Chuks Okocha who monitored the Peoples Democratic Party Governorship Campaign Flag Off in Edo State writes that the presence of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other PDP governors energised the campaign
The flag off of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Edo state gubernatorial campaigns was given an overdose of energy with the presence of the chairman of the PDP National campaign committee, Governor Nyesom Wike and other governors elected on the platform of the party.
Before their arrival, party members and supporters were crestfallen following an attack on them at the gate of the Oba of Benin Palace, when the PDP governors and members of the National leadership went to pay courtesy to the Benin monarch.
Some members were already down cast, but their hopes were raised when the Governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike and the PDP governors stepped into the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, venue of the gubernatorial campaign flag off. It was like the Biblical story of when the ark of convenant of God of the Israelites was brought into the camp in one of their epic battles against the Philistines.
Mounting the soap box amidst thunderous cheers, the Rivers state governor, in an apparent reference to the former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole said that the September 19 governorship election will be the end of godfathers in the state He was immediately given another round of electric charged cheer.
Wike who is the chairman of the National Campaign Council described the state as a PDP state and boasted that no one would stop the victory of the party in the September 19 governorship election
Speaking further, the Rivers state governor said, “PDP is the party that Nigeria believes in. Nobody should be afraid. Nobody can rig this election.
“No one man can decide what happens in Edo state. Today marks the end of godfatherism in Edo state.
“The only thing that gives APC hope is rigging. This time it is not possible. To me APC has no candidate to match Obaseki,” Wike stated. His speech was always greeted with cheers by party supporters.
Wike, described the attack against the PDP members at the Oba’s palace gate as despicable. He also said that the Campaign has commenced investigation into the roles played by certain individuals, including a popular businessman in the desecrating act.
Wike was quoted in a statement by the Secretary of the Publicity Sub- Committee, Kola Ologbondiya saying that it is also looking into the roles played by one Kabaka in the attack against the entourage.
The Rivers state governor said that the candidate of the APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, also needs to understand clearly that there is a limit to intimidation and thuggery, particularly in the September 19 election.
According to the spokesperson of the PDP, who issued the statement on behalf of Wike. “It is highly irresponsible for anybody to attempt to harass, intimidate or cause harm to an assemblage of governors and leaders of the PDP, let alone at the palace of the highly revered Oba of Benin.
“We are already investigating this attempt and if we confirm the involvement of the said businessman, the APC gubernatorial candidate or the said Kabaka, we will not hesitate to take a strong and very decisive action. Enough is Enough!”, the party said.
PDP said that the ancient seat of the Oba of Benin is respected and revered across the globe adding, “As a mark of honour for the Oba of Benin, the governors and leaders of our party considered it imperative to pay a visit and honor the monarch.”
Accordingly, the PDP said that it is therefore reprehensible that any true Bini son or daughter will choose such an occasion like the courtesy visit to the Benin monarch to demean the monarch and his chiefs.
“While we leave this to the decision of the Oba and his council, we want to place on record that no motley group of political vagabonds will be allowed to embarrass us in this campaign.
“We counsel the said businessman, the APC gubernatorial candidate and the said Kabaka to desist from further plans to cause mayhem as those who sow a wind should be ready to reap the whirlwind”, PDP stated. .
Also speaking at the flag off of the governorship campaigns, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum (PDP-GF). Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that he bequeath a legacy of free and fair elections on the country at any time such opportunity arises before he hands over power in 2023.
He advised President Buhari that despite the insecurity challenges his administration faces, he should ensure that free and fair elections are held in the country as he disengages.
He also called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, whose credentials he described as unassailable to take a cue from his predecessor, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
“You shouldn’t allow anybody to use you,” he admonished Prof. Yakubu, stressing that the lessons of Prof. Jega must be upheld and replicated in 2023.
Gov. Tambuwal who indicated that the PDP was in Edo state on a mission of “total and complete liberation of the state from godfatherism, stated that the erstwhile Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole who rode to popularity on the crest of anti-godfatherism now wants to force himself on the people.
“You cannot eat your cake and have it. You have been all over the place condemning godfatherism; and now you want to come to Edo and have it,” the PDP-GF Chairman said.
He called on Gov. Obaseki to continue to be firm in his faith in God. “That was what we did in Sokoto to survive all of the forces from across Nigeria that wanted to oust us,” he recalled with nostalgia.
In his response after he was given the flag of the party to contest for the September 19 governorship election, an elated Obaseki, said that lawlessness on the part of some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) informed their decision to dump the party.
Obaseki and his deputy Philip Shaibu had in June, defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he secured the party’s ticket to pursue his reelection.
The flag-off of the PDP governorship campaign in Edo State was monitored by our correspondent on the African Independent Television (AIT). The Edo State governor promised that he would not return to the lawless ways of the APC, no matter the provocation.
Addressing a crowd of supporters at the campaign venue, the governor said, “We left them because of their lawlessness. We will not, no matter how provoked, resort to the same lawlessness. I want to thank you and assure you that God has given us the victory.”
He said, “ Now that we have been given the official mandate, you will see what we will do. Four years ago, I made a promise to you that we are going to transform Edo state, that Edo is the heartbeat of Nigeria, the transformation of Edo will lead to the transformation of Nigeria and by the grace of God, that is beginning to happen and it must happen in this election.
Obaseki added that, “this mandate that has been given to us is simple, what you are saying as a party is we like what you have done in the last four years, please go back and continue and improve on what you have done.
Governors at the flag off, were Aminu Tambuwal along with his colleagues from Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Oyo, Rivers and the Deputy Governor of Ondo; as well as the entire national leadership of the PDP.