Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has assured the governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the primaries of the party holding on Saturday, that the exercise will be free, fair and devoid of violence.
The governor gave the assurance when he met with the governorship aspirants at the Government House, Benin City, Wednesday.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the State, every step will be taken to ensure that there is no violence, and there will be no violence by the special grace of God because our party does not include violence in its method. There will be enough security, and anybody going into the arena will not be able to carry any offensive weapon by however defined. That I can assure you, and it is not a place for supporters’ club.
“It is a venue for delegates polling. Perhaps, the only exemption I understand is will be those who are not delegates, but who are aspirants. If they are entitled, I want to assume so because the national executive will formulate the rules.
“I believe by reason of their delegation, they are entitled to be there as well as their own approved agents whether or not those agents are delegates. I believe there are rules, having been involved in election primaries.”
“I assure you I will work with security agencies to ensure that anybody whose purpose of coming to the stadium that day is to foment trouble, he will be helping the various security forces for many months to come and if convicted, he will be spending some time somewhere in Oko or any other location. We have a duty to stand by the motto of our party which is ‘Change’: change for good. It does not include violence as an instrument of change.”
Reacting to the allegation of inducement of delegates, the Governor said, “as for the allegation of people spending money, the truth is like what they said in the Bible: who will cast the first stone? Of the seven of you here seated, how many can put his hand on the Bible and say, ‘I have not induced delegates with money’?
He advised, “My plea is let’s maintain our friendship. Let’s not scandalize ourselves. The only regret I have is that some seem to be more vicious in the course of this intra-party contest than even focusing. I tell them that what we do in APC is that service delivery and infrastructural development is a way of life in our party, and that explains why even six months or less than six months to the end of my tenure, we are still flagging off new projects when others can’t even pay salaries. I want to service the bond between Edo electorate and the All Progressives Congress as a party so that I will leave the ladder stronger than I met it. That is the tradition I am coming from. This party whoever it fields will build on APC tradition which is about service to the people, changing our way from the politics of our opponent which is share the money. So, our party remains the best in the State which is why in your free will, you have chosen to contest on its platform.”
According to Oshiomhole, “What I owe each and every one of you is first to ensure no one is harassed in the course of electioneering, but as you will soon find out, I have had course to do a letter to the police asking the Police Commissioner to arrest an official of my party for molesting someone, and when they refused to arrest him, I wrote to the Inspector-General because I don’t need violence. I am capable of canvassing my position. So, let us build, consolidate on our strong points. We are all members of a political party that has strived so hard over the years, and as it stands today, we are very fortunate to be part of the governing party at both the local government, the state and the federal levels, and if you ask me, this should be our finest hour as a party in the State.”
“By some coincidence, every one of you present here, and even those who are not here, many I have met before, I have known before I became the Governor, and we maintain our relationship in one way or the other. And our relationship obviously can be described as warm and cordial. And so, now that we are approaching a governorship election, important as it is, in my view, it is not enough for us to destroy the traditional interpersonal relationship that has evolved over the years.”
“Let’s not allow the enemies of our party in the opposing party to infiltrate our ranks and take position or create tension such that by the time these matters are settled as they are bound to be settled, we will now have a problem of working together, and yet we all need to work together. I want to be able to go out with any candidate to campaign. I want to be able to give support.”
The APC governorship aspirants who attended the meeting include Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd), Comrade Peter Esele, Prof Ebegue Amadasun, Mrs. Tina Agbara and Hon. Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula.
They all agreed on the need to unite behind whoever emerges as the candidate of the party with a view to winning the general election on September 10.