The campaigns have been full of political jabs and innuendos directed at certain quarters in a bid to undo one another in what seems to be a clear fight between the ruling Party ACN and the opposition PDP. Both parties have been engrossed in a long battle of supremacy with the Action Congress of Nigeria insisting that the PDP has nothing to show for its federalist status.
While there have been series of crises in the State as a result of the altercations between the PDP and ACN, political observers are looking forward to July 14, 2012 when the people will go into the real election to choose who becomes their Governor for the next four years.
Governor Oshiomhole has been going from one Local Government to another in his campaign effort to woo the Edo electorates for the July 14 election and expectedly the campaigns have provided him opportunity to showcase his achievements in the last three and a half years. Basking on the euphoria of his numerous achievements and relying heavily on the strength of his political party, Oshiomhole has assured Edo electorates that if given another opportunity to lead the State, he would consolidate on his overwhelming achievements of his first term.
According to him, “the people of the State deserve good governance and accountable leadership. We will not rest on our oars because we must fulfill our promises to the people. We cannot afford to join others in telling lies and deceiving people.
It is our duty to adequately inform the people, present our scorecard, and ask for their mandate to continue the good work we have been doing in the last three years”, he declared, amid a tumultuous crowd at Agenebode, where over 1,000 PDP members led by Chief Francis Alimikhena publicly joined the Action Congress of Nigeria.
Oshiomhole in his campaigns dwells on issues that would help move the State forward. Reeling out several items from his list of achievements, the Governor has used every opportunity to inform the people about his achievements and what he intends to do in the next four years if given the nod. At Jattu area of the Edo North Senatorial District where tens of thousands of Action Congress of Nigeria supporters came out to receive him, it was some kind of home coming for the Governor who assured the people that his second term would be better than his first term; “our second coming would be better than our first term. What we have been able to achieve in our first term is to lay the foundation by building the basic infrastructure that our people need for their day to day activities. In our second term, we will add value to human existence by providing additional employment for our teeming youths and making sure that our aged people are adequately catered for. We will not relent in our effort to creating opportunities for our people so that they can make meaning out of life. Our people have suffered neglect for a long time; hence we will do anything humanly possible to make sure that we give them improved services as steward of the people”.
Among the several achievements of the Governor are the renovation and rebuilding of almost 140 schools approximating about 1, 550 classrooms in the State, the control of erosion danger in Benin City and its metropolis in the multi-billion naira Edo Storm Water project, rural electrification in most of the rural communities, rural water supply through borehole projects, provision of healthcare service delivery in all the Local Government Areas, and several other areas that have received attention in the past three years.
Other achievements include the employment of over 15,000 youths and the creation of an e-payment system that has saved the State a lot of wastages in the area of ghost workers, as well as the compliance to due process and procurement laws in the execution of contracts.
Oshiomhole told an ecstatic crowd at Benin City that rather than deploy the resources of the State in furthering the nest of political godfathers, such income has been deployed in the provision of infrastructural development of the State.
Some political observers who spoke to Saturday Vanguard expressed concern over the spate of political crises in the State, saying such atmosphere of uncertainty can prevent the electorates from coming out to express their choice come July 14. According to political pundits, the political atmosphere in Edo State is fully charged and as such capable of breeding further crisis if appropriate security measures are not put in place.
“People are generally apprehensive about the elections because of the politically motivated killings in the State. The Governor lost his Principal Private Secretary to the cold hands of death by unknown gun men while the Governor’s own convoy was involved in an accident in very curious circumstances. We are watching as keen political observers even though we know the Comrade Governor to be enjoying tremendous popularity”, enthused Goodluck Aigbe, a politician from Edo South Senatorial District.
THE BLAME GAME.
It has been a game of blame and counter blame between members of the PDP and the Action Congress of Nigeria in the build up to the July 14, 2012 election. While the PDP reportedly petitioned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission over the use of what it described as “foul language” of the Governor, the Action Congress of Nigeria has also at various times petitioned INEC over the shoddy manner the voters registration exercise was taking place. The INEC decidedly jettisoned the voters registration exercise over what it considered as “weighty allegations” against the conduct of the exercise.
The Chairman of the Commission, Professor Atahiru Jega while addressing news men penultimate week, told the nation that the exercise would commence later in the year after the July 14, election. Before the postponement, the Action Congress of Nigeria had led a protest march to the State office of the INEC to register its displeasure over it termed as “irregular” conduct of the INEC on the issue of voters registration exercise.
The protest which was led by Governor Oshiomhole himself and thousands of his party members closed down business activities around Aduwawa area of Benin City where the office of INEC is located. While the protest lasted, INEC had to suspend its activities on that day and later called for a stakeholders meeting where decision for the discontinuation of the voters registration exercise was taken.
These are part of the sign and symbols that would be on display until after the election. Oshiomhole has continued to insist that the campaigns for the elections should be based on issues in order not to personalize the campaigns. Speaking to Saturday Vanguardsometimes ago, the Governor had expressed optimism that come July 14, the people of Edo State would re-elect him; “we are not afraid of this election.
It is only those who do not have anything to show for their aspiration that should be afraid. The people, the electorates, the voters and the generality of our people have tested me and so they trust what we can do as a government. We are not going to join those who are lamenting about our plight. We were able to improve on our internally generated revenue because we felt the greater need to make visible impact on our people.
I don’t believe in lamentation that would not bring anything to the table, which was why we took the bull by the horn in the various aspects of our intervention and today we can boastfully say we have done our best within the limits of our scarce resources”. Continuing, he added, “What we have done in the last three years is more than what the PDP achieved in ten years. In fact, apart from Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia’s intervention in the seventies, governance has been on recess in Edo State”.
TOWN TO TOWN CAMPAIGNS.
The Governor has been on parade since the kick-off of his re-election campaigns. From town to town, he has been carrying his message of performance to every nook and cranny of the State explaining the rationale for his re-election campaign.
According to the Director General of the Oshiomhole Campaign Organisation Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard, the Oshiomhole Campaign train was “unstoppable’ because every right thinking Edo person has bought into the frenzy of the moment”.
Speaking further, the Campaign Director posited that what obtains in Edo State as at the moment “is a political movement that cannot be rigged out by anybody whether there is federal might or not. We will keep vigil over our votes. We will educate our people to vote and defend their votes. The era of rigging elections is over. It is now the era of one man, one vote,” he added.