Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the standard bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, are engaging in a fresh face-off over the plot to arrest their supporters, unleash violence and import arms ahead of the September 19 election.
By Bisi Olaniyi
Obaseki, yesterday evening in an online statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, accused the leadership of the APC in Edo of planning violence and importing arms to intimidate and harass his supporters.
Edo governor, who levelled the allegations while receiving Muslim leaders at the Government House, Benin, expressed his readiness to stand with the people, defend their interests and develop the state, while declaring that the alleged gang-up by leaders of the APC was to provoke him and his supporters.
Ize-Iyamu, through the Chairman of the Edo APC Media Campaign Council, Prince John Mayaki, described Obaseki as a confused man.
Edo governor said: “I am not afraid of any man, but God. I know the gang-up is to provoke me and my supporters, but we will not fall for their tricks, as God will help us.
“As I speak to you now, you can’t imagine that the police from Abuja are already in the state and have been paid to arrest our supporters. They have been paid by a billionaire to arrest PDP supporters in the state. This billionaire sponsored the attacks on me and other PDP governors at the palace of Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, on July 25, 2020. This is to tell you the level of corruption and impunity we face.
“They are planning violence, bringing arms, intimidating our supporters, as part of their strategies. They know that if we have a free and fair election, they stand no chance. Their strategy is to continue with their propaganda and lies. They know they do not have a record of performance; their plan is just to intimidate our supporters and ensure they stay off the polling booths.
“They attacked my supporters and wanted me to react to the attacks. I will not attack them back because as the Chief Security Officer of the state, my responsibility is to maintain peace. We would continue to do that, at all costs.”
Obaseki assured Edo people that the developmental strides in the state had just begun, claiming that the first four year of his administration were used in laying the foundation, which he said would be built on in the next four years.
He said: “What Edo people have witnessed in the first four years is only the beginning of greater things. The first term is for laying the foundation for greatness. The foundation has been laid. We will build on it to make life better for Edo people.
“We have improved education, healthcare, agriculture, roads, infrastructure, environment, civil service and the economy of Edo State, ensuring that the life of every Edo man is improved for the better”.
The Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Fatai Enabulele, who led leaders of the Islamic community drawn from different parts of the state to pay the Sallah homage to Edo governor, stated that Muslims in the state were proud of Obaseki for the developmental strides recorded in the state.
He noted that Obaseki had done well in the last four years of his administration, reassuring that the Muslims in Edo State would reward him with their votes on September 19.
Enabulele said: “You have scored distinction in your first term and we will overwhelmingly reward you with another four years in office, by casting our votes for you in the coming governorship election.
“The election is not about religion or tribal sentiments, but about understanding the vision and mission of Edo people and Obaseki understands this.”
Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque also stated that Obaseki’s administration had provided progressive, pragmatic and dynamic policies and programmes to touch the lives of millions of Edo people across the state and beyond.
Ize-Iyamu, however, said: “Obaseki is a confused man, merely projecting the criminal plans the leaders of his divided party, the PDP, are perfecting, following the dawning realisation that they have been rejected by the people of Edo State and others.
“APC is the only party campaigning on its documented manifesto because our sole strategy to win the election is by winning the hearts and goodwill of our people through well-thought-out programmes and policies that will bring relief and erase the failures of the past four years in Edo State.
“Despite spending four years in office, Obaseki has neither achievements nor plans to show. He is campaigning largely on empty rhetoric, revisionism and shameful blackmail and propaganda.
“Election may be weeks away, but the truth has finally dawned on Obaseki. He is on his way to a sound and comprehensive defeat. So, like all failures, Obaseki is already preparing the grounds for his defeat with false and ridiculous accusations.
“Obaseki is also trying to deflect attention, while himself and his party (PDP), already renowned for violence, continue to ferry thugs and cultists into Edo State to rig the election, but he will be resisted. Together with our people, we are going to keep watch and ensure the votes to return Obaseki to where he came from are protected and made to count.”
The September 19 governorship election in Edo state, involving 14 political parties, will be a battle between Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, in order to determine who will be inaugurated on November 12 this year.