Says he ‘ll trash opponent
That Oshiomhole was misdirected against him
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA- AHEAD of the forthcoming governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress, in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki has expressed optimism that he would thrash his opponent whether primaries are conducted through the direct or indirect way.
The Governor also said that his relationship with the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is still frosty, stating that the APC Chairman was misguided by some people.
He spoke to State House correspondents after presenting his Expression of Interest Forms to contest the APC primaries to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Asked why he was at the State House, he said, “Well I came to see Mr. President to formally inform him of my desire and intention to seek reelection as governor of Edo State on the platform of APC in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections. As the father of our country as our President, we should not assume or take things for granted, I have to formally come to inform him and solicit his support for my gubernatorial bid.
“I believe having been governor of the state for three years, you can check with the Edo people whether as governor I have served creditably, I have served the people of Edo.
” The consensus is that we have done well as a government and that people would like us to continue with the laudable programmes and policies which we have been undertaking in the last three years.
” If you recall when I got into power as Governor, one thing Edo was noted for was human trafficking. We had over 30,000 of our citizens who were in Libya waiting to cross into Europe today in less than three years we have stopped.
“We are celebrated globally, across the continent in terms of the reforms we have undertaken in basic education in this country. Those children, I can’t abandon them, we can stock what we have achieved till date.
“Based on that we believe because of the connection which we have created with our people, we have no doubt in our minds that we will win any elections, direct, indirect, general elections in Edo State.”
He said that the crisis in the APC in Edo was engineered by people from outside the state.
” The problem in Edo State is not from Edo but from outside. So the person I am contesting against is not in Edo, he is in Abuja, ” he said.
Asked to comment on the relationship with his predecessor who incidentally is the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, he said that there was no love lost between two of them.
According to him, “It is unfortunate that he is taking the position he has taken; I believe that he was not properly guided. As governor and his governor, it is my responsibility to seek peace for my State and with all my citizens.
“I will continue to strive for peace, I will continue to pursue peace, for the sake and interest of our people and I am open, I have always said that we should talk about how to move things forward. We cannot turn back the hands of the clock, so there are certain things we just must have to accept and see how we can move forward and build where we are.
“So, the relationship is still frosty, I am doing all I can, I am doing my best to try and make it warm just for the sake of Edo people. Whatever it will take to have peace, whatever it will take not to lose lives in Edo, I am committed to.”
Also asked if he was ready to make sacrifices to ensure warm relationship Oshiomhole, he said, “Whatever I can do that is within the law, whatever I can do that is constitutional, I will do.”
On the reaction of President Buhari to his visit, he said: “The President was quite welcoming when I showed him my expression of interest forms, he looked through it and teased me that he will not have to go through this again, he wished me good luck and assured me his support.”
Fielding question on the subject by the APC Governors, Governor Obaseki said, “In terms of the support by APC Governors, it is unanimous. All APC Governors decided and agreed that as a party when you have an incumbent governor particularly if he is doing well, they should run around and support him, it is a common practice all over the world.
“How man Republicans have come up to contest against Donald Trump? It shows a disadvantage for our party a disharmony and disunity within a party.
” However, that’s not to say that in a democracy, there should be no contest. No, you know you in fact this is the essence of democracy is contestation. So it’s important that we have a contest and I’m not asking to walk work through. However, it should be fair. It should be open, it should be transparent and people are entitled to endorse whoever they want to endorse.
“In American politics, particularly young politicians coming to see the older politicians who endorse the candidates. So the other Governors have in essence endorsed me. That is what it means.”
On the efforts of the state in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “I think Edo is quite unique in terms of its relationship with the Federal Ministry of Health, don’t forget The Minister is from Edo, with the NCDC and also with the PTF.
” I believe what may be the problem is that most State’s health system are weak. I may not be able to respond to the expectations of the PTF but by and large states have responded, if I take the case of Edo for instance, we were one of the first states to insist and focus on testing, on screening and testing.
“Yes, we said we couldn’t do a total lockdown because of the nature of our economy, but we then moved ahead to be the first state to make millions of masks compulsory for its citizens. And we today have three PCR Laboratories to test COVID-19 samples.
“So we’ve enjoyed very good relationship the PTF, we’ve gotten a lot of support from NCDC and don’t forget, we have the Irrua’s specialist teaching Hospital which is a center for infectious diseases in Edo.
” What we have done as a government is that we have leveraged those resources, the federal resources in the state. So with the Irrua’s specialist teaching hospital, with the University of Benin teaching hospital, with the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, we have been able to pull high-caliber medical personnel as part of our COVID-19 Response Team within in Edo state and we meet every day to review all aspects of our responses.
“And we are not being taken unawares because, from the very beginning, we were one of the few States who did our own epidemiological survey. So we have an epidemiological model which told us up front how the virus was going to progress and when it will peak.
“That model told us that it will peak in a do and the third week in June specifically June 28th. And if I didn’t leave my report with the president, to show you as a result of testing, how the graph is progressing.
“We have screened 300,000 of our citizens today. Our goal is to screen 10% of our population which is of 500,000 and test a minimum of 5,000.
“Today, we have tested about 2,000, we have 3,000 to go, and the more tests we do, the more we see incidents and it’s important because once you test them to find out you can quickly treat.
” The challenge we have with deaths that have occurred is that most of the people came in very late, you know, most of them had other underlying medical conditions, so testing is key and testing is throwing up a lot of cases.
“With our index case which was on the 23rd of March, it took 60 days to the 17th of May to have the first hundred cases. If it is taking 10 days to move from the first hundred to two hundred, so you can see that the virus is multiplying and spreading to the Community very rapidly despite all the measures we’ve taken to enforce social distancing, and proper Health hygiene, proper habits.
“So we are responding, we are working or cooperating with the PTF and we are not surprised and we appreciate the latest decision they’ve made to say that the states should now have more responsibilities.”
He said that he called different bodies, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Muslim associations, different groups on the possibility of easing the lockdown down and unlock the economy.
He said,” We are ensuring that as we decide to unlock the economy, as we decide to remove restrictions, they too will have responsibility for measuring, for ensuring that we do things to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
” So it has to cascade down. Don’t forget, this disease is not a government disease. It’s a disease that affects individuals. So individuals must accept responsibility for curtailing this pandemic.
“The federal government has done its own, the states are doing, associations, groups, individuals and families and individuals must now take responsibility.
“So when we say wear a face mask, it’s not like another government order. You shouldn’t be taking it like that. You should see it as a means of protecting yourself and your family, that sort of messaging, that risk communication is what we now need to continue to emphasize.”
Vows to track those that raped Omozuwa
On the student that was raped in Church premises, the governor said, “Fortunately my new Commissioner of Police resumed today. I’m going back to Benin and that will be the first assignment.
“We must, we must track down the killers because it’s gruesome, it’s share Madness. Why would you go to church and rape a young girl? I mean it’s a height of criminality.
” And this is one reason why I have decided to contest and ensure that we impose a state of order in Edo and get real Criminal Gangs even if there are in our politics.”