From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria, yesterday called on the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, Mr Chris Ezike to arrest and prosecute the political thugs that attacked the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu.
The group observed that the ugly situation portends danger for the country’s democracy.
In a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Marxism Kola Edokpayi, the group said it is on record that thugs also invaded Oredo Local Government Secretariat some weeks ago, and up till now, the police were yet to arrest anybody over the incident, even when the car of the Deputy Commissioner of Police was attacked by the thugs, who took over the local government secretariat.
According to the group: “it beats rational imagination that in an era of civilization, people don’t appreciate the ethics and ethos of universal democracy which gives the Deputy Governor the right to aspire or vie for any position in Nigeria and beyond as far as he is qualified.
“As the gubernatorial election approaches, we urge politicians not to regard politics as do-or-die affair as the era of politics with bitterness has been consigned to the dustbin of history. They should abide by the fundamental rules and regulations of the game and desist from using our youths for thuggery and hooliganism for their egocentric interests.”
They however appealed to Odubu, in the interest of peace to appeal to his teeming supporters to be calm and law abiding, especially as they were still mourning the transition of the Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa.
Similarly, another group, N’ Edo Gheria, has also called on the Inspector General of Police to bring to book those who masterminded the attack on the state deputy governor.
The group in a statement made available to news men in Benin also admonished politicians particularly governorship aspirants to caution their supporters, adding that “service to a people should not be seen as a do-or-die affair”.
Coordinator of the group, Agene Patrick said, if what happened to Odubu is treated with kid gloves, the effect is that more violent crimes could be looming in the dark.
The statement read in part: “we in N’ Edo gheria first and foremost, condemn the attack on the state deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu whom we learnt was on a legitimate duty trying to meet with delegates ahead of their party’s primaries in Etsako West local government area of Edo State.
“It should be noted that what has happened could also happen to any other aspirant; this is why all and sundry must prevail on the IG and security agencies to fish out the culprit and bring them to book.
“We believe a call to service should not be a do-or-die affair, rather all aspirants should conduct themselves in such manners depicting that of true leaders.
“While we wish them peaceful electioneering campaigns, aspirants must convince the electorate through policies and agenda of their manifestoes and not the use of guns or thugs,” the statement said.
I’ll stop APC’s poverty from spreading – Onaiwu
By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye
The Director-General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, and one of the aspirants in the election, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, in this interview speaks about how his eight years of service at the forum has prepared him for the job; his plans for alternative funding and why the All Progressives Congress (APC) must be stopped from spreading poverty at the center to the state.
Why do you want to govern Edo State?
That is very simple; to bring prosperity to my people. I was born and brought up in Edo State, precisely old Bendel. I went to Ogbe Primary school, then Baptist High School. My parents were educationist and were very popular in the state. So growing up, I use to travel with my father around the state, so there is nowhere in the state that I don’t know. I once went to secondary school in Okpella, so I know Edo State very well.
I’m trying to bring home my experience, the knowledge, the know-how, to bring prosperity to my people. You must have a caring heart for you to govern a people; you must be humble to serve people.
I have been in service all my life. I served Ogbemudia at the age of 23. I was the youngest special assistant in the history of the country as at that time. I also served the former vice president, Augustus Aikhomu, the man who created the state. Ogbemudia built Bendel, while Aikhomu created Edo, so I have served two great people; the builder and the creator. So, Edo is on my mind.
I didn’t stop there, I became the coordinator of Governors Forum when Bukola Saraki was the chairman and that is what people don’t want to hear because the word Governors Forum is huge. I was managing the 36 governors for six years but when they had their split, I moved on.
My job then was to liaise with the 36 governors. I was a special adviser to Bamanga Tukur, the chairman of our party. It was during my stay with Tukur that the Governors Forum had conflict; it was Rotimi Amaechi, the then governor of Rivers State that was the chairman.
I have been working with governors, creating ideas for them, building image for them. I was part of those who canvassed the peer review mechanism for them. The first time we had a peer review was when we took journalists across the states for them to have an idea of what the governors were doing.
So for me, eight years of coordinating the governors, I saw Sule Lamido build the best airport in the North, I saw when Godswill Akpabio transformed Akwa Ibom, I saw when Isa Yuguda of Bauchi built hospitals in each local government of the state, I saw when Chime Sullivan transformed Enugu.
Going round the states, I have seen a lot. When you want to talk about education and health, you cannot forget to talk about Ondo State, a state where mega schools were built, where pregnant women go to hospital for free whether you give birth naturally or through caesarean, where mini hospitals are attached to primary and secondary schools. Those are the experiences I’m bringing home.
How do these translate to what your people need?
I visit home regularly; whenever I’m home, there are no light on the streets. Benin City is like a big slum, no development, youths are unemployed, they hang out in the beer parlour; all these give me pain.
So, I’m going home to rescue my people, to find solution to their problems. When I was young, people used to travel from Kaduna and Lagos to catch fun in Bendel State, but it is not so any more. Therefore, I’m going home with my experience, humility, to change the mind set of our people, I’m bringing prosperity home.
What are those areas you have identified that your people will feel the impact of governance quickly and how are you going to address them?
I have identified those areas, but first, I have to stress that government is about continuity. First and foremost, you must look at what your predecessor is doing, look at his policies. The one that you think that the public is benefitting from you continue with it, the one that is not public-oriented can be reviewed and adjusted for the people to benefit from.
For me, I noticed the women are idle. When you train or empower a woman, you empower a nation but when you empower a man, you have empowered one person. I have plans already in place to empower the women. The youths have to be trained. Looking at the youths in my state, you can see they have no skills, you can’t go to Edo now and say you are looking for artisans, they are not there.
I grew up knowing Benin Technical College, it was there to absorb those who were not interested in going to university; it was the quickest alternative. I grew up knowing of catering school in Edo State. I also grew up knowing we have one of the best nursing schools in the state but where are they today? These are areas I intend to revamp and make viable again and attractive to engage our people.
Government is about attracting people, it is about contacts, if you don’t have contacts, you can do nothing in a state; you will only be paying salaries. For instance, Mr. Aliko Dangote just invested $1 billion to set up a cement factory in my state. That was made possible because of the relationship he has with the current governor, Oshiomhole.
So, the cement factory in Okpella area of Edo State is going to give 10,000 jobs to Edo people and is a testimony to the potential of the state to contribute hugely to Nigeria’s GDP especially in the face of dwindling oil revenue. So, we need more of such investments and I will attract more of such from the Diaspora and within.
But we need peace in the state, because when there is peace, there is development and where there is development, there is wealth and when there is wealth you create jobs. But when there is no peace, there is no development.
If you look at my state from Auchi to Ewu, that axis is supposed to be agric free zone, anything you are looking for is on that belt.
The governor who governed from 1999 to 2007 tried his best to build a fruit factory in Ehor but there was no continuity, it was abandoned. So, if we convert that zone to agric free zone, I bet you, between 100,000 to 200,000 will benefit.
Edo was known as a home of sports; we used to be dominant in sports, sports is the quickest way to engage the youths and take them off the streets, football, lawn tennis, table tennis, basketball, athletics etc. Today, nobody is talking about sports any more, we no longer talk about school sports, in those days we had Bendel Insurance, First Bank, New Nigerian Bank football clubs but they are not there anymore.
So many players like Samson Siasia, Stephen Keshi and several others came out from Bendel. So, we have to look at areas where we can engage the youths and keep them busy. But most importantly: education.
Professionals blame Odubu for ignoring Oba’s passage
The League of Young Edo Professionals (LEYEP) has taken a swipe at the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Dr. Pius Odubu, for going ahead with his campaigns when the people are mourning the death of the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa.
Secretary-General of the group, Dr Osatohamwen Nosakhare, in a statement noted that while all other aspirants in the APC, including Chris Ogiemwonyi, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor, Mr. Kenneth Imansuagbon, Chief Victor Atamah, Lady Tina Agbarha, among others have since suspended their campaigns as a mark of respect for the late royal father, only Dr. Odubu, a Benin son, has continued to go about campaigning around the state.
“The League of Young Edo Professionals notes with dismay that Dr. Pius Odubu has continued to show flagrant disrespect to the Palace, the Benin Traditional institution and indeed the entire people of Edo State by continuing with his campaign around the state when the entire state is mourning the passage of our great monarch. “While the news of the monarch’s transition was announced on Friday, which threw the entire state into mourning, we were shocked to read that Dr. Odubu was at Auchi and Fugar in Edo North the next day, Saturday, to woo delegates of his party for his ambition.
“For a Benin man to exhibit such utter aloofness to the sad news of our monarch’s departure is not only a sacrilege but a political taboo which should be condemned by all concerned”, the statement read in part.