Former Information and Orientation Commissioner in Edo State and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kassim Afegbua, said he feels fulfilled that he was able to deliver the four wards in his Okpella community in Etsako East local government area of the state to the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC during the just concluded governorship election won by his party’s candidate, and incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Afegbua had in June this year, vowed not to support Obaseki after he emerged the PDP candidate following his disqualification from participating in the primary of the APC where he belonged over alleged discrepancies in his academic records. The former commissioner was displeased with the manner Obaseki was ceded the ticket of the party few days after he left the APC. According to Afegbua who spoke on Channels Television, “Someone cannot just join a party within 24 hours, you surrender every whim and caprice of the party to him, and then you sit back and tell me that you are celebrating your Christmas early enough in the day”. He consequently vowed to campaign against the governor while endorsing Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the APC, an action which earned him suspension for one month.
And even though Ize-Iyamu lost the election, Afegbua believed that he had made his point, declaring that he remains a member of the PDP. He told TELL in an interview on Wednesday that “Last year, PDP won all the wards in Okpella; this year, because of my involvement, the APC won all the wards. So, that, to me, is gratifying. Those who said I have no political value, that I don’t have electoral value; they have kept quiet because they thought I would lose my polling unit. I beat the PDP resoundingly there. And mine is more or less like a protest vote because of the neglect that my community has suffered.
“My community is so backward with bad roads; no single infrastructure from Obaseki’s governorship for four years. That is not a good commentary for me. So, I have made my point eloquently clear and I am proud of the stand I took and I will have to forge ahead with the PDP”. Appreciating his community for not letting him down, Afegbua said “Okpella people, I thank them for listening to me and for being able to sway the votes to the APC”.
According to him, Obaseki may have won the election, “but he has not won my heart. My heart remains with my people in Okpella. If he wants people to appreciate him, if he likes let him remember Okpella; if he likes, let him forget Okpella. After four years, we would pitch our tent again with someone who would give attention to Okpella.
“We are backward in terms of infrastructure. Two days to the election, the road going to my community was almost cut off because the river overflowed and so it had created a permanent river on the road. Before you get there, you have to take some canoes and all that. That is not the kind of commentary I want to see. And for a community that had been producing so much of revenue to government, I felt that was a huge insult on our part. So, that is why I mobilized my people and I am happy that they voted for APC”.