…Reps blast IGP, AGF over Assembly crisis; Bamidele slams Obaseki
…Emulate President Jonathan, Okunbor urges candidates
…Poll not worth Edo citizens’ blood, CSO tells parties, candidates
…Disqualify Ize-Iyamu over certificates forgery, ADP asks court
By Clifford Ndujihe, Henry Umoru, Gabriel Enogholase, Omeiza Ajayi, Gabriel Ewepu, Ozioruva Aliu, Tordue Salem, Dirisu Yakubu & Ibrahim HassanWuyo
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were at each other’s jugular, yesterday, over alleged do-or-die approach to win the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
The APC threw the first punch saying in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, that it would embrace issue-based campaigns and avoid PDP’s ‘’do-or-die rhetoric and scare tactics.’’
APC’s attack elicited a prompt response from the PDP, which in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, asked the APC to stop playing with words “now that their plan to manipulate the Edo governorship election has been uncovered.”
The bickering raged as the PDP caucus of the House of Representatives berated the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, over their alleged roles in last week’s invasion of the Edo House of Assembly by security agents and the police.
Cautioning politicians and the parties against tension and violence, some Civil Society Organisations said the election was not worth the blood of Edo citizens.
Indeed, a frontline business mogul and philanthropist, Captain Hosa Okunbo, advised the Edo political class to eschew violence and emulate former President Goodluck Jonathan, who in 2015 said his re-election was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and did not display desperation to win at all cost when the tide changed.
Meanwhile, leaders of the two parties boasted about their chances of winning the election, yesterday, with APC Caretaker Committee/Special Convention Committee, Governor Mai-Mala Buni of Yobe State saying the party’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu would win the poll.
However, Senior Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Sixtus Omokhagbor, said the achievements of the governor in the past four years were enough to see him continue in office for another four years.
We won’t copy PDP’s do or die rhetoric, scare tactics — APC
Hailing the electorate in Edo State for its show of support during weekend’s flag-off of its governorship campaign, the APC said it will never employ the do-or-die rhetoric of the PDP in its electioneering.
The statement by Nabena said: “As a party, we don’ t take this overwhelming support for granted. As articulated in Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s six-point ‘SIMPLE agenda’ that stands for Security, Infrastructural development, Manpower development, Public Private Partnership, Leadership and Employment creation, the APC campaign will be issue-based and devoid of the do-or-die rhetoric and scare tactics the PDP is deploying ahead of the September 19 governorship election.”
The APC noted that President Muhammadu Buhari, in endorsing the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, charged the APC leadership to prosecute and win the Edo State governorship election using all legal and constitutional means by avoiding the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa states during and after the 2019 elections.
“This we intend to achieve with the new and positive party disposition under the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker Committee.’’
APC planning to rig poll — PDP
Countering APC, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Diran Odeyemi, said the APC is only playing with words to conceal its intent of manipulating the elections by causing violence.
“Our campaigns have been issue-based unlike the APC that is simply playing with words by planning to unleash violence in order to manipulate the election.
“We urge them to learn from the PDP and sell their programme to the people. Now that their plan to manipulate the Edo governorship election has been uncovered, they have resorted to name calling. The people of Edo are vigilant and would resist every attempt to compromise the election.’
“So far, incidences of violence recorded have been traced to them. It is left for them to convince Nigerians how ready they are for free, fair and transparent election.”
Why Edo will return to APC — Buni
Chairman, APC Caretaker Committee/Special Convention Committee, Governor Mai-Mala Buni of Yobe State has expressed confidence that the party would win the September 19th governorship election and return Edo State to the party.
Speaking at a rally over the weekend to flag off the party’s campaigns across the state, Buni said that the state now being a PDP state as a result of the defection of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the APC was not a reflection of the wishes of the people.
He said: “”We are here to present to you our candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, we are here to take back our mandate, to take back our state. Four years ago, we were here, you had voted for APC and we have no doubt in our minds that you are going to vote for APC and return our state back to APC. We are here to admonish you not to be violent throughout the campaigns and the election because victory is ours. We are here not to fight but we must ensure that every vote must count.”
Why Obaseki will return to Osadebe Avenue— Omokhagbor
In like manner, Senior Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Sixtus Omokhagbor, said Obaseki’s performance will give him second term and dismissed Adams Oshiomhole’s description of the four years of Obaseki as a failure. His words: “The governor will win this election with ease and it is for this reason we are calling for a free, fair and transparent poll where voters would choose who would govern them in the next four years.
“It is wrong for Oshiomhole to say Governor Obaseki is a failure. Going by the feelers on the streets, the man has taken Edo far beyond where Oshiomhole left it.”
Speaking on the departure from what he called the time of darkness, the governorship aide recalled an era of old “where community youths in the name of youth associations would collect as much as N600, 000 from land developers, including the ordinary man on the street. But when this governor came, in conjunction with the Oba of Benin, the government came up with a gazette scrapping all forms of youth associations in Edo state.’’
Emulate President Jonathan, Okunbo urges candidates
As tension rise in Edo six weeks to the poll, Captain Hosa Okunbo advised the political class to eschew violence as Jonathan did in 2015.
In a statement yesterday in Benin City, Okunbo lamented the current violent tendencies the political space in the state was assuming, adding that the state would remain for all while politicians would come and go.
He also appealed to parents and guardians to guard against their wards being used for violence during the poll, and also called on the youths not to allow themselves to be used as thugs for the election.
He said: “Election will come and go but the state will remain. Nothing thrives in violence, our state can only move forward when we have a peaceful environment. We must begin to redirect our youths from negativity to positivity. “I want to take cue from my great friend and brother, former President Goodluck Jonathan who said no blood of any citizen is worth the blood of any politician. He stated this when he addressed the nation before the 2015 elections, he did not only say it but stood by it as well and it has earned him great global respect.
‘Do-or-die’ not worth blood of Edo citizens – CSO
Ahead of the poll, a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, One Love Foundation, OLF, said yesterday a ‘do-or-die’ approach to win at all costs was not worth the blood of Edo State citizens.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Founder and President, OLF, Patrick Eholor, which also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure the election atmosphere in Edo State was peaceful with stringent measures put in place by the Commission for free and acceptable election.
The statement read in part: “We should also let the people know that the blood of any citizen of the state is not worth their re-election plan. It is not worth their victory as well. They all have one interest and don’t have interest of the people. We must stop that and people must be educated to go out there and register and truly vote. We must not sacrifice ourselves for these ‘bandits’.
Reps blast IGP, AGF over Assembly crisis
The PDP House of Representatives Caucus, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) described the ‘’attempt to impeach’’ the Edo House of Assembly Speaker, Mr Frank Okiye through the back door’’ as a clear case of the desecration of the institution of the legislature, and an affront on the people of Edo state and Nigerians.
Chinda criticised the alleged role played by police officers and the Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami, in forcibly taking over the assembly complex undergoing renovation.
The caucus accused the Inspector General of police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami of” instigating the attempt to impeach Edo House of Assembly Speaker”.
They said: “As highest ranking law officers, they should be seen to keep peace and order and not otherwise. Why would lawmakers meet at an undisclosed location and claim that they have impeached the Speaker of the House all in a bid to ensure the removal of Governor Godwin Obaseki through unconstitutional means?
“Why would the police be receiving instructions from Abuja to brazenly trample upon the sanctity of the institution of the legislature as if we are in a banana republic where might prevails over the rule of law? This is not acceptable and must be condemned in its totality”
Senator Bamidele Condemns Action, Slams Obaseki
However, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele ( APC EKiti Central), yesterday condemned the alleged invasion of the State Assembly Complex in Benin City last week.
Senator Bamidele who berated Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State over the action, described the alleged act as unlawful, subversive and a damning threat to democracy in Nigeria.
Answering questions from Journalists yesterday in Abuja, Senator Bamidele who noted that the continued onslaughts on members of Edo State House of Assembly by Obaseki, should be condemned and resisted by all lovers of democracy because the legislature is an integral and critical component of democracy in around the world.
The lawmaker who noted that the alleged desperation of Governor Obaseki to secure a second term in office should not be allowed to desecrate, destroy and totally subvert the legislative institution in Edo State, said: “Democratic sustainability demands that political players should moderate and caution their political behaviours in order to safeguard the sanctity of democracy and institutions of democratic governance.”
Throwing caution to the wind by gladiators, he stated, might likely jettison survival of democracy and the genuine desires and aspirations of the people.
Disqualify Ize-Iyamu over certificates forgery, ADP asks court
Meanwhile, the Action Democratic Party, ADP, has gone to court seeking the disqualification of Ize-Iyamu from the election over alleged certificate forgery by his running mate, Ganiyu Audu. In the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the ADP alleged that the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC presented forged documents to INEC.
Confirming this suit to journalists yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Adelaja Adeoye. Said: “Our party has filed a suit, seeking the disqualification of APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, from participating in the forthcoming election, over certificate forgery. The fact of the matter is that, this is a serious matter, and ADP will ensure justice is served appropriately.
“For us to have good governance and good leaders in any part of this country, those contesting elections, must present authentic qualifications, as required by the electoral umpire INEC, anything contrary must be challenged in court.”
According to the court documents sighted by journalists, the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC who goes by the name Audu Abudu Ganiyu presented to the INEC, a Voters Card which bears the name Audu Abdul Ganiyu.
Similarly, he also presented a WASSCE/GCE certificate bearing the name Audu Ahudu Ganeyu to the INEC, just as he also presented to INEC an APC membership card bearing the name Audu Gani.
Consequently, the ADP has asked the Court to interpret the certificates and declare that the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC has presented forged certificates to INEC, which violates Section 182(1)(j) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 ( As Amended).
The Plaintiff also seeks an Order disqualifying Ize-Iyamu Osagie Andrew, Audu Abudu Ganiyu and the APC from contesting the September 19 gubernatorial poll as well as an order compelling the INEC to remove Ize-Iyamu Osagie Andrew, Audu Abudu Ganiyu and APC from its list of candidates eligible to contest the forthcoming Edo State Governorship Election.
APC candidate will take Edo backward – Group
Meanwhile, a group of Edo indigenes, under the aegis of Concerned Edo Citizens Forum (CECF) has called on the people of Edo State not to vote Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, saying that he would take the state backward, reverse the gains recorded by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government in the areas of job creation, infrastructure, education, and healthcare among others.
In a statement in Benin yesterday, the convener of the group, Comrade Roy Oribhabor, condemned the failed invasion of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) Complex in Benin City and the inauguration of a parallel Assembly in the state, urging relevant government agencies to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the illegal act.
The group expressed worry over the alarming rise in incidence of violence ahead of the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election in the state, and warned that voters will resist attempts by selfish politicians to subvert the will of the people at the poll.
NCFront accuses politicians of causing tension
Meantime, The National Consultative Front, NCFront, has expressed concern over increased tension in Edo state ahead of the governorship election, alleging that politicians in the state were responsible.
The body in a statement at the weekend,signed by Dr Tanko Yunusa,Head of Public Affairs Bureau, said democratic elections in Nigeria were fast acquiring a notoriety for violence and brigandage.
“This ugly and unflattering development in our country runs against the tenets of democracy and civility and should trouble all patriotic citizens,” they said.
“It is in this regard that we view the signals emerging from Edo State in the run up to the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial elections as advancing despicable acts of desperation clothed in violence and rascality of a frighteningly dangerous proportion. Elections, to us, should not be a matter of ‘do or die’ if the end intention is to provide selfless service to the citizenry. Therefore, when the level of desperation to win elections at all cost becomes evident as in the case of the run up to the Edo elections, it suggests that other considerations outside selfless service to the people may be the priority and this should not be allowed to fester as it endangers and negates civil democratic governance.
“NCFront therefore cautions all participants and actors, especially lawmakers in the state, who are presently engage in political harakiri and brinkmanship to urgently turn a new leave to play by the rules and shun all acts that can further heighten tension and endanger the very well-being of the Edo people, their lives and properties these political gladiators claim to be aspiring to protect. The INEC is also enjoined to ensure a level playing ground for all participants, while security agencies are expected to maintain the neutrality required and necessary for their respectable non partisanship.”