Ahead of the Edo Sept. 19 governorship election, the two leading candidates of the poll have thrown decorum to the winds with their adoption of campaign of calumy and mudslinging.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the mudslingers.
Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu are among the 14 governorship candidates cleared by INEC for the Edo election.
Obaseki on Friday described Ize-Iyamu and former national chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, and their supporters as expired political forces that would meet defeat in the hands of well meaning Edo people at the poll.
Ize-Iyamu accused Obaseki to have allegedly planned to obtain a N20 billion bond loan from financial institutions to pursue his second-term ambition after allegedly draining the state treasury.
The Special Adviser to Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, however said: “Governor Obaseki has unwavering faith in his works and the growing support of millions of Edo people, who are the actual voters that will re-elect Obaseki for another term in office.”
He said “the avalanche of lies being bandied by Ize-Iyamu and his cronies who have run out of ideas in their desperate effort to sell a very bad product for the Edo gubernatorial election will not save them from their imminent defeat.
“When you have a candidate that is facing criminal charges for laundering N700 million at the same time he is trying to campaign for an election, then you can imagine that they are left with no other choice than to tell cheap lies just to get ahead.
“Ize-Iyamu knows beyond doubt that his political career will be terminated unceremoniously on September 19 by Governor Obaseki and no desperate lie can save him now.”
According to Osagie “Edo people have come to the full understanding of Obaseki’s brand of politics which is about the greatest good possible, for the greater number of people as against Ize-Iyamu’s retrogressive politics of converting public wealth to his personal property.
“A case in point is the trial he is currently facing in court. Edo people know Ize-Iyamu and his ways. They know they do not stand any chance in the coming election, hence, their resort to lies and campaigns of calumny.
“Edo State under Obaseki has since shaken off the last vestiges of bad governance which Ize-Iyamu is notorious for, and our people are determined, more than ever, to sustain the progress we have so far witnessed, with their votes.
“With Obaseki, trust, accountability to the people, integrity, our common dignity are the driving forces.
“These qualities have been demonstrated over and over again in the last three years and seven months, and a renewed four-year mandate from Edo people will turbo-charge us to deliver more dividends of democracy.
“Followers of the campaigns in Edo State, have in the past few days expressed their readiness to file behind Obaseki come September 19, on the back of our score card, that has moving stories of how Obaseki has reformed pension management in Edo State.
“From an era of pain, sorrow and death of pensioners in endless queues and during protests, to an era in which the people’s governor cleared all pension arrears that have accumulated since 1996.
“Our achievements in the education sector have been referenced by national and sub-national governments, who have come to Benin to learn how we transformed public education in our state.
“Edo State is now rated as the best place to live and do business since we rid our streets of political thugs who constituted nuisance to decent living and businesses. Expectedly, some of these thugs are today’s Ize-Iyamu’s cheer leaders.
“Edo is the only state today, where you can buy a plot of land, get your Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) in less than two months and build your house without any area boy coming to harass or intimidate you.
“These achievements and more, underpin Edo people’s faith in Obaseki and we are ready to keep things this way for another four years,” he said.
On his part, Ize-Iyamu through his Director of Communication and Media Campaign Organisation, Mr John Mayaki, accused Obaseki of draining the state’s treasury to procure his party ticket.
Mayaki in a signed statement condemned what he termed as “the Governor’s short-sighted and irresponsible indebting of the state for desperate and personally-beneficial political activities”, and warned financial institutions against granting fraudulent loans to the Edo Government.
He said: “After draining the state treasury with his corrupt 15 billion naira payout to the PDP tax-collectors for the party’s ticket, it has come to our notice that Governor Obaseki is now scurrying around to embark on another borrowing spree with a planned 20 billion naira bond loan from some financial institutions.
“We find it shocking that after the many tribulations Obaseki’s directionless and incompetent administration has caused in Edo State, the Governor is hatching fresh plans to mortgage the future of the state and her youths with additional loans to fund his desperate political agenda to foist himself on the people for another four years.
“Obaseki already racked up foreign loans that propelled Edo State to number two on the states with the most indebtedness in the country without any commensurate gain in infrastructure, the economy, and security.
“Efforts to get the Governor to offer accountability on what he did with the loans and the role his private firm, AfrinInvest, played in their acquisition all fell on deaf ears.
“It is therefore heartless, irresponsible, and unconscionable for such a man to even conceive obtaining another loan in the tune of 20 billion naira for his political godfathers in the PDP who are cashing in on his desperation and lack of integrity.
“We want to warn all financial institutions to honor the age-long freeze practice observed during election seasons and possible change of government and not grant any loan to the heartless Godwin Obaseki who appears to now be on a mission to completely sell-out our state and the future of our youths.
“We are also alerting the EFCC, ICPC, CBN, and other financial regulatory bodies to pay close attention to what is going on in Edo State.
“It is a known fact that Obaseki has never maintained any close tie with Edo State. He is a Lagos businessman who for long held his own people and state in contempt.
“Perhaps now that it is obvious that he will be sacked from office in September, his plan is to smash and grab before disappearing back to where he came from.
“For those of us who have no other place to call home apart from Edo State, these criminal plans and heist against the people will be fiercely resisted as we will not fold our hands and let a desperate stranger destroy our state.”
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Ex-lawmaker emerges Ondo PDP chairman
Mr Fatai Adams, a former member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, has been elected the new Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Adams was elected at a state congress held at Solton Hotel in Akure on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the party’s congress produced the newly elected state excutives.
Adams, the immediate past Deputy Chairman of the party in the state, polled 1,343 votes to beat his lone challenger and former Ose Local Government Chairman, Dennis Alonge, who got 369 votes.
Speaking after the election, Adams pledged that he would promote inclusiveness during his tenure.
He also said that efforts would be made to ensure that the party produced the next governor of the state in the Oct. 10 election.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Opposition lawmakers leading anti-corruption investigations says Elumelu
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) says opposition lawmakers in the house have been at the center of unearthing and exposing acts of corruption in the country.
Elumelu made this known in a statement by his Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Mr Oyomira Idahosa, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Elumelu was reacting to a statement credited to the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timi Frank, accusing the opposition of being indifferent and silent over the ongoing anti-corruption investigations in the house.
“Such accusation is unfortunate, misleading, undeserving and uncharitable to the minority caucus in our manifest forceful efforts in exposing corruption and holding this administration accountable.
“Opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly have never and will never compromise or shy away from its legislative duties at any time, even at the risk of their lives.
“While we appreciate his concerns, the accusation by Comrade Timi Frank against opposition lawmakers is incorrect and misleading miscomprehension of our processes in the uncompromising efforts in exposing corruption.
“The accusation is apparently borne out inadvertent misunderstanding of the processes and procedures of the legislature, including those related to listing and presentation of motions, bills and other activities at plenary and committee levels in the National Assembly,” he said.
Elumelu said that the minority caucus in the house Minority had not dropped any motion for corruption investigation on any individual as wrongly alleged by Mr Timi Frank.
According to him, it is also misinforming to allege that a motion was officially slated to be read before the Eid-el-Kabir festivities and that no action was taken.
The rep described the alleged inaction as another mis-comprehension of the procedures, processes and scheduling of legislative activities.
“Our efforts contributed to various corruption investigations both within and outside the National Assembly, and we will never relent in this onerous task.
“The minority caucus has been extensively vocal on the floor in the fight against corruption as well as in holding government accountable in all sectors of our national life.
“The roles of opposition members in the National Assembly in unearthing corruption as well as investigating of indicted persons are in the public domain.
“However, it is imperative to state that in this task, guiding legislative procedures and processes, which reinforce the achieving of expected results, are followed.
“The opposition lawmakers are indeed aware of the confidence reposed on it by Nigerians at this critical time in our national history and we will never relent in holding government accountable in the interest of Nigerians,” he added.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Edo 2020: Nothing unusual about lawmakers backing candidates of their choice – Edo speaker
The Speaker of Edo House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, on Tuesday said there was nothing unusual about the lawmakers backing the candidates of their choice for the Sept. 19 governorship poll in the state.
Okiye was reacting to the Monday endorsement of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Osgie Ize-Iyamu, by the Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, and two other members of the house.
The speaker in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Benin said: “It is imperative to state the actual position of things in Edo House of Assembly right now.
“It is not unusual for legislators and indeed politicians to engage in political re-alignments in this part of democracy like in Nigeria.
“That the Deputy Speaker and 2 other lawmakers chose to support the APC governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is within their constitutional right,” he said.
Okiye stated that the three lawmakers still remained members and part of the 10 lawmakers in the Edo house of assembly.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the house had declared vacant, the seats of the 14 members of the house who were not sworn in, following the crisis that had bedeviled the house for years.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)
30 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon rescued, among 150 awaiting evacuation – NIDCOM
Thirty Nigerians, who were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon have been rescued, and are among a total of 150 victims awaiting evacuation to Nigeria.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) made this known in a statement by Gabriel Odu of its Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit on
The commission said the rescue came after a video footage of the stranded Nigerians making an appeal to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid viral on the Internet.
According to it, the appeal for help by the stranded Nigerians led to their rescue by officials of the country’s mission in Lebanon.
The stranded Nigerians have already been relocated to a more conducive apartment.
“They will be part of 150 others to be evacuated to Nigeria after they were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of NIDCOM, led by the Secretary, Dr Sule Bassi, visited that country’s mission in Abuja,” Odu said in the statement.
He quoted Diab as saying that the 150 girls would be returned home in batches with the first group of 110 people leaving Beirut for Lagos on Aug. 12.
The second batch sws expected to arrive Abuja on Aug. 16.
“The diplomat commended efforts of the Lebanese Community and the Oyo State Government who is sponsoring the return of 55 of the girls,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Secretary of the commission, who acknowledged the excellent ties between Nigeria and Lebanon, urged both countries to sustain the cordial relationship.
Bassi also lauded the Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon, Amb. Goni Madu Zanna Bura for his dedication and commitment.
He also commended the staff of the Nigerian mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Oyo and Ogun state governments and other strategic partners for their efforts.
“As part of the Nigerian Embassy’s Consular responsibility, the ladies in the said video that went viral and many other distressed Nigerian domestic workers were located and relocated to a safer place.
“Suffice it to say that 150 of these stranded victims are expected to be evacuated next week and handed over to NAPTIP, the agency responsible for (dealing with human) trafficking.
“A break down of the evacuees shows that Oyo State had 41, Ogun 21, Lagos 12, Ondo 18, Osun 26, and Imo 3.
Others are Kwara– 9, Enugu — 1, Ekiti — 6, Kogi — 1, Edo — 1, Delta — 3, Ebonyi — 1, Benue — 1, Abia — 1, Akwa Ibom — 1, and Anambra — 1,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)