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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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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2023 election: Wike hit out at EU over report

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike on Monday hit out at the European Union (EU) over its report on the 2023 Nigerian presidential election.

Wike said the report failed to give the true position of the last election held in the country but created a wrong impression in the minds of the electorate especially in Rivers State.

Wike expressed his dissatisfaction when EU ambassador to Nigeria Samuela Isopi paid him a working visit in his office.

The minister said the EU was supposed to serve as an observer during the last election and not to present a report that would not give the true picture of Nigerian democracy.

European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM), through Chief Observer Barry Andres had in June presented its final report on the last Nigerian general elections, and highlighted six priority areas with recommendations.

Wike, however, said Nigerian laws cannot be the same as those of the European Union because they have different environments.

He said: “I didn’t agree with the European Union over the last report on the election in Nigeria.

“They are to observe. Nigerian laws can’t be the same as EU laws because they have different environments.

“In Rivers State, EU’s report was different from what transpired there. How can people who believe in democracy and practice it, be portrayed as people who don’t understand democracy?

“Our concern should be how to make the economy grow better. We have to cooperate and agree on specific areas of development in the Federal Capital Territory and the entire country.

“Foreign partners should be concerned with strategic development irrespective of the areas.”

Responding, Samuela Isopi, said the report was put together by independent observers and has nothing to do with her own operations.

She pledged commitment to work with the minister to boost development in the territory and beyond.

(Daily Post)

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PDP crisis: It’s time to sanction Wike – Obaseki

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Director of Research and Documentation of the party’s Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, Dr Pedro Obaseki, has declared that it is time to sanction former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

According to Obaseki, Wike is a serial betrayer who formed the group of five governors that committed series of anti-party activities against the PDP during the February 25 presidential election.

Obaseki spoke in a statement released on Tuesday.

The statement reads, “Wike coming out to ask for the expulsion of the number one leader of the party and the presidential flagbearer of the party and the recipient of the mandate of the Nigerian people as declared in INEC’s submission that we won 21 states and asking Atiku to be expelled from the party, Wike has crossed the red line and now, he should be ready.

“He has all the money to fight us back because we are coming at him like a thousand bricks.

“He has unleashed the dogs of war and we will not sit back and watch him ride rough over the party and majority of Nigerians like he did for eight years over the humility of the Rivers people. That can no longer suffice.”

Obaseki also challenged Wike to publish his bank account when he assumed office as a governor and after his eight years tenure as the governor of Rivers state.

Obaseki added, “Wike is a member of the APC, a sitting Minister of an APC government. Wike openly campaigned against the PDP. You see, by their fruits, we shall know them. By all intents and purposes, Wike is not a member of the PDP.

“If you remember clearly, just a few months to the election, Barrister Nyesom Wike, then the governor of Rivers State ran to the court to get an injunction to preclude and stop the PDP from expelling him from the party.

“If he was so untouchable and bigger than the entire party machinery, why did he do that? Whether we like it or not, Wike is Satan lieutenant.

“Maybe that is what reduced the propensity of the leaders of the party to do the needful. And because many of them are doves-men of peace (not everyone is a hawk like Wike), let us see whether he would come around. PDP is not a party of brigands.”

(Daily Post)

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Like Obaseki, Akeredolu moves against deputy gov, sacks media aides

Like his counterpart, Edo State Governor Obaseki, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Tuesday moved against his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, following the termination of the appointments of his media aides.

The governor’s action comes amid an apparent internal conflict between him and his deputy.

In a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, the affected aides were directed to submit all government properties in their possession to the acting Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor.

The affected aides include Press Secretary to the Governor, Kenneth Odusola-Stevenson; Special Assistant to the Governor (New Media), Oladipupo Okunniga; and Special Assistant to the Governor (Photography), Abayomi Adefolalu.

The statement reads in parts: “Similarly, the press crew attached to the office of the deputy governor has been disbanded. Consequently, all members of the press crew are to report back to their various ministries and stations.

“Equally, the Ministry of Information and Orientation is directed to provide adequate coverage for the activities of the deputy governor’s office henceforth.”

The termination of the media aides’ appointment highlights the escalating tension between Akeredolu and Ayedatiwa.

According to sources, the decision to sack Ayedatiwa’s media aides was due to news reports allegedly being orchestrated against the governor.

One of the sources who spoke anonymously with DAILY POST alleged that the deputy governor’s media team had fueled controversy involving both men, particularly when Akeredolu was on medical leave in Germany.

(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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I’m satisfied with conduct of Edo LG poll – Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Saturday, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of Local Government election conducted in the state on Saturday.

Obaseki gave the remark shortly after he voted at Ward 10, Unit 19 polling station at about 1.50 p.m.

According to him, “In spite of the rain, the turnout has been considerably interesting.

“That means political parties did all what they were supposed to do to sensitise the people.

“Secondly, we can see that the process has been very peaceful. I am very happy with this.

“That people were here some minutes before the close of polls. We have not had any incidence of violence from anywhere,” he said.

On his expectation of the outcome, the governor said he believed the popular candidates would win.

“I believe the popular candidates will win the elections, but don’t forget the PDP went all out to campaign for this election.

“I don’t know how much the other parties mobilised, but I know that the PDP was fully in most parts of the state,” he said.

(NAN)

Obaseki/Shaibu crisis: Deputy gov to get new office outside Govt House next week 

The rift between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu may come to a head next week as the latter is set to be relocated to a building outside the Government House.

The PUNCH discovered on Saturday that the new office is situated at 7 Dennis Osadebey Avenue, close to the Government House.

The building used to be the office of the Edo State Public Procurement Office which was inaugurated by former governor Adams Oshiomhole, on December 16, 2014. In fact, the plaque stating the inauguration date is etched by the entrance of the building.

A signboard with the inscription, ‘Office of the Deputy Governor’ is erected at the entrance. When our correspondent visited the complex, on Friday, workers were seen renovating the building and the compound while the renovation had yet to commence on the security post.

One of the workers handling the renovation who did not give his name, said that the job was expected to be delivered on Monday.

He added that he didn’t know what the building was going to be used for as he also had no idea about how the signboard was placed at the entrance.

The worker said, “I work for the company handling this renovation of this building. Our job is to deliver the project on Monday as agreed. I do not know how the signboard got to the entrance of the building and I don’t have an idea of what the building will be used for.”

Speaking about the development, the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, said, “If there is a government signboard saying so, then it must be so.”

(Punch)

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LG polls: APC, PDP, other five parties battle for 210 seats in Edo

Electorates in Edo State are expected to vote for 18 council chairmen and 192 councillors in Saturday’s local government polls that will take place in 4,519 polling units across the state.

Chairman of the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission, Justice James Oyomire (retd.), who stated this on Wednesday in Benin, said arrangements had been finalised to ensure the deployment or movement of electoral materials to the polling units.

He stated that there are 18 registered parties in the country but only 11 invited EDSIEC to capture their primaries and forms were given to them with only seven parties submitting forms before the deadline.

Parties that will participate in the election, according to the chairman, are the Accord Party, African Action Congress, Africa Democratic Congress, Allied Peoples Movement, All Progressives Congress, Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party.

Oyomire said, “Seven political parties who submitted their forms will take part in this election. The election will take place in 4,519 polling units in 192 wards in the state. 18 local government chairmen and 192 councillors seats will be contested across the state.

“In order to ensure adequate security before, during and after the election, the commission engaged relevant security agencies in the state, while we interacted with the electorate and other stakeholders to ensure the success of the exercise.”

“The commission is ready. Adequate training has been given to election officers and personnel, while logistic arrangements are in place for the deployment of election materials to polling units,” he added.

(Punch)

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