Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on the outcome of the September 19 governorship election which was won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki. He also speaks on expectations from the governor in the next four years as well as allegations of arrest and bankruptcy leveled against him by the All Progressives Congress (APC). Excerpts:
Before the Edo election, you boasted that that your principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki has 75 percent approval ratings and that the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu won’t score up to 30 percent votes. With the election over, can you say that you have been vindicated?
I believe that I have been vindicated by the outcome of the election. That was manifested in the massive votes the PDP got in the election. The APC only got few votes in Edo North which makes it appeared as if it was their stronghold but we all know what happened during the election which I don’t want to stress here. There were lots of vote buying and other illegal things. That was why they were able to get the number of votes they got in Edo North. But with the kind of margin we saw in Edo South and Central, it is clear that my prediction about the personality of the governor was spot on. In Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor which are the three largest local governments in Edo state, the governor scored over 70 percent in those three local governments. He scored 70 percent in Oredo; he got 71 percent votes in Ikpoba-Okha and scored 73 percent in Egor local government. He even defeated the APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu in his local government of origin, which is Orhionmwon . So, it is clear that the people of Edo state believe in the governor. They see that he has worked hard for them in the last four years and they gave him another term overwhelmingly. Overall, his victory is a collective one for the PDP and the good people of Edo state and we believe he will justify the fresh mandate given to him with more laudable and people-oriented projects.
There are reports that some aides of the governor, about 42 or so who resigned their appointments and joined the opposition prior to the election are already returning to him, seeking forgiveness. How true is that?
I can only speak to what I have seen. For example, I have seen that those three duly inaugurated House of Assembly members who at the last minute went to join the illegal assembly they were having in Ize-Iyamu’s house, the three of them have come back to join their colleagues in the legitimate House of Assembly. The three of them, Yekini Idiaye, Nosa Okunbo and Emmanuel Agbaje even paid the governor a congratulatory visit yesterday. Based on that, one can rightly say that other things may be happening behind the scene as those who were deceived and left the governor’s camp have now seen the light. But I can’t say what I don’t know. What I have seen and know is that three of the House of Assembly members who initially pitched their tents with the opposition have come back. I believe that as we get along, many more people will see the futility of working against Obaseki because he is the person God and the people have chosen at this time to lead the good people of Edo state. He is also the most popular and qualified person to play that leadership role as at today.
The APC has raised alarm that the governor has ordered the arrest of members of the party after his victory in the election. How will you respond to that?
That is absolutely false. Since his victory, the governor has been waving the olive branch and white flag to the extent of even calling on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that the fight is over and they should join hands together in building the state. That alarm that he has ordered the arrest of APC members is just untruthful statement. It is that irresponsible fellow called John Mayaki that is doing all that and he should be ignored. It is completely false and there is no truth in it. Like we said earlier, the Police is an independent institution with a clear mandate to ensure the security of life and property in the country. The police is controlled by the Inspector General of Police in Abuja and it is wrong for the APC to accuse the Edo State Governor who is still relishing the victory given to him by Edo voters in the September 19 gubernatorial election, of ordering the arrest of its members.
Now that his mandate has been renewed, what should the people of Edo expect from Governor Obaseki in the next four years?
The governor has performed his duty as governor in his first term with a lot of tact and planning. That planning was not just confined to the first four years; it actually extends to the next four years and even beyond. For example, the modular refinery is almost completed in Edo state now. What has happened now is just the first phase. The second and third phase are about to start. Also, there is the Ossiomo Power Plant project which 55 megawatts have been completed now. That project is actually a 550 megawatts project. So, the governor has his work well-planned out for him already from now till the next four years. Most of the developmental initiatives that he introduced in his first tenure, he has done it in such a way that it will span into the next four years , which is why it is very important that he wins this election. Edo people realised that if anything contrary had happened and another person emerges, a lot of this big dreams that have been started will all be cut short and the people will be shortchanged. So, our plans are very elaborate. What we are going to be doing in the second term is scaling the initiatives that we already started and ensuring that it spreads across the state. We have Edo Production Centre where small and medium scale businesses are using to enhance their outputs as at today in Oredo. More of these projects are going to be established across the three senatorial districts. The planning has been done and the strategy has already been established. It is just to ensure that now, all these things get to the entire Edo state. We have created about 200,000 jobs. With the establishment of all these projects, I can assure you that hundreds of thousand jobs will be created and more developments will be visible across the state.
During the election, the APC raised the alarm that the governor has frittered the resources of the state on seeking reelection and that the state may go bankrupt. What is the financial strength of Edo at this moment?
Governor Godwin Obaseki is an astute planner and a prudent manager of resources. He did not use state funds to prosecute his reelection. He had massive support from the people and all of these people put their money where their mouth is and they contributed to sponsor his election. If you recall, a pressure group made up by some supporters of the governor by the name, Obaseki Mandate Forum, purchased the expression of interest and nomination form for the governor when he was in APC. That is the kind of massive support that the governor received throughout the election period. Just few days after the election, the governor paid salaries and pensions to the tune of billions of naira. So, that tells you the financial state of Edo state. We are very financially stable; we have planned very well and operated the government in a very responsible manner. There is no such thing as bankruptcy in Edo state. With Governor Obaseki, the finance of Edo is in safe hands.
LG election: “We Have Not Lifted Ban On Campaign”. – NASIEC.
The Nasarawa State Independent Electoral Commission( NASIEC) says on Thursday that the commission has not lifted ban on campaign ahead of the February 2021 local government election in the state.
Barr. Ayuba Usman Wandai, the Chairman of the Commission stated this when the State House of Assembly Committee on NASIEC and Multilateral Cooperation paid an oversight visit to the commission to assess its 2020 budget.
Wandai said that the commission is on course towards the conduct of the local government election in the state.
” We are determined to conduct the local government election in the state according to the law.
” We are working on the February 2021 date as earlier announced by the commission except if there is any challenge.
” We have being seeing posters of aspirants for LG election but we have not lifted ban on campaigns yet,” he said.
Usman Wandai commended the committee for supporting the activities of the commission and called for its sustenance.
He assured of free, fair and credible Local government election in the state.
Earlier, Hon Mohammed Okpoku, the Chairman of the Committee said that they were in the democracy House to assess the 2020 budget performance of the commission.
Okpoku ( APC- Udege/ Loko) has assured of the committee’s readiness to partner with the commission in order to have transparent and peaceful local government election in the state.
” We are ready to partner with you to ensure violence free Local government election in the state, ” he said.
Hon Danladi Jatau ( PDP-Kokona West), the Minority Leader of the House urged the commission to conduct transparent, free and fair Local government election in the state in the interest of peace and sustainable democracy at the grassroots.
Meantime, the committee also paid an oversight visit to Nasarawa State Community and Social Development Agency where the committee expressed happiness with the activities of the Agency under the headship of its General Manager, Ahmed Saidu.
Similarly,the committee also paid an oversight visit to the Nasarawa State Bilingual Education Project where the Project Manager, Hajiya Zainab Magaji appreciated the committee for supporting the activities of the project.a
Afo Community Drums Support For Gov Sule On Purposeful Leadership – Lawmaker.
ups and communities have continued to throw their weight behind the purposeful leadership of Nasarawa State Governor Engr. Abdullahi Sule.
This time around, Stakeholders in Eshi community, Udege Development Area said they have resolved to support Governor Abdullahi Sule beyond 2023.
Member representing Udege Loko at the state house of assembly, Hon Mohammed Okpoku told newsmen that the stakeholders made their position known during a meeting at his resident in Nasarawa local government Area today.
The meeting which was centered on unity among the people of the area as a panacea for achieving meaningful development also appraise the administration of Engineer Abdullahi Sule which according to them the state Governor deserved to be given a pat on the back considering his track records of achievements in the past one year in office.
They particularly applauded Governor Abdullahi Sule for stemming the tide of insecurity in Udege Development Area and the provision of infrastructure such as rural roads in the area which according to them The people of Eshi community and Udege Development Area never had it so good than now.
The Eshi stakeholders including the special Adviser to the Governor on Government House Hon Samuel Egya and the chairman of Nasarawa local government Area Muhammad Sani Otto’s , Hon Patrick Ebine among other APC chieftains therefore declared total support for Governor Abdullahi Sule to succeed beyond 2023 and also past a vote of confidence on their member Hon Muhammad odege Okpoku for his quality representation.
The meeting had in attendance all the elected councilors in Udege Loko constituency.
No APC Member Will Contest Against Engineer Sule Come 2023 – Nasarawa West Stakeholders
All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders from the Nasarawa West Senatorial zone has assured Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, that no member of the party from the zone will contest against him come 2023.
The Nasarawa West stakeholders made their resolve known while paying a solidarity visit on Engineer Sule, at the Government House, on Friday.
Leader of the Nasarawa West delegation and first civilian governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the zone is satisfied with the leadership style of Engineer Sule, in terms of spreading the dividends of democracy across the state.
Senator Adamu said they were at the Government House specifically to commend Engineer Sule for his exemplary leadership, as well as restate their loyalty to his administration.
“We are here to tell the world that we have nobody from our zone who will contest against you, you are our candidate come 2023,” he declared.
Senator Adamu thereafter moved a motion in support of the resolution, after which state House of assembly members from the zone, seconded the motion for the adoption of Engineer Sule as the candidate of the zone come 2023.
The former governor thereafter invited all prominent stakeholders from the zone to join him at the podium, to declare full support for Engineer Sule as sole candidate of the APC come 2023.
He said the Nasarawa West senatorial zone is appreciative of the developmental strides of the Governor since his assumption of office barely a year and some months ago, particularly in the zone.
Senator Adamu identified ongoing roads construction, the Karu Mega Bus Terminal, the Keffi Square and Neighbourhood Market, as all geared towards improving the economic wellbeing of the people of the zone.
The zone commended the Governor for his initiative on security, which has restored peace across the state, especially in Umaisha and Toto communities, adding that farmers are now back on their farms after initial fears that they may not be able to access their farms following rampant cases of banditry and kidnapping.
Senator Adamu applauded Engineer Sule for giving security the desired priority as according to him, no meaningful development can take place without peace.
He equally appreciated the Governor on the inroads of his administration in the area of agriculture, particularly in the area of attracting commercial agriculture to the state, which will not only create employment for the teeming youths of the state but also bring much needed development.
The Nasarawa West senatorial zone used the opportunity of the visit to employ Engineer Sule to convey their appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, for his interest in the development of Nasarawa State.
Senator Adamu then urged Engineer Sule not to deviate from his style of inclusive governance, where every part of the state is being carried along.
Responding, Engineer Sule expressed gratitude for the show of love by the Nasarawa West Senatorial zone, stressing that his major desire on assumption of office was to ensure that there was peace and unity in the state.
The Governor said he will remain grateful to the Architect of Modern of Nasarawa State, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, who supported him throughout the journey to the Government House.
He noted however that Senator Al-makura wouldn’t have done it alone but for the support of the Nasarawa West Senatorial zone, for which he said he will also remain grateful.
“I want to assure you that we identify, appreciate, we adore and will be forever appreciative of this support that we received, out of which we are here today to give our little contribution to develop the state,” he stated.
While also appreciating President Buhari for giving all the support to the state in the collective efforts to address the issue of security, the Governor promised to convey their message to the President.
Prominent personalities that spoke at the event include, Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, former APC gubernatorial aspirant, Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, Architect Jafaar Ibrahim, APC Zonal Vice Chairman, Alhaji Iyal Hassan and former Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Dr. Zainab Ahmed.
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