Edo State Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the news conference in Benin by 35 fringe parties, with Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) endorsed as their sole governorship candidate, was allegedly done in exchange for N5 million each and a promise of N65million.
The council, through its Chairman, Prince John Mayaki, alleged at the weekend that a motley of parties opted to sell their platforms and do irrevocable damage to their potential for growth in the state by agreeing “to offer their support to a widely-rejected Obaseki.”
Besides PDP and APC, the 12 other parties that beat the nomination deadline of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) included Action Alliance (AA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), All Peoples Party (APP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), National Rescue Movement (NRM), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
The 35 mushroom parties in Benin at the news conference endorsed Obaseki as their sole governorship candidate, “in view of his acclaimed impressive performance and to consolidate on his excellent performance”, but Mayaki said the action was shameful, embarrassing and shocking.
The council alleged: “A motley of some fringe parties gathered in Benin City and held a news conference to announce their endorsement of the outgoing Governor Obaseki.
“The parties, which ordinarily ought to present themselves to the people of Edo State as viable alternatives, to build the followership required for future relevance, decided to instead cash in on the greed of their leaders and offer their platforms in exchange for an initial down payment of N5 million each and an additional promise of N65million to support a governor widely rejected in his state for his non-performance.
“With the act of betrayal and greed, it is safe to say that the 35 parties have successfully and irrevocably done damage to their integrity and placed a final barrier to any potential for growth and relevance in Edo State.
“It is shameful and unfortunate, how these persons negotiate with platforms that should contest with the major parties and force through policy changes, if at all they cannot, by themselves, form the government in the interim.
“They make no attempt to increase their followership, present logical ideas to the people or even make the most basic preparations for elections, whether statewide or grassroots. Rather, their entire existence is to negotiate and declare support for the highest bidder.
“Luckily for them, they have found a good client in the desperate and rejected Obaseki. The governorship candidate of the APC in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is not in the business of paying for support. This is why he has focused on selling his manifesto to the people of the state through issue-based campaigns, devoid of name-calling and propaganda. The support he enjoys now from the millions of people in Edo, advocacy groups, parties and others that will endorse him in future is organic and based solely on their conviction.”
The campaign council asked Obaseki to enjoy the few headlines and news mentions that the procured endorsements would fetch him, but told him never to lose sight of the fact that in the final analysis, the mushroom parties were irrelevant and incapable of changing the minds of the majority of Edo people, who it said would massively vote for APC on September 19.