- Don Pedro withdaws from race Ogiemwonyi raises the alarm over buying of votes
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
One of the frontline aspirants in the Edo State governorship election scheduled for September 10 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Godwin Obaseki, monday said his mission is to serve the people diligently and lead them to the Promised Land.
This came as five of the governorship aspirants monday went to the national headquarters of the APC with their supporters to submit their nomination forms.
The aspirants were Obaseki, Chris Ogiemwonyi, Major General Charles Airhiavbere, incumbent Deputy Governor Pius Odubu, and Austin Emuan.
Obaseki who was at the APC national headquarters at about 1p.m. to submit his form, came in company of almost all APC members of the Edo State House of Assembly and the National Assembly from the state.
Addressing journalists shortly after submitting his nomination form to the party officials, Obaseki said he was in the race to lead the people to the promised land.
He said having been an integral part of the outgoing administration of Adams Oshiomhole, he possesses what it takes to ensure the continuity of the on-going transformation of the state.
Obaseki promised to continue with the transformation of the state if elected by ensuring judicious use of the resources of the state.
“I decided to get into the race of the state governorship election because I have been part of the Edo project, an effort focused on reforming the way things were done in the state,” he said.
The frontline state politician said APC government had improved on the infrastructural development of the state and had been consistent in the payment of workers’ salaries.
On whether he would prefer free, fair and credible primaries or consensus primaries, he said the APC had already established culture, saying the party had changed the face of primaries in 2014 when they voted for President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘’That is the tradition, and l am sure that that is what we would do in the state and that is what I subscribed to,’’ denying an allegation of vote buying by an aide to one of the aspirants, Ogiemwonyi.
“I don’t think Ogiemwonyi can say that. He is too responsible to say such thing. I was in Auchi yesterday where Hon. Philip Shuaibu hosted about 400 delegates and we were all seated there and all the delegates have their voter cards.
“So, for someone to make such unguided statement it is rather unfortunate, and this is what we are trying to discourage that people must run a campaign that is clear and truthful,” he added.
Meanwhile, 48 the APC assured the aspirants in Edo State of a level playing field in this month’s governorship primaries, Don Pedro Obaseki, one of the gubernatorial hopefuls yesterday announced his withdrawal from the race and membership of APC.
The university lecturer and film director who said he hoped to contest the election under a new platform which he is yet to disclose, added however that he was still consulting and that in few days time, he would declare his next destination.
Obaseki who is a cousin to the leading aspirant in the race, Godwin Obaseki, told journalists that he had lost faith in the primary process of the APC.
He said it was becoming obvious to him that the outcome of the primaries was already pre-determined to favour a particular aspirant and that the delegates were was just awaiting to rubber stamp the aspirant.
He also said the coming primaries of the APC would be the most expensive in the history of the state as he alleged that the about 3,000 delegates would be bribed with N200,000.
Also, former Minister of State for Works and governorship aspirant in the state, Ogiemwonyi, has accused some members of the National Assembly caucus from the state of buying up the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) from the accredited delegates.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja monday, the former minister, who was represented by his campaign director of planning, strategy and operations, Akemokue Lukman, said: “The issue has to do with the attempt by people who are in high places of governance, who are lawmakers to smuggle in a gubernatorial aspirant under the platform of APC into the candidature of the party through the back door.
He said the intention is to disenfranchise the party members, especially those of them that are statutory delegates scheduled to take part in the primaries.
The aspirant who threatened to name names of the affected lawmakers also added that “the delegates were summoned to his house, where they were lured to submit their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) to him, with an intend to disenfranchise the voters and two, use the PVCs for outward purpose.”