- Opposition jittery of imminent defeat, says gov’s aide
- 17 lawmakers warn banks against N1.5bn loan approved by Assembly
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Governor Godwin Obaseki, yesterday traded words over an allegation by the main opposition party that it sighted suspected thugs allegedly imported from PDP states at the Government House in Benin.
Also, 17 factional lawmakers of the state House of Assembly, yesterday warned banks against granting the state government N1.5 billion loan earlier approved for Obaseki by the other faction of the state legislature led by Hon. Frank Okiye.
A statement by the Chairman of the Media Campaign Council of APC, Mr. John Mayaki, said: “Buses loaded with strange faces have been spotted entering Benin City, capital of Edo State. The buses with unidentifiable registration numbers have been increasingly sighted around Ring Road, making their way to the Government House, Benin as well as other major cities in the three senatorial districts of the state.
“We have it on good authority that within the space of two weeks, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have ferried into the state busloads of thugs from neighbouring PDP states.”
But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, dismissed the APC’s allegation, saying, the main opposition party is jittery having realised that its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is no match for Obaseki.
“So far, according to our findings, nearly a thousand thugs are being housed across sections of Government House in Benin, and at designated hotels across the three senatorial districts of Edo State. The only mission they have is to function as disruptive and destructive elements at polling centres during the election,” Mayaki said.
Responding on behalf of the governor, Osagie faulted the allegation and accused the APC of churning out lies and propaganda in its bid to get the September 19 poll cancelled or postponed.
He said: “Recall that we raised the alarm earlier that the APC is committed to derailing the forthcoming election. The party’s tactics include the daily publication of falsehood and fear-mongering by the media handlers of its gubernatorial candidate.
“The party’s ultimate aim is to get the attention of the electoral umpire and security agencies and mislead them into cancelling or postponing the Edo gubernatorial poll.
“Another strategy of the APC is to accuse the PDP of the set of desperate and illegal actions that the APC is guilty of in order to divert public attention from its rigging strategies being perfected in some hotels in Kogi, Edo and some South-west states.”
He urged the police and other security agencies as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deliver an election that is devoid of violence and electoral malfeasance.
17 Lawmakers Query N1.5bn Loan Approval
The 17 factional lawmakers loyal to former APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday held a plenary session at a secret location where they warned banks against the N1.5 billion loan approval given to Obaseki by the other faction of the state legislature.
Speaking under matters of urgent public importance, the factional Deputy Speaker Hon. Emmanuel Agbaje, who represents Akoko-Edo II, said the loan was approved “by an illegal gathering of dissident members in the Government House…”
He said the purpose of the loan was to fund the second term bid of the governor and his party, adding that “their election is not an official matter of the state, [and] we as a House cannot afford to sell the future of our children.”
The member representing Oredo West Constituency, Hon. Chris Okaeben, said he and his other colleague from Oredo State Constituency were embarrassed by the action of the governor.
The factional Speaker, Hon. Victor Edoror, asked the legislative clerk to send clean copies of the resolution to Obaseki, Attorney-General of the Federation, the Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO) and all anti-graft agencies.
The 17 lawmakers said they had terminated the appointment of the Clerk of the House, Mr. Yaya Omogbai, who they said had been on suspension and also announced Mr. Samuel Efezokhale as the acting Clerk of the House.
But in his reaction, Okiye said responding to their action is like giving the 17 lawmakers credibility, and described them as impostors that should be investigated by the police.
He said he was expecting the police to investigate them as ordered by the court for treason and felony, as according to him, “what they are doing remains a big joke and of no value before the law.”