The PDP candidate also invited the people of the state to attend the flag-off of the campaign at Baptist Convention Ground along TV Road, near Oliha Market, in Benin City.
Explaining why the PDP decided to use the Baptist Convention Ground and not the Ogbemudia Stadium —- as earlier announced, Pastor Ize-Iyamu stated that the party was denied the venue by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State —- directing the management of the Ogbemudia stadium to decline its request to use the stadium.
However, the PDP candidate noted that Oshiomhole’s opposition to the party’s use of the stadium became a blessing in disguise as the governor inadvertently pushed them to start the campaign in the “House of God”.
He stated this during an interactive session with journalists at the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Benin-City during the weekend.
‘’The leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the state government have been boasting that because they control all the security agencies in the federation, they will ring the election by all means’’, he stated.
‘’But, I want to use this opportunity to put them on notice that the votes of the people of Edo State will surely count. Some of us are veterans in this game. We know their intrigues, tactics and their plan will not work. We will not be violent, even though we are not weak, but we will do everything to make sure our votes count.’’
The governorship candidate accused the APC-led government of crippling the economic, educational and social activities in the state in the last seven and a half years, assuring that he had a blueprint to turn around the collapsed institutions.
He added, “When we were in government, Bendel Brewery Limited was working and contributing to the internal Generated Revenue (IGR); Edo State Courier was working and contributing to IGR, and several other companies. What has happened to all those companies? They have been crippled by the APC-led government.
‘’And somebody who said he was the Head of Economic Team, now wants to be governor. We should ask him how he destroyed our industries in the state.’’
The former Secretary to the Edo State Government added that Edo State civil service had never had it so bad, since the state was created, saying the service is totally depleted and is in dire need of new hands.
“It is very difficult to find anyone who has been recruited in the past eight years. That means that everybody in the civil service came in long before now. Many people have died and many have retired, while punitive dismissals have been carried out without regards to extant rules’’, he added.
‘’In many place, many of the directors have been summarily dismissed without even taking their cases to the Civil Service Commission. I know that before we left, we injected fresh blood into the system. Young professionals such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers and town planners were employed.
‘’Today, how many physics or other science teachers do we have in the public schools? They are less than 20. How many general surgeons? Two. How many dermatologists? There one on contract employment. When you look at the statistics, it is shocking. It is only one quantity surveyor, who is an external person that does all the bills of quantity in this state. The same man will quantify, supervise and okay payment.’’
Ize-Iyamu further stated that he is coming to government with a clear-cut agenda, adding he had a clear idea of how the PDP-led new government would start and where it is going, if elected in the coming election.
‘’We are not coming to government by trying to determine our destination. We have spelt out our ideas in a very simple manner. The economy of the state will be revitalised in such a way that we will not rely solely on what comes from Abuja’’, he said.
‘’We intend to reinvent our public service because it has been destroyed in the past seven to eight years. The morale is currently at the lowest ebb, and many core departments don’t even have the personnel. A lot of things are being given to external consultants.’’