Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s seeming onslaught against political opponents appears relentless with the revocation of the certificate of occupancy of an over 18 hectres of farmland belonging to Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) at the September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state. The confiscated land had over the years engaged in massive mechanised farming and training of people interested in farming.
Though the state government had in some advertorials a few weeks ago announced the acquisition of several lands “for public interest”, including that of Ize-Iyamu, a letter to that effect conveyed the government’s decision to the embattled former secretary to the state government, SSG this weekend.
The letter, sent through the Edo Geographic Information Service, (EdoGIS) dated July 22, 2021, and signed by the Chief Registrar, Titles and Instrument, Nora Ohiwerei, for the Managing Director, read “I am directed to inform you that the Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki has formally revoked the statutory right on all that parcel of land measuring approximately 18.0736 hectares in Amagba village area.”
Political watchers view the governor’s action as political vendetta considering the fact that the governor had during his first term in office, patronised the same farm for the training of beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Anchor Borrowers program. Pundits believe that the motive is to cripple the former governorship candidate financially so that he would not be in a position to contest future elections. Sources close to the pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, however hinted that he might be seeking legal redress. But defending Obaseki’s action, one of his former media aides, Adaze Emwanta, a lawyer, explained that the governor took the decision in the interest of the state. According to Emwanta, the governor derived his power from the Land Use Act. He insisted that “the land Ize-Iyamu is laying claim to, used to belong to the state government and was meant for a government project. But Ize-Iyamu converted the land to his farmland”.
Recall that parcels of land and property owned by former deputy governor of the state, Pius Odubu, former Secretary to State Government (SSG) and the current member representing Owan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Julius Ihonvbere, professor of political science, as well as that of sports enthusiast and marketer, Mike Itemuagbo, among others, had been revoked by the governor and massive structures on them demolished.
A multi-million naira hotel, T. Latifa Hotel located in the high brow area of Benin, belonging to Tony ‘Kabaka’ Adun, a loyalist of the former national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, was last year demolished by the governor.