Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has foreclosed defecting to another party to pursue his second term ambition, notwithstanding the groundswell of opposition to his re-election bid by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, and other chieftains from the state.
Obaseki said yesterday in Abuja that no matter the challenges, he would contest the forthcoming governorship election on the platform of APC.
The governor added that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” explaining that “the war has become very tough,” but “men would be separated from the boys.”
The Oshiomhole camp in the state chapter of the party has propped up a former Secretary to the State Government, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who recently defected from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to struggle with Obaseki for the party’s governorship ticket.
However, some APC governors have launched a troubleshooting process to rally support for their Edo State colleague.
Towards this end, a delegation of APC governors met on Sunday in Lagos with the party’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, and Oshiomhole on Monday to resolve the differences between the two factions of the party in the state amicably.
However, receiving members of the Obaseki Mandate Group, who visited him at Edo Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, Obaseki said someone with no track record of success in anything should not be given a chance to rule the state.
He said: “I have chosen the party that brought me in the first place, the APC. No matter the challenges, I will run on the platform of my party. And I’m sure by the grace of God, I will overcome.
“I’m not saying I won’t have contestants – of course, democracy is about contestations.
“Tell me what you want to do for the people, and I will tell you what I can do. Tell me what you have done for the people and I will also tell the people what I have done for them, and the people will make a choice, that is what democracy is about; that is what our democracy should be.”
The governor said while the challenges ahead were enormous, the men would be separated from the boys.
Obaseki said: “I want to assure you that the last three-and-a-half years have been like a university for us; we have been learning.
“This election will now make us graduates. If you think we have achieved anything in the last three years, by the grace of God, just watch out for the next four years.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The war has become very tough, with COVID-19, the challenges ahead of us are enormous and that is when you are going to separate the men from the boys.
“If you do not have courage, if you do not have energy, particularly intellectual courage and capacity, you may not be able to cope; that is what we are bringing to the table in this election and in the next government.”
The governor noted that with COVID-19, lives would never be the same again and that the pandemic had pressed a reset button on the world, particularly Nigeria.
He said: “That is why anybody who is seeking public office today that has no track record of how he served the public good, or has no track record of success in anything else, that has no track record of having managed not even a kiosk successfully, cannot and should not be given an opportunity to serve.”
According to him, his group has been striving to remove the bad men from politics because politics has been associated with all sorts of unpleasant things that people who have so much to offer are scared to offer their services.
Obaseki noted that he was proud of what he had done with basic and technical education in the state.
“Yes, we have not made as much noise because we have been working, we don’t have time. Those who are making noise and striving and telling lies have all the time to do so because they don’t have jobs. Most of them haven’t done anything in a long while. Most of them don’t have skills or capacity. Their skills are just to steal public funds and to lie. Today, we have almost 300,000 children in Edo State in our public school system, who are now learning,” he said.