Perhaps for the umpteenth time, and especially flowing from its recently botched mock primary in pursuance of their consensus arrangement which seemed to have polarized them, the Coalition of Governorship Aspirants on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC, has once again pledged their commitment, as loyal party members, to a “free and fair process of selecting the governorship flag bearer of the party” and “abiding by the process”. They also renewed their pledge to support whoever emerges amongst them as the candidate of the party recognising “that only one person can be fielded”.
In a press statement on Thursday, signed by five aspirants, namely Chris, Ogiemwonyi, former minister of state for works, Pius Odubu, former deputy governor, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former secretary to the state government, SSG, and former gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Charles Airhiavbere, retired army General, and also a former governorship candidate, as well as Saturday Idehen, former NDDC commissioner, said they remained united in their pursuit of a common goal of ensuring that their party, the APC, wins the September 19 governorship election in the state.
They, however, lampooned the Obaseki-led government for his vitriolic attack on the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, whom it accused of being the mastermind of the process of selecting a candidate through mock primaries “thereby breaching guidelines for the containment of COVID-19”. They described the allegation as “not only malicious, vexatious and untrue, but extremely irresponsible on the part of Edo state government that has failed woefully to diligently address and implement the guidelines issued by the Federal government through the Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control”.
In the statement also endorsed by some leaders of the party namely, Peter Obadan, and Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governors of the state, Francis Alimikhena, senator representing Edo North senatorial district, Peter Akpatason, deputy House Leader, House of Representatives, and Johnson Oghuma, member of House of Representatives, among others, the aspirants declared that that there was never a time that members and leaders of the party in the state engaged in any activity that contravened any guidelines for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, neither had the national chairman visited Edo State since the break of the coronavirus pandemic in February 2020.
On the contrary, they said, “Governor Obaseki’s hypocrisy is legendary as he has continued, even while on self-isolation, to hold meetings with politicians to campaign for his re-election and he may be possibly responsible for infecting some government officials who tested positive to Corona Virus as he refused to disclose his status after submitting his samples for test”. They posited that “this is reminiscent of the lack of transparency in the governance of Edo State”.
According to the aspirants, “the Edo State government had unwittingly and without regard for the wellbeing and health of Edo people, lumped market operators into school premises in gross violation of the social distancing policy” adding that “as leaders of the All Progressive Congress, we have individually and collectively offered palliatives even in greater quantity than what Edo State government has given to Edo people despite claiming to have expended over #1,000,000,000 ( One Billion Naira) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”.
They said as party members and leaders seeking to give Edo people responsible governance come November 2020, they were deeply concerned about the gross violations of the fundamental human rights of citizens of Edo State “through the false declaration and stigmatization of innocent persons all in the pretense of combating the spread of Covid-19 and the near absence of basic Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) for our medical personnel which the Association of Resident Doctors in the state has criticized the government for not providing for health workers”. They saluted the gallant efforts of all health workers in Edo State for putting their lives on the line in the fight against coronavirus.
Reiterating their “unalloyed commitment” to Oshiomhole’s leadership as national chairman of the party, the aspirants warned Obaseki “to desist from his unpatriotic activities of sponsoring attacks on him and financing his removal from office”. They appealed to all their supporters to continue to engage in constructive campaigns that would promote the unity and cohesion of the party so as to position it for victory in the gubernatorial election.