2023: Obaseki knocks Oshiomhole, APC as campaigns wind down
….PDP, APC trade blames over CBN’s naira policy swap
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has reiterated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar would fulfill his promise to tackle youth unemployment and dualise the Benin/Auchi Road linking Edo North, Edo Central and Edo South within one year into his administration.
Governor Obaseki also lambasted the opposition APC and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
He said Oshiomhole, who was the former national chairman of the APC wanted to team up with a former Assembly speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, to remove him from office, saying that the latter refused to be used.
The governor made the remarks while addressing party supporters at the Edo North Senatorial Campaign held at the Public Field in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area (LGA).
He said: “Francis Alimikhena was not supported by Oshiomhole, that was why he lost the Deputy Senate seat to Omo-Agege from Delta State. Oshiomhole also wanted to team up with Adjoto to remove me from office and because Adjoto refused, he started having problems with him.
“House of Assembly is 24/24. We did it before and can do it again. This set of representatives that we are presenting to you will not sell your mandate. They will not run away but work for you.”
Obaseki, who received some defectors numbering over 3,000 amid cheers from PDP supporters said the challenges the nation was facing are due to bad leadership.
He said: “Edo North is the pillar of the PDP in Edo State. Edo is a special State and God gave us the best but we fail to utilise our opportunities. Things are bad and difficult in Nigeria because of bad leaders and the day we remove those bad leaders, Nigeria will become great.
“The process of removing bad leaders will commence on February 25, 2023. If we succeed, Nigeria will become great again. Atiku Abubakar is the next president of Nigeria because he has the experience, capacity, and knows what to do to move the nation forward.
“I appealed to Atiku that within one year in office, he should help us fix and dualise the one road that connects Edo North, Edo Central and Edo South. He has promised to give me the money to work on the road. He is not a president yet and he is already making promises.”
Asking the people to reject the APC, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu said the campaign is a celebration of the PDP’s victory in the election, urging the people to use their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to actualise the victory.
He stated: “APC doesn’t have anything to show but feels that we are commodities that can be bought easily and cheaply. They are preparing to buy our votes but we need to prove to them that our votes are not for sale.”
Consequently, the governor charged youths in the state not to mortgage their future by selling their votes in the forthcoming general election but come out en masse to vote for only credible and competent leaders who have the experience and capacity to save Nigeria from its current socio-economic woes.
Obaseki gave the charge during a PDP Youth and Students’ engagement/Town hall meeting with the theme, “The role of the youth and students in the 2023 election.” He urged the youths not to allow themselves to be used for thuggery or be deceived into selling their votes.
The governor, who was represented by the National Deputy Youth leader of the PDP, Timothy Osadolor, charged them to vote for the party and its candidate. He insisted that only PDP could rescue, rebuild, restore, and save Nigeria from its myriad of socio-economic challenges.
Obaseki said: “As youths, we know you’re angry with the situation that the APC has put us all in. We are not for sale neither are our votes for sale. With our PVCs, we will vote out incompetent leaders and ensure the PDP and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar wins the election and save the nation.
“With Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria will get better; things will change for the better. Let nobody deceive you, Abubakar is the answer.”
On his part, PDP leader in Edo North, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said: “I urge the people of Edo North to change the change as APC has lied to Nigerians and increased the suffering of the people. Nigerians are suffering and we will not want to continue with the suffering. So, PDP is the answer come February 25, 2023.”
Meanwhile, the APC swiftly hit back by accusing Obaseki of aligning with the Federal Government’s decision to stop the use of old Naira notes February 10, knowing that the policy is anti-people.
Edo State chairman of the APC, Col. David Imuse (rtd.) in a statement, described Edo state government’s action as an anti-people, criminal, wickedness and insensitivity, which is designed to increase the suffering of the people and urged the people to reject the PDP.
Edo and the Bayelsa recently joined the Federal Government as co -respondents in a suit filed against the FG by some APC governors, challenging the February 10 deadline for the swapping of the old naira notes with the new ones.
According to Imuse, Obaseki’s action is in line with his trademark policy of wasting Edo taxpayers’ funds on litigation.
His words: “Wasting Edo taxpayers funds through litigation, over the years has become the governor’s conduit pipe for siphoning the dwindling resources of Edo People, even when he knows that his judicial adventures can run into ditches that will only bring embarrassment to the state. But he does not care.”
He noted that by taking side with CBN on “this anti-people policy, Mr. Obaseki has finally unmasked himself as the real enemy of Edo people.”
He claimed that the governor must have directed his friends who are POS operators and some bank officials to provide money for him to buy vote.
Imuse further linked the recent protest in Benin, which led to attacks on banks as a reaction to Obaseki’s anti people decision to toe the CBN line.
On his part, Edo State Commissioner for Orientation and Communication, Chris Nehikhare has accused Oshiomhole of instigating the protest in Benin City over the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which led to the violence and destruction of property worth millions.
Nehikhare, who accused Oshiomhole of instigating the protests in a viral video circulated on social media said, “I call on security agencies to invite Oshiomhole for questioning. He should be interrogated, arrested, and made to account for his movement in Benin City a few days ago. In a viral video on social media, he was heard deliberately instigating APC members to go on a rampage and intimidate people in Benin City, destroying government property, and bringing anarchy to the country because the government of his party is about to lose the forthcoming general election.
“The political party responsible for this policy is the same party that has sent their APC thugs to destroy the billboards of PDP candidates. PDP is not the government at the centre. So, it’s clear that this is politically motivated. We are pointing fingers directly at Oshiomhole as he has given a command to his tigers to unleash mayhem and anarchy. He continues to go against the laws of the land because he wants to be part of the next government.
“The situation is bad; Edo people should be patient as CBN has assured the Edo State government that there is enough money to go round. CBN believes that it has made the necessary arrangements for naira exchange in the state,”Nehikhare said.
But Victor Oshioke, media aide to Oshiomhole, who is running for the Edo North Senatorial seat, dismissed the allegations, saying his boss was busy with his campaign and was not in the state when the protest happened.
“It is election season, and we quite understand that Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu are rattled and jittery by the groundswell of acceptance that Oshiomhole is getting everywhere he goes. So, let it be put on record that the ignoble, shameless, and conscienceless temporary occupants of Osadebe Avenue, Benin City only concocted these allegations to find justification for their plans to use security agencies to harass and arrest APC members across the state.
“With regards to a video clip on social media, which was alluded to in the press conference addressed by the Edo State government, let it be made clear that Comrade Oshiomhole did not ask anyone to go out to protest anywhere.
“Though taken out of context, the 26 seconds clip that is being referred to shows Oshiomhole asking those who were with him to join him on a political campaign with an intimidating crowd to show that Edo State is APC. This is absolutely a normal statement, not unexpected from any politician at this time.
“Finally, Obaseki should come to terms with the fact that Edo people have become generally impatient with his government of lies and illegalities. They are eager to use the coming elections to punish him at the polls, especially those who he denied representation in the House of Assembly these past four years.
“There is no amount of trumped up allegations against Oshiomhole that will save him and PDP from the impending electoral defeat they will receive in Edo State in the coming weeks,” Oshioke said.
However, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has endorsed the PDP Edo South Senatorial Candidate for the February 25, 2023, National Assembly election, Matthew Iduoriyekemwen for an all-inclusive government that protects, supports and guarantees students and youth interests.
President of NANS, Zone B, Comrade Ogieva Isaac Izogie, who led members of the association spoke in glowing terms about Iduoriyekemwen in Benin City, Edo state, saying the choice of a younger candidate was to give the youth a voice in the government.
“We have followed your antecedents and history of service. You have left landmarks everywhere you served. We are confident you will even do greater at the Senate. Hence we chose you as our sole candidate to represent us at the Senate from 2023 onward,” Izogie declared.
Appraising Iduoriyekemwen’s capability and preparedness to serve, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Youth and Students’ Affairs, Comrade Jude Imagwe, stated that the senatorial candidate popularised the office of Majority Leader in Edo State House of Assembly through his numerous socio-political and people-centred services.
“Iduoriyekemwen remains a major rallying point in Edo South. His past engagements and the several positive initiatives he brings onboard shows that he will perform excellently at the Senate,” Imagwe said, adding that the state of affairs of the country, require that only a strong National Assembly can effectively checkmate the excesses of the Executive.
Omoruyi Oghomwen, PRO, Edo Youth Coalition (EYC), noted that after careful studying of the various persons running for Senate in Edo South, the coalition considered Iduoriyekemwen, following his service and history, for the job and endorsed him.
In his response, Iduoriyekemwen, said he was honoured to have received the two groups (NANS, EYC), noting that the endorsements mark a significant watershed in his ambition and he will cherish it for a long time.
Meanwhile, the managing director of Benin- Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORDA), Engr. Saliu Ahmed has expressed optimism that the people of Etsako West Local Government Area will reward Oshiomhole, with their votes for his developmental strides in the locality, particularly, the network of roads constructed, erosion control among others.
Saliu, who is a titled Chief in Auchi stated that on the two occasions Oshiomhole contested for political office in the state, he got the highest number of votes, both in his first tenure and re-election bid, from Auchi to make the difference.
While noting that Auchi people are appreciative of their benefactors, he added that they would not abandon someone who sacrificed a lot for the good of the community and begin to chase shadows.