•PDP not our problem but others, says Oshiomhole
By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City with agency report
The winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary in Edo State held at the weekend,
Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his victory was a collective one for him, his co-contestants and the delegates.
In the result of the primaries announced in the early hours of yesterday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, venue of the exercise, Obaseki scored 1,618 votes to clinch victory.
He defeated 11 contestants, including his closest rival, Dr Pius Odubu, the Deputy Governor of the state, who polled 471 votes.
The result was announced by Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State who was the Chairman of the committee charged with the conduct of the election.
In his acceptance speech after the announcement, Obaseki urged his co-contestants to work with him to achieve victory for APC in the September 10 governorship election in the state.
According to him, the primary election was only the first leg of other challenges ahead.
“The delegates were true heroes of democracy. They have shown that indeed, democracy has evolved and far more sophisticated than it has been given credit for.
“We have collectively decided who will fly the flag of our great party in the state. My greatest encouragement in this race was my co-contestants, this array of accomplished individuals, including the Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu.
“I am indeed humbled by my nomination, but I will like to state that this is our collective victory.
“As a party, we must continue to work as a team to deliver victory at the September 10 governorship election. But, let me assure you that we will win,” he said.
The party’s nominee said the state had commenced another journey into a brighter future, “a future which will define the state as a modern and progressive state where every citizen is provided with opportunity to live life to its fullness.”
He promised to build on the successes of the state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
In his remarks, Masari, who presented the Certificate of Return to Obaseki, urged those who participated in the primaries to regard themselves as winners and not losers.
He said together, the aspirants could and would make the state and Nigeria better.
“For those who are not lucky to be the flag bearer this time around, they should get ready; four years in the life of a nation is so small, even in the life of an individual.
“In politics, we have to learn to accept defeat and prepare for the next election.
“May I appeal to the winner also to be magnanimous in victory because this is the first leg.
“The second and most important is the general election, where you need the support of not only the members of APC, but also other people of Edo State.
“For this reason, I call on you to extend the hands of fellowship to your fellow contestants.
“And, for the contestants, take solace that it is only God who decides and chooses who to lead in a particular time,” Masari said.
He said the committee adhered strictly to the rules and guideline provided by the party in the conduct of the primaries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the APC primaries which started at about 9 a.m. with accreditation at the weekend came to a conclusion at about 4:30a.m. yesterday.
Meanwhile, following Obaseki’s victory in the primary election, Oshiomhole has said the party would focus on how to battle other political parties in the state and not the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he said is factionalised.
Oshiomhole, who asserted that the party would commence campaigns for the governorship election in earnest now that the party’s standard bearer has emerged, said he would not lose sleep over PDP boast of winning the state election.
According to the governor, “Our delegates have spoken. Now, the party will hit the ground running. There is no PDP in the state. Which of the factions? We have one body with several heads, even when they were in the federal, we defeated them with all their federal might. So there is no PDP as long as I am concerned.
“For me, they are lighter than a loaf of bread. But we will go to the election with the hope that there are other parties in the state. PDP is not an issue, I don’t think Edo people will forget PDP crime in a hurry. Not for the next 20 years in this state. Even when you ask young boys and girls in the state, who is responsible for this bad school, they would say it is PDP.
“Who is responsible for this bad hospital, they say it is PDP. Who is responsible for this bad road, it is PDP, who is responsible for this good road, it is APC. Even children know that; by the time they become 18, they will continue to vote APC and vote against PDP. We have no fear at all, in fact we will do better in the next election and kick them out of existence.”
Meanwhile, the state APC, in a thank you message to people of the state for their prayers, goodwill and advice, said these led to the success of the primary election from which Dr. Godwin Obaseki emerged as the party governorship candidate.
In the message titled: ‘let us unite for the September 10 election in the state’ which was signed by Godwin Irhabor, the state Publicity Secretary of APC, he assured the people that as a progressive party, APC would re-unite all rival groups that went into the primaries with different hopes and aspirations to team up together to ensure victory in the governorship election.