Obaseki: Political Thugs Have Formed Alternative Govt in Edo

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Godwin Obaseki

Denies any disagreement with Oshiomhole

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki yesterday disclosed that his administration had been under attacks because he stopped thugs empowered by political class from collecting revenue and intimidating private businesses in the state.

Obaseki, however, denied that there was any form of conflict or disagreement between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole and him.

He made the disclosure at the Annual Convention of Usagbe Club of Nigeria, lamenting that political thugs, who masqueraded as role models, took over power and formed an alternative government in the state.

Speaking with journalists after the convention, the embattled governor said there was no a feud between and his godfather, acknowledged that there were political issues in Edo State, which according to him, had been resolved.

He said, “As far as I am concerned they are not major issues. They have a House of Assembly that has been inaugurated. A few members, who were not accepted, have been inaugurated. So, when people get inaugurated the issues there will be settled. What is happening in Edo is not unusual.”

Obaseki, however, lamented that his government met thugs who masqueraded as role models and took over power while forming an alternative government.

He said, “If you understand what happened in Edo up to 2006, the non-state actors had become empowered by political class. They were collecting revenues…

“They were an alternative government in the state. They constituted themselves into an army that was used for political activities,” the governor said.

As an administration interested in extracting investment, Obaseki noted that the state government had “to ensure that it focused on law and order, while also strengthening the state and the state system.

“It is a kind of a crisis we had to deal with because we had to remove these thugs from the streets, collecting revenue, intimidating private businesses and which we have done successfully.

“Part of the issue you see in Edo today is a fight back by such class of people. But we were very encouraged by the reactions of the citizens. We do not want thugs on our streets in whatever guise, with whatever cover,” he added.

He said the recent changes he made in his cabinet was not unusual, noting that it was due to the need to review how his government had operated in the last two or three years.

Also at the convention, the President of the club, Mr. Tony Akiotu said the role of the youth in the society could not be overemphasised, saying Obaseki’s dealing with youths’ recalcitrance in Edo state was a case study to other states.

He reminded Obaseki that the School of Aqua Culture and Marine Technology he promised to establish in Agenebode was yet to take off, thereby pleading him “to make the school operational. It will become one of the vocal points in empowering the youths for positive impact.”

Akiotu lamented the state of insecurity the road linking Auchi to Agenebode, noting that it had become a source of worry to the club. He added that the spate of kidnapping and armed robbery on the road was becoming worrisome.

He said the club objected to the recent idea of Ruga settlements, which the federal government had just been suspended. He, however, revealed that it has spent over N50 million on scholarships for different age grades over the years.