* PDP alleges mass defection from APC
Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
The Edo State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, yesterday launched his six-point programmes of action for the state, saying the four cardinal programmes of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) of the Second Republic reshaped his interest in politics as well as the importance of manifesto for a political party and politicians.
This is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the mass defection from the APC to the PDP ahead of the state governorship election as an end-of-the-road signpost for the APC and its candidate, Ize-Iyamu.
Speaking yesterday when he unveiled his agenda for the state tagged: ‘SIMPLE agenda’, Ize-Iyamu said every component of manifesto creates room for employment generation, just as he promised to continue with the programme he would inherit from the current administration if he wins the election, particularly the Benin Water Storm project, designed to check flooding in the state.
He said: “When Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1978 formed the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), even though I was quite young, I was fascinated by the manifesto of his party. The four cardinal programmes of the UPN namely: free education, free health services, integrated rural development and employment for all. It was very easy to understand as it was all encompassing, and the manifesto alone made me to pick an interest in the party-I became a member of the youth wing. From an early age, I appreciate the role of manifestoes in party formation and it was key in the choice of the party to belong.”
On projects, Ize-Iyamu said: “The water storm project cannot be abandoned. We must commend those who planned it, even when four years ago I was contesting for office, I commended the foresight because I realised that flooding was becoming a major problem in our state and especially in Benin-city. There are many areas where when it rains, not only are the roads impassable but the houses there are in serious danger. So when the storm water was conceived and execution started, it offered a lot of hope.”
Speaking further, he noted that even though it is difficult to see, if there are projects that Obaseki has started, they would all be completed.
Meanwhile, the PDP has described the mass defection from the APC to the PDP ahead of the governorship election as the sign of an end for the APC and its candidate, Ize-Iyamu.
The PDP also said it acknowledged the solidarity of thousands of members of other political parties, who have also adopted and expressed support for its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, as their preferred choice for the election.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, “Our party has been receiving daily reports of massive surge for PDP membership cards in our state, local government and ward offices, following the soaring popularity of Obaseki and the PDP across the state.
“This is in addition to the expressed support of various volunteer groups, as well as professional bodies, community associations, trade unions, youth groups and other critical players across the voting population of the state.”
The PDP noted that with the gale of defection and mass flow of support from the people of Edo State, the APC candidate would soon look back and find himself standing alone.
Following the surge, the PDP spokesperson said that the party “has directed all our ward offices across the state to expand their registration capacity to ensure adequate accommodation for all the Edo people in their irrevocable quest to realise their aspiration on the platform of the PDP.
“Our party notes that the Edo people are already aware that unlike the suppressive and corrupt APC, the PDP is the only true platform where their voices, wishes and aspirations as individuals and as a people are completely guaranteed at all levels and all without the oppressive control of corrupt godfathers,” he stated.