Mar 17, 2012

10 political parties battle for Edo governorship seat

About 10 political parties are   set to engage in a fierce battle for the plum job of governor of Edo state in the July 14 election. Already, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has elected   Major General Charles Airhiabere  (rtd) as its flag bearer while the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has governor Adams Oshiomole as its standard bearer.

The other  eight parties have organised themselves into a coalition  with the name Coalition of Progressive Political Parties  and adopted   Chief Solomon  Edebiri of the Peoples Progressive Party, PPP  as their sole candidate.  The parties in the coalition are ANPP, CPC, Labour party, DPP, CNPP, PPP, NAP etc.
Edebiri who is also the National Chairman of the Peoples progressive party, PPP hosted the coalition last weekend in Benin City.   Chairman of the Coalition Mr Godwin Erahon described Edebiri as a man to beat in the July governorship election. Erahon who is also the state chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, said three other parties had indicated strong interest to join the coalition
He said there had been effort by the governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomole to break the ranks of the coalition which had always been resisted. He said they would remain cohesive and resolute in their drive to take over the seat of governance in the state.
 The governorship candidate, Edebiri told the gathering of the coalition parties that he was in the race to right what he perceived to be the wrongs of the Adams Oshiomole led government. According to him, the government had not been able to complete most of its projects four years after it came on board. “I don’t want you to go to other places like Auchi, Ekpoma, Sabongida Ora, Okada, Urhonigbe, Ehor etc. You will weep for the people.
“The man has done nothing. Move round. Benin City which as at 1975 had all its roads tarred and water running in all taps is today an eyesore. Most Benin roads were already well marked out and tarred before government fell in the hands of Lucky Igbinedion. All that is required to move this state forward is good leadership ability which unfortunately is lacking in Edo state government right now”, he said.
 He said the present government only resurfaced some existing roads in Benin, noting that developments were beyond such. Edebiri described the endorsement of his candidature by eight   political parties as a reflection of the strong resolve of the people of the state to vote out ACN in the coming election. “The people truly want change”, he said.
He further accused Governor Oshiomole of frantic effort to drag the revered Benin palace into partisan politics with allegations like the Oba had endorsed him for a second term.  According to Edebiri, the monarch is a father to all and as such would not be seen or heard to be partisan politically.
Also a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Chief of Staff Government House during the reign of  deposed governor Oserheimen Osunbor, Hon Isaiah Osifo said he left the PDP for the Labour party because of what he termed the level of insincerity among the party leadership in the state.  Osifo who is the Secretary of the Coalition of Progressive political parties and the state Publicity secretary of Labour party said the coalition was not formed mainly to grab power but to provide social justice, rule of law, economic security to the people of the state when its candidates wins the governorship election.
Continuing, he said he had to pitch his tent with the governorship candidate of the coalition because he was convinced in the ability of the man to lead the state out of the woods. He said Edebiri who had never held any political position in the state before had impacted so much in the lives of youths in the state and the region through his firms. Describing him as a foremost technocrat and an industrialist who will give governance meaning to the people of the state, Osifo expressed the hope that the coalition would win the election.
Others who spoke at the forum were the state Chairman, Citizens Popular party, Prince Roy Oribhabor. The top three contenders for the plum job of governor of Edo state are already known.   At press time, tension was in the air in the state as all the candidates were busy running around, strategising on how to secure the mandate of the people. Who will take over the rein of governance of in Edo state is the talk on almost all lips.
Unlike in Cross Rivers and Bayelsa states where the governorship election that were conducted recently were clearly PDP affair in Edo state it is entirely a differently ball game.  The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN at the moment produced the governor of the state while the PDP which is in power at the centre is an opposition in the state.  Some other opposition parties have also rallied themselves into a coalition for the election. It is certainly going to be  an interesting one come July 14.