the federal government over the next four years. The assurance I want to give to you, the young people, is that those battles we have to fight before, where PDP ordered the arrest of our youth leaders, where they used uniform men to plant guns in the hotel rooms of APC leaders, this coming election, they will not be able to do so. In 2015, they removed the name tags of soldiers and deployed them to my village to intimidate and oppress me.
This time, they will not be able to do so. Our campaign for one man one vote will prevail and if it prevails Mr President, this is your state. Despite the repressive ventures that PDP deployed to this state, we still won 45 per cent for Mr President after PDP in collusion had ensured that 120,000 votes were deleted. If they were not deleted, we would have delivered 52 per cent. This time, the question of manipulation is out of it so we are able to join Governor Obaseki to work together, side by side and ensuring that we watch out.
“Our opponent said he will sell our NNPC including our oil in Orhrionmwon, the oil we have in Ovia and the oil we have in Ikpobha-Okha, he said he will sell them exactly the same way they sold our electricity. Never again should we have a country where people who add no value, manipulate the system, and use the money to continue to dominate the system.
“Mr. President you cut off the supply line of PDP to Central Bank of Nigeria, we will not allow Atiku to come back to restore it. Mr President, you destroyed the supply line between NNPC and PDP, we will not allow Atiku to come back and restore it, Mr President, it is a big fight between them and the progressive forces and I think the message is getting clearer.
Difference between APC and PDP
“Some people say they don’t know the difference between PDP and APC. When you listen to Atiku, you know the difference, Atiku said he will put Nigeria for sale and he said even if you will kill him, he will sell and I say: No, we will not kill you but the PVC will kill your ambition and we will get Nigeria getting stronger and stronger under President Muhammadu Buhari.
“When you are building a house, the foundation may not be seen until you get to the roof, in the next four years, this President will put on the roof and you will see the difference between PDP’s 16 years and Buhari’s eight years.”