Edo 2024: Ize-Iyamu declares to contest governorship again

A former Secretary to the State Government of Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Wednesday, declared his intention to join the 2024 governorship race in the state.

This is the third time he will be taking a shot at the Edo governorship office.

In 2020, he ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress but lost to Governor Godwin Obaseki, who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Declaring his intention to run on the APC platform again on Wednesday, Ize-Iyamu said he would stick with his previous SIMPLE agenda, which stands for  Security, Infrastructure Development, Manpower Development, Public/Private Partnership, Leadership by example and Employment creation.

He said, “Having served as Secretary to the State Government and a previous governorship candidate of the party, I possess the required experience to be governor. We lost the 2020 election because our leaders outside the state chose to vote against us.

“The SIMPLE agenda will be used to develop the state, if given the chance to become the governor. All the 18 local government will enjoy infrastructural development.”

He urged the electorate to vote for a politician like him who understands the needs of the people and not an outsider, questioning the present administration’s claim of infrastructural development in the state.

He added, “In Orhionmwon Local Government where I come from, there is no Automated Teller Machine let alone a bank and other social amenities like pipeborne water and electricity.

“The present administration is engaging in selective development as the only visible projects can only be found in Benin City.

“Also, I am not like other politicians who will rule for four or eight years and relocate to Abuja or Lagos. I am based in the state and I think I should be given the chance rather than backing people who only come to vie for positions during elections.”

In his response, the deputy chairman of the party, Jarret Tenebe, stated that the party needed a candidate who would win the 2024 poll.

(Punch)

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Edo crisis takes a new turn as govt slashes budgetary allocation to deputy governor’s office

The rift between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, may have taken another dimension as  N345 million was allocated to the Office of the Deputy Governor in the 2024 Budget as against the N19bn allocated to the Office of the State Governor.

An analysis of the budget which the governor signed into law on December 15, 2023, showed that the Office of the Secretary to the State Government got N8bn far higher than the N345m allocated to the deputy governor’s office.

The document also showed that while the House of Assembly got N13bn, the Office of the Head of Service got N968m.

A source close to the House of Assembly said the slash in the allocation to the deputy governor’s office was connected to his ambition to succeed his boss as governor of the state.

It was gathered that some lawmakers believed to be loyal to the deputy governor opposed the decision of the members of the assembly to pass the budget as presented by the governor.

Lawmakers in that category were said to have described it as an “unfair appropriation” but that they were overwhelmed other members.

An insider claimed that the budget has divided the lawmakers, but a principal member of the House of Assembly said there was no division in the House.

PUNCH reports that Shaibu had last week said his office had not received any allocation in the last six months owing to the tension between him and his principal.

The deputy governor, who stated this at the unveiling of the Correspondent Office in Benin on Tuesday, said he had been running the office and doing other activities through goodwill and contributions from friends.

He said, “You know there is tension between the governor and me. And for six months, there has been no allocation to my office. So, whatever I am doing is contributions from friends and my goodwill; and I am still standing very strong.”

(Punch)

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Edo 2024 guber poll: I’m not Obaseki’s candidate, says ex-NBA chair, Akpata

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, says his governorship ambition is not being sponsored by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

Akpata, who is an aspirant on the platform of the Labour Party, said there was no truth that Obaseki would back him if his preferred candidate in the Peoples Democratic Party lost the ticket.

Akpata also said that those alleging that he was attempting to buy the LP ticket with cash were displaying immaturity.

He spoke to journalists in Benin on Saturday when he appeared as the Special Guest at the award day of the 2023 Press Week of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

He said, “That I am sponsored by Godwin Obaseki is an unfounded and baseless rumour. It was bandied around by two irresponsible online blogs that I shall be going after with all the venom that I can muster because my approach to fake news is that you nip it in the bud and you deal with it before it festers.

“It has also been bandied around by some disgruntled politicians, including in my party, and I said to them that it is a very weak argument or reasoning.

“My relationship with the governor has never been hidden, so it is only politicians who don’t know how to agree to disagree that quickly conclude that when two contenders sit together, they must belong to the same camp.

“In the old Bendel State, my father’s elder brother,  Senator Olu Akpata, was in the UPN in 1979, his cousin, Tayo Akpata, was the Chairman of NPN in the same state. They had lunch and dinner together.

“The family I belong to are honourable people. Those who know the Akpata family in Benin know that we are honourable people. If I cannot go into politics on my own, and get the prize that I am looking for I will stay at home.

“I am a successful lawyer. Politics is not my job. It is out of interest that we have come to the rescue of this state and Nigeria. I cannot be the hireling of anybody,” he added.

On the issue of being a moneybag, Akpata said, “As the Americans would say, I put my money where my mouth is and you know, these people who say I am a moneybag have been spending before I came into the scene. So, I just wonder what the issue really is. You know when people get uncomfortable with a competition that they cannot match up to, they must look for something to say.

“They are only giving a dog a bad name to hang it. The LP is not as financially buoyant as the other parties. So it is important that all of us who are true party members come together and help our party. I shrug off the claim that I am a money bag. However, Politics is expensive all over the world,” he added.

(NAN)

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Godwin Obaseki canvasses for creation of state police

The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for the decentralisation of the country’s security architecture to check crime and criminality.

The governor said this during the Edo State Security Summit, held at the Government House, Benin City, on Friday, with the theme, “Edo State Security Framework: Repositioning for the Future.”

The governor also officially launched the state’s Command and Control Center, named after former Inspector General of Police and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr Solomon Arase and the Special Force Building, in Benin City.

The governor said the government is partnering with security agencies, leveraging technology, and evolving a public safety system that is anchored on citizen participation, to tackle insecurity in the state

He said, “Crime is local as well as security and until we have a decentralised legislative framework to allow component parts to take policing to a certain level and ensure active collaboration between the federal/central security agencies and local agencies, we will not succeed in fighting against criminality.

“When we started collating data of crime incidents in the state between 2017 and 2020, there was a rise in crime and criminality in the state. But today, we have seen incidents of crime go down drastically. We thank all the security agencies for their collaborative efforts in reducing crime in the state by 47.7 per cent between 2020 to date.”

The governor who said he was proud of the reforms introduced by his administration in the last seven years, especially in the areas of security, said there is still so much to be done to reduce crime to the barest minimum in the state.

“Collaboration with various security agencies has been the key to the reforms we have undertaken in Edo State. We have been collating data in the state using technology and walking into the future. Our goal is to use this data to check, investigate crime, and understand what is going on in various communities in the state.

“Traditional leaders are so key to our security arrangements because, without them, it would have been difficult to get the level of intelligence and local participation and cooperation we have received.

“As we go into the future, the emphasis must be on decentralizing security because everybody knows who comes in and out of their communities. Once we can empower them to have some authority in making decisions to support security efforts, we will achieve a lot more success.

“Looking ahead, we see that the future of security will be driven by technology and we will ensure that those that take charge are responsible and have control. The success today of our command and control center is a collaboration with NCC.”

Earlier, the keynote speaker, Major Gen. Ohifeme Enemai (retd.), said, “The strategy of security in Edo State must cover citizens, businesses, visitors, infrastructure and information amongst others. The security structure must be in place to drive the strategy for a safer and a secure State for all.”

Dignitaries present at the event are former Commissioner of Police and Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor, Fatai Owoseni (retd.); Minister for Police Affairs, Sen. Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by the Director of General Services in the Ministry, Ibilola Edemanya; former Inspector General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase; and the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, Dankwara Mohammed.

(Punch)

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Edo 2024: ‘I have no preferred candidate’ – Obaseki

Ahead of the Edo governorship election, Governor Godwin Obaseki has cleared all doubts about where he stands on the choice of the flagbearer for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He declared that he has no preferred candidate among those aspiring to succeed him as his tenure comes to an end.

According to the governor, only the party has the power to decide who becomes its flagbearer at the gubernatorial election.

Obaseki spoke on Thursday in Bauchi after a closed-door meeting with Governor Bala Mohammed, who doubles as the chairman of the PDP governors forum.

He was accompanied by the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.

However, details of the closed-door meeting are still sketchy as of the time of writing this report.

Addressing journalists after the meeting held at the Rahmat House, an extension of the Bauchi Government House, Obaseki also cleared the air on his relationship with his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who has declared interest in succeeding him.

He said their relationship is cordial.

DAILY POST reports that until this time, there have been insinuations in some quarters that the governor is not backing his deputy’s ambition to succeed him.

Obaseki said: “My relationship with Shaibu is cordial. He wants to run for the office I currently occupy and I think, as a Nigerian, he has the constitutional right to run; nobody can stop him.”

He added: “But only the PDP and our members can decide who will become the flagbearer of the party at the gubernatorial election. I’m only one of the millions of party members in Edo State. I don’t think my vote alone will determine who becomes the party’s flagbearer.”

(Daily Post)

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UNIBEN first-class graduates to get automatic jobs, says Gov Obaseki

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has assured first-class graduates of the University of Benin of Edo origin of automatic recruitment into the State Civil and Public Service.

The governor gave the assurance while addressing graduates at the 48th Convocation and 53rd Founders’ Day ceremony at the UNIBEN main campus, in Ugbowo, Benin City.

Governor Obaseki said, “Governance is key and the quality of governance I see the Vice Chancellor of this university display is the one that is so admirable.

“As a government, we decided, seven years ago, to support this university even if it is not a state-owned university. This university is all about knowledge for service and what this university has done to position Edo State in Nigeria in terms of human capacity development is really unheard of.

“We are not a large State but a state with a population of about 5 million people and one university graduating 500 PhDs speaks a lot. I want to thank the university for this achievement.

“It is now a standing policy for the Edo State Government that any student of Edo State origin graduating with a first class degree from any recognised university gets an automatic job from the Edo State Government.

“For your 179 students who may not want to proceed immediately for further studies, just tell them that with just one e-mail, they get an automatic job with the Edo State Civil/Public Service.”

He added, “I have to be here to honour this event because this will be the last time I will be participating as governor of Edo State. I see quality Nigerians selected for honour today.”

(Punch)

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Obaseki remains my friend notwithstanding our differences, says Adams Oshiomhole

The senator representing Edo North Senatorial District, Adams Oshiomhole, has described the Governor Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, as his friend despite their political differences.

The former governor of the state said this, according to a statement on Saturday, during his goodwill message at the 2023 Alaghodaro Summit held in Benin City.

Oshiomhole said, “Being friends doesn’t mean we can’t disagree or have different opinions but we must treat ourselves with love and care. Regardless of what people say, we should not give the impression that different options translate to war.

“We definitely belong to different political parties but the total of those parties is not equal to Edo State. What this means to me is that we can play politics differently but never have doubt about the shared commitment to the citizens of the state that should be the greatest in Nigeria.

“The language of leaders matters to followers. What defines democracy is that of ideology, even if we share the same destination but the route to get there may differ, it should not be a matter of war.

“I thought the world should know that Godwin is my friend. It doesn’t matter; being friends does not mean we cannot debate or disagree but being friends means we treat ourselves with love and care and bring our followers together.”

Also speaking, Obaseki noted that his administration focused on six thematic pillars, including institutional reforms, economic revolution, social welfare, and infrastructure development, among others.

Presenting the eight-point communiqué reached at the end of the meeting to journalists, a former governor of the state, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said the parley became necessary to set an agenda for the unity and sustainable growth and development of the senatorial district.

(Punch)

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Fresh crisis rocks Edo PDP over Gov Obaseki’s succession plan

Fresh crisis has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s succession plan.

The State Executive Committee of the chapter is polarised by the plan, which its Publicity Secretary, Vasco Ogie, said is devoid of equity and justice.

Ogie said in a statement yesterday that the next governorship primary will determine the survival of the chapter.

He urged governorship aspirants to brace up for the exercise, following the release of the guidelines for the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

However, he alerted the aspirants to the governor’s style, which he insisted, is devoid of equity and justice.

Ogie’s comments underscore the gravity of disunity in the Edo PDP and the tension between members loyal to the governor and those loyal to Dan Orbih, who is an associate of Chief Nyesom Wike, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

But, Obaseki, who appears to have increasingly consolidated his hold on the party, has refrained from joining issues with party officers opposed to his leadership.

Ogie assured aspirants of a free and fair shadow poll, which will be conducted by after the release of primary guidelines by the National Working Committee (NWC).

The statement reads: “The Edo chapter of PDP wishes to inform the general public and teeming supporters that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has published its timetable for the conduct of the Governorship election in Edo State in 2024. We call on all our intending aspirants to take note of the timelines of activities.

“On Friday 29th September 2023, the Governor of Edo State, HE Godwin Obaseki addressed journalists and expressed his desire to “finish strong” and swear in a successor on November 11th 2024. We politely disagree here and make bold to state that it is the Chief Judge that has the constitutional duty to swear in who will succeed him.

“The governor further stated that, “It is not in my place to now determine, appoint or anoint any successor but all I know is that in the process of seeking my successor, there must be fairness, equity, and a sense of inclusion because our goal is to keep Edo as one”. On this we agree completely with the Governor.

“Our only reservation on this is that he has not exhibited fairness, equity and justice in conducting the affairs of government since his assumption of office.

“We hereby assure Edo people that the ideals of “fairness, equity, and a sense of inclusion” mentioned above are the hallmarks of PDP which will not be lost in our quest to nominate a gubernatorial candidate in 2024, from amongst our committed and dedicated Party loyalists who have stood by the Party all these years. Our nominee will be a candidate acceptable to all Edo people. The guidelines of the Party will be strictly adhered to in nominating the candidate.

“While we await the publication of the guidelines for activities from the National Working Committee, we assure all our party faithful that we shall conduct a free and fair process to pick a candidate in February 2024.”

(Nation)

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Edo Tribunal upholds APC Dennis Idahosa’s victory, dismisses PDP, LP Petitions

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Benin City, has dismissed two petitions filed against the declaration of Dennis Idahosa as winner of the February 25 Ovia Federal Constituency election for lack of merit and being incompetent.

The petitioners, Epele Asemota of the Labour Party (LP) and Barr Omosede Igbinedion of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had separately approached the court to challenge the victory of Idahosa.

Asemota and Igbenediion had accused INEC of not complying with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended, in the conduct of the election.

They also contended that the election victory of the APC candidate was marred by irregularities through overvoting and multiple thumbprinting.

Osayuki Asemota and Omosede Igbinedion further alleged the non-usage of the BVAS machine during the election.

In its judgement, the tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Mohammed, dismissed the two petitions on the grounds that they lacked merit and were incompetent, as the petitioners could not present any evidence to support their cases.

The three-man panel held that the onus was on the petitioners to prove the issues of overvoting, corrupt practices and non compliance with the Electoral Act as contained in their petitions.

According to the tribunal, “The declaration of the 3rd respondent (Idahosa) is valid and petition dismissed.”

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Omosede, Mr Santos Owootori, expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict, maintaining that they would approach the court of appeal for redress.

On his part, counsel to Idahosa, Mr Famous Osawaru, lauded the judgement, adding that it was based on facts and not sentiment.

According to him, the mandate of Ovia people cannot be stolen, adding that his victory is a sign of liberation.

(Daily Post)

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Labour Party rejects Edo LGs election results, demands scrapping of SIEC

The Comrade Julious Abure-led Labour Party has rejected the result of the Edo State Local Government Election held on Saturday as announced by the State Independent Electoral Commission.

The LP condemned the election as conducted by the Edo SIEC describing it as another sad testimony of how low a state government can descend in attempting to rubbish the gains of democracy.

This was contained in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, in Abuja, on Sunday.

Ifoh quoted  Abure as saying that democracy can only succeed when the authorities allow the votes of the people to count and the choice of the voters respected.

He said, “Reports from our agents across most of the polling units in the state confirmed that there were deliberate effort by the EDSIEC to frustrate voters by ensuring that the electoral officers either came late to the polling units or didn’t show up at all.

“In few places where the election held, insufficient ballot papers were brought with no single result sheet.

“But at the end of the day, results were churned out with the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party returning elected.

He further said, “Before the election, credible information reached us that the state government had no intention of conducting any election, let alone a credible one.

“The EDSIEC we gathered simply took instructions from the government house and announced an already prepared list as winners of the election.

“Edo people and Nigerians deserve the best to represent them in government. What happened in Edo state was a mockery of democracy and such must not be allowed to stand.

“We, therefore, call on the state government to also condemn the charade that happened on Saturday, denounce the outcome and call for a fresh and credible election.

“State Independent Electoral Commissions across Nigeria have failed to help democracy grow. They are purely appendages of the states government and there is nothing independent in them.

“We therefore call on the national assembly to scrap the commission and entrust the conduct of the local government elections on the Independent National Electoral Commission for proper management.

“State Independent Electoral Commission has become an embarrassment to democracy in Nigeria. It is therefore time to scrap them so as to restore sanity in our grassroot politics.”

(Vanguard)

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