…Disqualified as delegates

Stories from Tony Osauzo, Benin

The expiration of the tenure of elected chairmen and councillors of 17 local government councils ‎in Edo State yesterday, has technically knocked them out as delegates for the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) governorship primaries scheduled to hold in June.

The only exception is the chairman and APC’s councillors of Esan North East local government council whose tenure of office is still running by virtue of a re-run election held for the council, following an earlier election that was inconclusive.

The provision of the APC Constitution makes elected local government officials delegates to participate in the party’s primaries to nominate a governorship candidate. However, the expiration of the tenure of the17 councils has ruled the chairmen and councillors out of the Edo APC’s primaries.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state ‎had earlier raised the alarm over alleged plan by the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to extend the tenure of the councils. The allegation was promptly denied by the State Government.

On April 18, 2016, the State House of Assembly moved swiftly to serve notice to 17 local government councils to remind them that their tenure would expire on Thursday, April 21.

The House in its resolution, then directed the council chairmen to hand over the affairs of their local governments to the Heads of Administration of their various councils‎.

The House directive has now pitched the House against the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who on Wednesday through a letter protested against the action of the Assembly.

“My attention has been drawn to the resolution of the House directives asking local government chairmen to hand over administration on April 21, 2016.

“The resolution is a usurpation of the powers of the executive. The House does not have the power to give such directives.

“I have already directed the local government chairmen to submit their handing over note and transmit such to the office of the governor,” Oshiomhole said in the letter.

But in a swift reaction to the governor’s letter on the floor of the House, the lawmakers said they have the powers to take the decision they took on the councils.

Consequently, the House ruled that it acted within the ambit of the law and the powers conferred on her by section 4,6 and 7 of the 1999 constitution as amended and section 10(1) of the State local government law 2000 as amended.

It then reaffirmed its directives to the council chairmen to hand over to their Heads of Administration, just as it invited the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Henry Idahagbon to appear before it next week Tuesday, April 26 to explain why he allegedly misinformed the governor.

Political watchers believe that the drama playing out between the governor and the lawmakers has its roots in the APC governorship race in the state and has to do with the varied interests of the actors in the drama.

Many ‎believe that the lawmakers have acted within the provision of the State local government law 2000 as amended, which provides for a joint Executive/Lawmakers control of the local government councils.

‎They consider the action of the lawmakers as true democracy in action, where the principle of separation of powers has come to play, as opposed to the general trend where Houses of Assemblies often do the bidding of Governors.

But‎ whether the lawmaker will sustain their position till the end in defence of democracy or they will back off, is a matter only time will tell. Edo people are waiting to see who will blink first in this face-off between the governor and the lawmakers.

I have solutions to Edo problems -Esele

Former National Pres‎ident of PENGASSAN and Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Peter Esele, has explained that the driving force behind his ambition to run for the governorship position of Edo State are his qualification, experience and skill, adding that he has the solution to the problems of the state.

Speaking to journalists in Benin, during an interactive meeting, Comrade Esele gave Education, Agriculture and Culture as his main cardinal areas of focus if elected governor.

He said in the area of education, his administration will pay special attention to children between ages 5 and 12 to prepare them for the future.

“I was brought up to depend on myself, selling water and knowing that there is God. The moment is not what I am just walking into, it’s a moment I prepared for”, he said.

Esele, while observing that society thrives on competition and ideas, said he would‎ create an avenue for Universities in Edo State to be competitive in research, adding that he would set aside the sum of N100 million for that purpose, just as he promised to set up a secondary school for best students across the state.

On agriculture, he promised to create natural environment that will make people gravitate toward farming, even as he also promised to encourage processing of products for export in order to add value and enable farmers earn more money.

Speaking on culture, Comrade Esele called for the re-awakening  ‎of the values that made our forefathers to think and made their society crime-free.

“A‎ good leader looks out for opportunities. Nigerians need to change the mindset that says everything about Western culture is good and everything about African and Nigerian culture is bad.

“My story is my environment. The way we are created, God gave us what will make us survive. I am in the race because I love it”, he said.

The APC governorship aspirant promised to reorganise sports and bring back Principal’s Cup football competition through which, he said, many football talents were discovered in the past.

Will Orhionmwon produce next governor?

History appears to be beckoning on Orhionmwon local government area of Edo State in the governorship race‎.

Four governorship aspirants from Orhionmwon, the largest Oil producing and sole Gas producing local government area of the state.

Three of the aspirants, Dr. Pius Odubu, the current Deputy Governor, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Prof. Ebigue Amadasun are vying for the governorship position on the platform of the APC, while Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu, also from Orhionmwon, is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Three of the aspirants, Dr. Pius Odubu, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi and Pastor Ize-Iyamu are perceived as strong contenders for their parties’ ticket for the governorship slot.

There are calculations that should either Odubu or Ogiemwonyi pick APC ticket and Ize-Iyamu also picks PDP ticket in the primaries, it would then become an “Orhionmwon affair” and a faith accompli for the local government to produce the next governor of Edo State.

If that happens, the largely rural local government would be on the verge of seeing development, going by the current trend where incumbent governors concentrate development in their areas and immediate communities.

Time will tell whether this will become a reality for Orhionmwon or not.

It won’t be two- horse race-Okonga, SDP aspirant

The governorship aspirant of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Prince Frank Okonga has said the 2016 governorship election  is no longer going to be a two- horse race as usual as he expects to pick up the governorship ticket of his party.

Mr Okonga contested as governor on the party’s platform in 2012 but later collapsed his structure for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last minute.  He told journalists in Benin City yesterday that with the SDP having a candidate in the governorship race, the electorate are exposed to a plethora of parties to choose their governorship candidate rather than the usual two predominant parties, the APC and the PDP.

“The electorate are tired of the two political parties in the state and on that, they are seeking an alternative party which is the SDP. We are looking for a situation whereby we can adopt a sole candidate and therefore, I have made myself available”, he said.

He explained that he has decided to make himself available again to serve the people of the state having learnt the rudiments and intrigues of politics in 2012 when he first made himself available.

He said that Edo is so endowed with a lot of natural resources and therefore it could not be said to be broke but what the state is suffering from, is poor leadership which has invariably led to corruption.

He said if elected, his government would redefine politics by creating two million jobs for the unemployed, build state of the art hospitals in each of the 18 local government areas of the state and also build the most talked about Gelegele Seaport in Ovia North East.

“I will build the Gelegele seaport and when that is built, it will automatically place Edo State into a shipping line”, he said.

Mr. Okonga reiterated that his own mission is to consolidate on the developmental stride of the current administration of the APC which has done well in the area of infrastructure, adding that he is not into the race to criticize the government of the day but to effect the needed change which has eluded the people for several decades.

Isidahomhen promises to rejuvenate economy

By Mark  Pippah

A Social Democratic Party (SDP), gubernatorial aspirant for the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, Mr. Idumonza Isidahomhen has promised to rejuvenate the economy of the state if voted as governor.

He told Daily Sun in an interview in Lagos that as governor, he would explore the abundant opportunities in the areas of agriculture, industrialisation and the location of the state as the gateway to all the South East and South South states to re-invent the economy of the state.

The governorship aspirant said it is unfortunate that present and previous administrations in the state have not been able to explore the  abundant economic potential of the state, adding that he was motivated to join the governorship race because of his conviction that he has the ability to move the state to the next level.

Isidahomen added that as governor, he would engender massive employment generation in agriculture, culture and tourism, and Information Communication Technology (ICT) sectors of the economy.

“When you talk of a productive economy, agriculture is the main issue in our productive initiative. We are going to have industrial estates and the area has already been mapped out. There is going to be large scale farming in Edo State, mechanized farming for that matter.

“Talking about reinventing the economy of Edo State, our administration is anchored on the administrative principle of tripartite governance – the government, the organised private sector and the NGO. When we say we are going to reinvent the economy of Edo State, the private sector has a huge role to play and even before we got involved in the governorship contest, we have already had productive discussions with leading multinationals.

“There is something that is unique in Edo State that clearly supports our productive economy initiative; that is the geographical location of Edo State. It is not a mere coincidence that Edo State is the gateway to eleven states in Nigeria. Edo is the gateway to the entire five states in the South-East. Edo is the gateway to the six states in the Niger-Delta – that is eleven states. That is a huge market for any investor,” he said.