May 24, 2024

Edo guber: Support for Ighodalo, Okpebholo splits Benin computer village


•Traders count losses, police seal, re-open centre
•I lost an eye because of their selfish interests —Union chairman

By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY— THERE is a crisis in the GSM Village in Benin City, over divided support for the governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, and his All Progressives Congress, APC, counterpart, Senator Monday Okpebholo.

Chairman orchestrating crisis, failed to render account —Protesters

Some members of the market association, who protested to the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, yesterday, complained that the purported support of their chairman, Ikhelowa Mohammed for Ighodalo has generated a crisis that led to the closing of their businesses for a whole day.

They also accused him of refusing to render a proper account of his administration since he assumed office and that he has been running the market like his personal estate.

They also alleged that there was no transparency in the way he handled the Ossiomo Power brought to the market for uninterrupted power supply which they claimed they were not getting.

My support for Ighodalo reason for gang-up —Chairman

Reacting to the allegations, Mohammed said there was a gang-up against him because he supports and is mobilising support for Ighodalo.

He said he gave a transparent account of his administration so far, adding that his popularity made him occupy the secretary position for two terms from where he became chairman.

He said: “The former chairman is a supporter of the APC deputy governorship candidate and wants to hijack this market by all means for the APC but I have told them that this market is for Asue Ighodalo and Osarodion Ogie. Is it not a government that has worked for you that you will support? The person you know is better than the one you don’t know. I have known Osarodion Ogie from when he was Chief of Staff till now. So I am comfortable with him because I have known him but I don’t know the others.

“I served as Secretary General of this market association for two terms and then became president, it has never happened here before; that tells you the level of popularity and followership that I command.

“I am the first person to have won three elections consecutively. I have told the people here that Asue Ighodalo and Osarodion Ogie are our candidates. That is why the former chairman and others are ganging up against me without following our constitution and want to frustrate my government to remove me from office, they have even threatened to kill me.

“As the leader of this market, I told my people and they agreed with me and we all visited Ogie and Ighodalo together. It is those who are not in support of this that are causing the crisis here. But this matter will be taken to court because I am suffering from aggravated injury that has resulted in losing my right eye. Some of those people who came to protest are not members of the GSM village, they were imported, you need to visit the state CID and see our list of members.”
He continued: “The lacuna we have is because the person who is supposed to be in charge of the secretariat, the secretary, absconded shortly after our election so I have to improvise. I was elected on October 8 and I resumed office October 10, 2022, by November, the Secretary left.

How I lost my eye

“They started creating a crisis, they forcefully took over this place and the Secretary who was in London after absconding started sponsoring people against me. They forcefully took over the secretariat and while I was trying to enter the office, one Omobude Omokaro assisted by his brother destroyed my right eye. I was given the beating of my life. This office was tumbled, they went away with my laptop, my mother’s cash and several other valuable items. I am alive today by the grace of God.

Peace deal

“We signed a peace accord in Abuja. When I called a general meeting when we came back, my Vice Chairman assaulted me and reneged on the peace accord. They formed a parallel government and brought gunmen into this market. I reported the matter to the police. The Commissioner of Police has told them that this is a constitutional matter and if they feel aggrieved, they should go to court rather than taking laws into their own hands.

“It took us over N35 million to bring Ossiomo power here and what they contributed was about N9 million yet they are complaining. You can go to Osiomo to verify these claims and those who protested to you are not subscribers to Ossiomo.

“Now, they are saying we should not support the government that has given us a conducive environment to work, and tarred the roads around here. We pay but we have a regular power supply which gives enough boost to our business.”