By Adibe Emenyonu
Thirty-five registered, including the recently de-registered political parties in Edo State yesterday collpased their structures together for the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu for another four years.
However, the State Media Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress for the Edo Governorship election has while dismissing the parties that endorsed Obaseki as fringe parties with no electoral value, also accused them of succumbing to gratification for their support.
The state chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who doubles as leader of coalition of Political Parties, (CPP), Hon. Collins Dara Oreruan during a press conference in Benin City, said the coalition was fully on ground, and that the re-election of Obaseki was paramount to them as group.
According to him, “Instead of acting as individual entities, it will be more effective to support the governor as a block with our existing party structure across the state.
“We have advised our individual party governorship candidates to withdraw and join hands with Obaseki to build on the growth and developmental legacies and foundation he has laid in his first tenure.”
He said “CPP shall synergise with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to mobilise the voters at grassroots on the reason why the His Excellency should be returned as governor.”
Oreruan who noted that the CPP grassroots campaign would be issue-based, highlighted the visible projects and programmes of Obaseki administration devoid of lies, false propaganda, insults and character assassination, unfounded and bias political innuendo that breed hatred, malice and violence.
“Our support for Obaseki is total, progressive and focused on a better life for the people of Edo State,” he added.
Earlier, the state Secretary of CPP, Comrade Shadrack Udagbai told journalists that SDP, AAC, DPP, KOWA and 31 others have concluded plans to collapse their structures for Obaseki.
In a statement released yesterday by John Mayaki, the Chairman of the Campaign Council, the APC said the ‘motley of parties’ have sold out their platform and done irrevocable damage to their potential for growth in the state by agreeing to offer their support to Obaseki.
According to Mayaki, “A motley of some fringe political parties gathered at a Motel in Benin City this Friday where they stage a press conference announcing their endorsement of the outgoing Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“These parties, which ordinarily ought to present themselves to the people of Edo State as viable alternatives to build the necessary followership required for future relevance, have decided to instead cash in on the greed of their leaders and offer their platforms in exchange for an initial down payment of N5 million each, and an additional promise of N65 million to support a governor widely rejected in his state for his non-performance.
“With this act of betrayal and greed, it is safe to say that these parties have successfully and irrevocably done damage to their integrity and placed a final barrier to any potential for growth and relevance in Edo State.
“It is shameful, and unfortunate, how these persons negotiate with platforms that should contest with the major parties and force through policy changes if at all they cannot, by themselves, form the government in the interim”
Furthermore, he said: “They make no attempt to increase their followership, present logical ideas to the people, or even make the most basic preparations for elections, whether statewide or grassroots.
Rather, their entire existence is to negotiate and declare support for the highest bidder.
“Luckily for them, they have found a good client in the desperate and rejected Godwin Obaseki. As we have repeatedly said, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not in the business of paying for support. This is why he has focused on selling his manifesto to the people through an issue-based campaign devoid of name-calling and propaganda. The support he enjoys now from the millions of people in the state, advocacy groups, political parties, and the many others that will endorse him in the immediate future is organic and based solely on their conviction.”
“Obaseki can enjoy the few headlines and news mentions that these procured endorsements will fetch him but he must never lose sight of the fact that, in the final analysis, they are irrelevant and incapable of changing the minds of the majority of Edo people who will be voting the All Progressives Congress on the 19th of September.”