Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state have vowed to replace the incumbent governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, during the primary election of the party, saying no amount of blackmail and intimidation would cow them into submission.
In a statement issued Thursday in Abuja, the APC leaders said their views represent the several thousands of APC leaders, stakeholders and members In Edo State whose determination to replace Mr Godwin Obaseki in the forthcoming gubernatorial election is unwavering.
Among those who signed the statement were a former Minister of State for Works, Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi, three former deputy governors, Dr Pius Odubu, Rev. Peter Obadan and Lucky Imasuen respectively.
Others were Gen. Charles Airhiavbere Rtd, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Hon. Saturday U. Idehen, Former NDDC Commissioner, Sen. Francis Alimikhena, former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pally Iriase, and current Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Peter Akpatason.
Two members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Johnson Oghuma and Prof. Julius Ihonvbere; Gen. Cecil Esekhaegbe Rtd, Barr. Henry Idahagbon, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Hon Barr Patrick Obahiagbon, Hon Barr Ken Ihiesenkhien, Hon Patrick Ikhariale, and Hon Thomas Okosun, a former Speaker of the State Assembly also signed the statement.
The leaders noted that “not every leader deserving to endorse the following statement could have their names included on the list of signatories for want of space”.
The statement reads; “Our attention has been severally drawn to publications by Governor Godwin Obaseki and his agents in a section of the press, alleging that the National Chairman of APC, organized a “mock primary” in Edo State on April 30, 2020, purportedly to pick a candidate for the Gubernatorial election in Edo State.
He further alleged that the meeting had over 50 persons in attendance, thereby flouting his government’s directives on the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
“We hereby vehemently deny any involvement of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in our activities. We also state emphatically that there was no crowded meeting of 20 persons or more by this body of APC Leaders anywhere in Edo State in recent time.
“We hereby challenge Mr Godwin Obaseki to prove his allegation of a crowded “meeting of more than 50 persons” by releasing a video of such event.
“A look at the list of those who issued this statement on behalf of our teeming members will expose the rudeness in describing us as puppets of Oshiomhole by Mr Obaseki in the statement under reference.
“The twisted narrative by Mr Obaseki, is meant to drag the National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole’s name into our activities in order to blackmail him.
“This is an ongoing but overused strategy for his ill-fated campaign for second tenure. We state unequivocally that we are not intimidated by Mr Obaseki’s hackneyed bashing of and disrespect for the former Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, whose excellent performance in government remains the selling points for our party till date.
“Contrary to the resort to personalised attacks by Godwin Obaseki on the National Chairman, who is not contesting any election, we are confronting Mr Obaseki with the evidence of bad governance, mindless embezzlement of state funds, destruction of democratic culture, wicked demonization of those on whose backs he rose to power and systematic destruction of APC, the platform that brought him to power.
“As at April 2020, Edo State Government under Godwin Obaseki has netted about N350bn. The bulk is made up of Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursements and Internally Generated Revenue, all amounting to about N300bn, Bail Out fund N17.5bn and Paris Club Excess deductions Refund, enhanced by exchange rate differentials, making up the balance.
“Against this huge funds, never seen before in Edo State, there are practically no projects to justify the expenditure of the huge receipts. All promises, celebrated signing of MOUs, deceptive adverts inviting tenders and even inviting the Vice President on state visit to flag off construction of INDUSTRIAL PARK, came to nothing.
“There is not a single project worthy of commissioning as Mr Obaseki moves towards the end of his tenure.
“Even in the current fight against COVID-19, he does not care about the sufferings of the people but he is busy converting the opportunity and embarking on political campaign in the 192 wards under the guise of personal sensitization campaign against coronavirus.
“The state was shocked when he announced they had already spent over One billion Naira on the pandemic within two weeks. Till today there is no lockdown in Edo state in order to avoid spending on palliatives.
“Yet he moved markets to school premises in the entire state with a promise to fumigate the markets statewide. No fumigation has been carried out and the school premises are fast becoming Refuse dumps.
“Huge crowds are crammed into whatever space in the schools without social distancing. He ordered people to wear face-masks but his government did not provide any for the poor masses. The number of infected people is growing exponentially, he doesn’t care”, the statement added.