BY John Alechenu
No fewer than 11 governors under the platform of the All Progressives Congress stormed Benin, the Edo State capital, on Saturday for the flag-off of the party’s campaign ahead of the September 19 governorship election in the state.
This was as the Peoples Democratic Party has taken a swipe at the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over his statement on Friday that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was the brains behind the crisis at the state House of Assembly.
At the ceremony, held at the University of Benin Sports Complex, the Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee of the party, Mai Mala Buni, led 10 governors and one deputy to the event, attended by many party supporters.
Also present were the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State; Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Muhammad Abubakar (Jigawa); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); Hope Uzodinma (Imo); Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Abubakar Bello (Niger); were present.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, was represented by his deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, while the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi was also present.
Presenting the party’s candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to the supporters, Buni, who is also the governor of Yobe State, said the party would reclaim the state.
He said, “We are in Edo State to take back our state. Four years ago, we were here and you voted for the APC and we know that you will do it again. We urge you not to be violent because victory is ours and we are here to win.”
Ganduje, who corroborated Buni’s position, said the party would win by a large margin across the state. “With this crowd, we are confident that victory is ours. We will reclaim Edo State,” he added
Ize-Iyamu said going by the massive turnout of supporters, it was obvious that the APC was not an opposition party in the state.
He added, “With the people we are seeing today, will anybody say we are in the opposition? Can anybody say we will be intimidated? I want to assure them that in this election, we will not only win; we will win the 18 local governments.
“Let me assure you that never again will we have a governor that is ungrateful. We will have a governor that will respect Edo people, a governor that you can access, a governor that can empower our people and by the grace of God I will do it.”
Also speaking, Oshiomhole, who expressed confidence that Ize-Iyamu would win the election, stated that the governor had failed to fulfil his promises to Edo people.
He added, “Never again should we have a governor who will describe Edo youths as miscreants. Do we have miscreants in this Edo State? No! The government has to impact on the poor and uplift them to a level of dignity.
“Never again should we have a governor who will invite the President to come and do commissioning of a forest that he is going to have an industrial park and today the bush is there. Do you want a governor that will sign an MoU? No.”