â€¢ Opposition party urges Obaseki to halt repayment of over N100bn debt
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Less than 24 hours after the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Uche Secondus, apologised to Nigerians for what he described as â€œthe past mistakes of the PDP,â€ the Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Anselm Ojezua, has called on the Edo State PDP members to emulate their national chairmanÂ and apologise toÂ Edo people.
The advice came just as the Edo PDP urged Governor Godwin Obaseki to halt the repaymentÂ of over over N100billion debt his party (APC) incurred within 10 years of rule.
According to PDP Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, the APC inherited N4billion debt from the PDP in 2008 but today, Edo State is the third most indebted state in Nigeria.
According to him, â€œAPC has borrowed over N100 billion in 10 years (2008-2018). Chief Odigie-Oyegun, APC National Chairman as governor took the ADB loan for the Ikpoba River Dam water project. The PDP government preserved the materials that were purchased by that government. The materials were sold by Governor Oshiomhole through the office of the SSG and supervised by Governor Obaseki as chairman of Oshiomholeâ€™s Economic Team.
â€œThe PDP built two housing estates from the N2 billion collected from the capital market from issuance of bonds- Iyekogba and Iguosa. Whereas Oshiomholeâ€™s N30 billion bond for Storm Water Project was unaccounted for while Evbotubu residents are exposed to the dangers of the abandoned project.Â Edo APC government received N30 billion refund for PDP excess debt repayments yet no visible development.â€
But the APC Chairman in Edo, Mr. Anselm Ojezua, said: â€œPeople of the state deserve an unreserved apology from Orbih as well as other leaders of the party in the state for their years of misrule. We need not debate the sins of the PDP over and again, now that the national chairman of the opposition party has courageously admitted to impunity and misrule.â€
He explained that the â€œEdo APC has in the past, urged the Edo PDP to apologiseÂ for their sins which are still visible in all parts of the state several years after they were voted out of office.â€
Ojezua maintained that â€œit is foolhardy and imprudent to continue to grandstand when your sins stare at you daily from the failed dredging of Ikpoba River, the failed Edo Water Board resuscitation project, failed Cassavita Factory, failed Fruit Juice processing factory in Ehor, failed Bendel Breweries and Edo Line, for which billions of naira were either borrowed or allegedly spent, yet Edo people never had the benefit of seeing their actualisation, and enjoying the outcomes.â€
He argued that â€œif the Edo PDP government meant well for the people and completed these projects, the socio-economic profile of the state would have appreciated a great deal. Oshiomhole picked up a completely broken down state and rescued it from total collapse by aggressively fixing the huge infrastructural deficit he inherited, constructing schools, roads, hospitalsÂ Â andÂ enthroning purposeful leadership.
â€œToday, Governor Obaseki is paying the desired attention to industrialisation, infrastructure, law and order and job creation, among other sectors. This is how to govern. Leaders must continue to raise the bar of service delivery and add value to our lives and not engage in looting spree, sponsoring lavish birthday parties with state funds.â€
Secondus said at a well attendedÂ public discourse on contemporary politics and governance in Nigeria on Monday in Abuja:Â â€œWe are sorry, we have made several mistakes which will not happen again.
â€œIn theÂ pastÂ there were impunity and imposition, we are notÂ spirit, we have to be humble toÂ apologiseÂ for imposition, impunityÂ andÂ other wrongdoings, while in government.
â€œSince it is said that charity begins at home, I am the very first to admit that our party, the PDP, made many mistakes. Consequently, we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians, occasioning our loss at the polls in 2015.
â€œLet me seize this opportunity to apologiseÂ to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all parts of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity.â€
Ojezua stressed that â€œthe evolution process of the PDP is far from completeâ€ and advised them to â€œforego governance for the now and take out some years to mature, which requires several years, before making a re-launch.â€