•It is paying us – Idahosa
By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – BARELY one week to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, campaigns by political parties in Edo State have reached a high point; from the major political parties to the minor ones, all exuding confidence that they would create upsets by dethroning the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The parties have been involved in accusation and counter-accusation which has over the years become part of the country’s political culture.
But this is not the best of time for many candidates of the APC as many of them have been complaining of the paucity of funds.
There have been complaints of zero funding from the party unlike it used to be in the past, the candidates are the ones providing funds for themselves and this has created uneasy calm among them.
The situation got worse recently when a House of Representatives candidate was battling to raise N40,000 to renew one of his billboard advertorials.
“It has been tough for us; nobody has gotten one naira as support from our party, quote me,” one of the candidates complained to Vanguard a few days ago.
Another candidate contesting for one of the seats in the state House of Assembly gave the same complaint; “We have never had this kind of experience before, it is like we are orphans. We are the ones sourcing for the monies we are using for the campaigns. We are the ones mobilising members for the rallies. We are worried and we are waiting for the governor.”
But the state secretary of the party, Lawrence Okah told Vanguard that every member of the party is providing funding. “There is nobody that is not using money to campaign, I am supporting a candidate and I am using my money to campaign, so everybody is part of the party, there is no specific money kept aside for election; it is the people that make up the party, we are all trying and we are doing our best.”
However, a chieftain of the party, Honourable Charles Idahosa told Vanguard that the party has adopted a new strategy for the campaign and that he remained confident that APC would win the polls.
“We are very ready. What a lot of people don’t understand is that we are doing it in a different style, a lot of people have asked me whether we are campaigning, I say we are campaigning; it is a completely new concept that we are putting together from the national to state, so we are working and campaigning but I am not going to disclose the strategy we are using so that our opponents, especially the PDP, don’t pick it up but I can tell you that we are ready for the elections. We are working on our campaigns, we are working across the state and come May 29, Buhari will continue, that I can tell you.
“What I will advise is that we should eschew violence and ensure a peaceful election because it is not business as usual, but our campaigns are issued-based and as far as I am concerned, the election of 2019 is based on character, it is based on integrity.”
Describing the crowd that has been present in the campaigns of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, Idahosa said: “It is the greatest ever in this country. I have never seen anything like that. I am a member of the Presidential Council in Edo State. What we saw in Benin last week beat our expectations. Look at Jos and Warri. The way people want to see him, we have won the election.”
He disagrees on complaints that Governor Godwin Obaseki was not doing enough to motivate political leaders to work for the party, Idahosa said: “Obaseki’s style is different, and we are happy. We, the political leaders, are not getting the bounty harvest we used to get but we have to face reality. The survival of the party is paramount. You saw the crowd at Garrick when the president visited the state; it is due to how the general public perceives Obaseki. It is not the common man that is complaining. “Can you remember how the Kings Square used to look like? The era of impunity, the era of thuggery is over, and a lot of people are happy. A few people were harvesting our common good and becoming billionaires overnight.
“The ordinary man is with Obaseki. The civil servants are happy; he is constructing roads and building infrastructure across the state. He is preparing Edo for the future. It is high time those of us politicians that are shouting key into the vision. We should stop all the complaints.
“Obaseki recently gave out contracts for schools renovation, and we are happy. He promised that in two years, he would open up and he has given out contracts on over 300 schools. In Uhunmwonde, for instance, we have eight renovations of schools, primary health, and others so, at the end of the day, we are happy. We are campaigning, and we are working. The other day, PDP was shouting that we are not campaigning because we have changed our tactics. We did that rally because the president was coming, but in all our villages, we are moving from unit to unit we are doing unit campaign, so everything is fine.”