Governor, Adams Oshiomhole
Opposition parties caution against deployment of troops Edo’ll be test case for 2015, Says CPC
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The fact that the Presidency sees the 2011 presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, as part of a destabilisation plot against President Goodluck Jonathan, may have informed why Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, opposed Buhari’s coming alongside other ACN leaders to Benin City, to campaign for him.
The disclosure by Oshiomhole also came on a day the National Vice-Chairman (South-west) of the CPC, Hon. Rasaq Muse, urged the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against any move to rig the governorship election in Edo State, nothing that attempts to manipulate results of the election would amount to disaster.
While opposition political parties under the aegis of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has cautioned against deployment of soldiers to maintain peace in the state during the election, a former ACN chieftain in Edo State, Captain Hosa Okunbor, on his part said the need to protect his peoples interest among other reasons informed why he dumped ACN for the PDP.
THISDAY gathered from top sources in the presidency, that President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly had some soft spot for Oshiomhole, despite being a member of the ACN.
According to the source, “The Comrade Governor worked for the presidential success of President Jonathan by ensuring that he won Edo state during the last presidential elections. Didn’t you notice that even when the President went to campaign for the PDP on June 30 in Benin, he was not hard on the ACN and the comrade governor.
“So for Buhari and the CPC members to join his campaign train is to hurt the President as the Presidency sees everything about Buhari and CPC as part of a destabilisation act. Was it not surprising that the governor immediately denounced the report of Buhari coming to Benin to campaign for him?
“He did not castigate the governor, he merely thanked the Edo people for voting him and promised to keep to his campaign promises. He did not appeal to the Edo people to vote PDP to join his transformation network. We in the PDP is worried about this. The President only promised to provide adequate security in the Saturday election.”
Already, the Police said it was deploying about 3,500 Policemen and women to maintain peace in the state during the election.
Similarly, the CNPP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, said: “We are bound to witness the paradox of too much deployment of troops, made up of soldiers, police, civil defence and other paramilitary organisations. The paradox stems from the fact that too much troops, especially soldiers variant, may engender fear among the electorate and unfortunately lead to low turnout of voters. This sordid experience becomes most likely as politically motivated killings had trailed the election; among those killed was the principal secretary of the governor, Comrade Olaitan Oleyde.”
In a related development, Muse, who spoke with journalists in Osogbo, after a zonal meeting of the party which comprised party chairmen and other stakeholders in the zone, urged the former chairman of the Board of Trustee (BoT) of the party, Chief Tony Aninnih, to shun any attempt targeted at manipulating the results of the governorship election in the state.
He added that: “Edo State would be used as test case to expose the evil of the PDP and it would be a pointer to what General Muhammadu Buhari, said if they can try it again in Edo State, they would want to try it in 2015.”
According to him, “Professor Atahiru Jega should displaced sincerity of purpose to ensure that there is no manipulation during and after the exercise, but he is an individual and branch of a tree that is deep rooted in corruption (INEC). You cannot isolate INEC from the corruption in the society. Jega can only do his own bit and that is why I pray that Chief Aninih, the “Mr. Fix It” will not attempt to manipulate election results in Edo state because the Edo State will be a test case to expose evil the PDP.” He said: “I want to reiterate that anybody that attempt to rig election in Edo State would have himself or herself to blame and with the level of corruption discovered in the House of Representatives, the PDP has shot itself on the leg because the people accused of stealing public funds are PDP and people who are accusing the stealing were the PDP and we are now going to see after of non performing of 16 to 17 years of PDP, how people would still continue to vote for them.”
Meanwhile, Okunbor who addressed journalists in Benin City, said a very good politician should be able to take into account the interest of his people at the ward, local, state and national level, stressing that it should be in the people’s interest. According to him, “I remove my support from the ACN to the PDP because of some interests. I believe every politics is local, you have to belong to a Ward, local government, State or National and if you are good politician, you must take into account the interest of your people at the Ward, local government, state and national.”
He said: “When people talk of ethnicity, I don’t believe that there is anything like ethnic politics. I believe it is talking about the interest of your people. Why I am saying this; today as we speak, I have experienced this over the past four years. Edo State has three Senatorial districts, that is, Edo South, Edo North and Edo Central.