• Party says governor feeling nervous •Guber election is battle between light and darkness, says governor
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as absurd, the recent threat by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to arrest the PDP’s candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, before the September 10, gubernatorial election.
The party said the governor is only being nervous and unsettled that the PDP’s moving train will uproot the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the state.
In a statement issued yesterday by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, PDP asked when it became the duty of Oshiomhole to dictate to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), wondering “if the ‘go and die’ governor has become an operative of the anti-corruption agency.
“We have observed in recent times the utterances of the governor during the APC’s gubernatorial campaigns ahead of the September 10, 2016 election in the state and we wish to remind him that he should maintain the sanctity of his office as a governor of the state instead of directing the EFCC on whom to arrest or prosecute.”
The PDP further stressed that Oshiomhole’s statement confirmed the belief and opinion of perceptible Nigerians that the anti-corruption war of the present administration is nothing but a partisan political agenda to intimidate, suppress and silence the PDP.
The party condemned what it described as despicable and uncouth language used by the ‘go and die’ governor against the person of Ize-Iyamu which is clearly unbecoming of the holder of the high office of a governor of a state.
“Oshiomhole is desperate to hang on to power through his imposed stooge, despite the fact that he has lost the trust and confidence of the Edo people.
“When a governor speaks like a motor park boy, he is inviting the public to treat him as one. We call on the EFCC to demonstrate that they are not a lap dog of the APC and its leaders by distancing itself from the unguided utterances of Oshiomhole. They must show clearly that they do not take instructions from the powers that be, otherwise, the entire anti-corruption war will lose all credibility,” PDP said.
Finally, the party has asked the APC-led government at both state and federal levels to at least for once, play by the rules, saying: “All the great works done by the PDP’s administrations to ensure the sanctity of the ballot box has been virtually destroyed by the APC administration.
“We are now in the era of inconclusive elections. We will not tolerate any harassment, intimidation, and oppression of our candidate in the state governorship election. We will also not allow the APC to destroy this democracy which we have laboured to build for 16 good years to build and sustained.”
However, Oshiomhole has said the September 10, 2016, governorship election in the state is a battle between light and darkness, noting that the seven and half years of APC represents light, while the more than 10 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is equal to darkness.
Oshiomhole who stated this yesterday when the campaign train of APC arrived at Egor, Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Areas of the state, told the crowd of supporters that while the PDP in their years of reign was anti-worker party which purged the public service of over 7,000 workers in one fell swoop, without paying their pensions and gratuities, his government has not only created employment opportunities, but have also had the record of paying workers and pensioners as and when due.
The governor who used the opportunity to tell party supporters to be steadfast, disclosed that the recent protest by pensioners was caused by the PDP government which in a bid to cut cost to service their appetite, decided to compulsorily retire a generation of civil service, adding that his administration had been able to clear all pension arrears up to 2016, and appealed to those not captured to be patient as they would be captured subsequently.
At Egor, the governor assured the workers which were omitted from the recent bailout for other local government areas in the state that their arrears would be paid this week.
According to him, “The PDP has a deep-rooted hatred for workers and teachers as they were shabbily treated in the 10 years they were in the saddle.
“The choice is between two political parties, one which in seven and half years and has redefined governance and another which in 10 years but treated workers shabbily.
“When Nigeria was doing well and PDP was in government in Edo State, don’t forget, the first thing PDP did with Ize-Iyamu as Secretary to State Government (SSG) was to dismiss about 7,000 civil servants. They sacked them, because according to them, they wanted to reduce labour cost, when actually they wanted to take the money and privatise it.
“That is not all they did; when they dismissed the workers, they didn’t pay them their pension, they did not pay them their gratuity. So I need our pensioners to remember that the PDP carried out retrenchments, but we never carried out retrenchments, I never carried out mass dismissals in our public service.”
According to the governor, “When the PDP were here, they issued a circular to the Head of Service, banning employment into the public service, they stopped employment into the state Health Management Board. When I came in, I lifted the ban, recruited civil servants and employed over 1,000 teachers.
“When the PDP were here, in four months, five months, six months, Nigerian Union of Teachers will remember, with Ize-Iyamu as SSG, they were not paying salaries and the teachers had to alternate on which days to attend classes to make ends meet, the classrooms were leaking with potholes inside the classrooms. So many male teachers left, leaving only the women who were hoping that one day God will intervene and God intervened and APC came
“Today, I am proud to say of the 36 states in the federation, the Edo teachers are the first to be paid and we are up to date in the payment of teachers’ salaries.”
The governor said the state government has also paid about N26 billion of bond taken for water storm master plan project, adding that the first phase of the project will be complete by December.
He also added that to achieve this, industrialisation, technology and large-scale farms will be established to provide jobs for the youth, adding that state will plug into the federal government scheme where the poorest in the society will get a N5,000 succour monthly.
He assured the women that they would get soft loans to empower them and grow the economy.