Tuesday, 19 November 2019

WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE BY MEMBERS, LEADERS AND CRITICAL STAKEHOLDERS OF THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS, EDO STATE CHAPTER.



Party Leaders,
Members of our Great Party, APC,
Distinguished Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are gathered here as members, leaders and critical Stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress APCEdo State to address Edo people and the entire nation on issues that have been bedeviling the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Godwin Obaseki led administration in Edo State since the last three years.

THE STATE OF APC IN EDO STATE
It is important to note that the running of the party in Edo State by Barr. Anslem Ojezua has left much to be desired, a situation which was almost decimating the Strength of the party until we came in as a rescue team.

The inability of Barr. Anslem Ojezua to run an all inclusive party (the APC) in Edo State was gradually creating hopelessness among party members over issues that could have been amicably resolved, led to a situation that would have resulted in mass exodus of members from the party. Ojezua is not known to have been able to settle any party dispute no matter how minor, thus making his continuous stay in office as State Chairman a clear and present danger to the cohesion of the Party and therefore unacceptable to the majority of members.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is important to state that ​ Barrister Anslem Ojezua has been involved in a number of constitutional breaches and gross misconduct ranging from illegal and unilateral suspension of the State Secretary and other legally elected officers of the Party, causing division in the Party by taking sides in Party disputes, failure to be accountable to Party, failure to improve the fortunes of the party in his immediate Local Government Area and Senatorial district as he has serially been a loser in all elections, disrespect and disregard for National leadership of the Party, conspiracy in the execution of an illegal inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly and many more acts of misconduct.
Consequently, as loyal party members and leaders we decided to find a voice for the teaming members who have been alienated and wrongly treated by Anslem Ojezua and his collaborators in Government and this led to the formation of our group with which we have been engaging the party and government in the last six months. Thus , our group was a necessary appropriate response to the drift in the party as led by Anslem Ojezua, who rather than being Chairman of the Party became a misadviser of the government, a contractor handling several SUBEB Projects in the State, and thereby compromised his integrity and neutrality in party matters.
We are happy to state unequivocally that in spite of the resistance of Barr. Anslem Ojezua and the government he has been misleading on party matters we have been able to galvanize the majority of the APC members in Edo State to keep faith within the party. We have also been able to attract other members of the opposition in their numbers to the APC as we shall witness shortly.
In the light of the above positive development the leadership and membership of of our group have resolved to continue as authentic APC members to further galvanize our members towards actualising our next cardinal objective of producing a candidate that will deliver on the party programs and ensure the United party capable managing all the tendency within the party. Henceforth, we shall continue as critical stakeholders, members and leaders of our great party in pursuance of our party’s objectives of providing sustainable development for our dear state through a leadership that is responsive, responsible, accountable and people oriented particularly as we approach the 2020 Governorship elections.

We therefore wish to notify the National Working Committee of the Party that the State of the Edo APC at the moment is critical and requires urgent and responsible steps to ensure cohesion, particularly as the State Chairman has failed to manage the party responsibly.
Consequently, we hereby endorse the recent removal of Anslem Ojezua by members of the State Executive Committee of the party and urged the National Working Committee to urgently ratify the removal to pave way for the full restoration of peace and discipline in the party.

THE APC AND EDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY DEBACLE:
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is no longer news that Edo State is the only State in the Federation that is running an unconstitutional contraption call “ a House of Assembly”. You all will recall, that Governor Goodwin Obaseki in criminal conspiracy with Barr. Anslem Ojezua and Deputy Governor Philip Shuaibu abducted at gun point four members – elect and cause the Edo State House of Assembly to be inaugurated at 9:30pm on June 17th 2019 with 9 members out of the total number of 24 elected members. By their action, the Governor and his co-conspirators foisted on Edo people a minority rule contrary to Section 91 of the 1999 Constitution in the Edo State House of Assembly and well-meaning Nigerians including Traditional Rulers have intervened to no avail. The Obaseki led government have refused to reverse the wrong by complying with National Assembly resolutions on the matter, but instead have resorted to more desperate tactics of procuring black market injunctions and rulings to perpetuate the illegality. In the face of this wanton disregard for law and order, the lives of the other elected members have continued to be in jeopardy owing to attacks on their persons and followers. Indeed, Anslem Ojezua have continued to preside over their illegal suspension from the party in their various LGAs. This is unacceptable to Edo People and the generality of APC members in Edo State and we are concerned that Anslem Ojezua and the Governor have continued to be stumbling blocks to the restoration of the rule of Law in the constitution of the Edo State House of Assembly. We condemn therefore in strong terms their actions and complicity in this matter and demand that the right thing be done.

THREE YEARS OF GODWIN OBASEKI ADMINISTRATION
The Obaseki administration turned three years in office as at 12th November, 2019. You will all recall that the Governor was the Chairman of the State Economic and Strategy Team and the State Internally Generated Revenue Committee during the 8 years administration of former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, now National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress.
It is on record that under Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the APC (which metamorphosed from AC to ACN and then to APC) became a brand and metaphor for both human and infrastructural development in Edo State with Several major quality legacy projects like the Benin Storm water project, the Queen Ede and Auchi Erosion Control Projects , over a thousand kilometers of quality roads across the length and breadth of Edo State, Edo State Urban Renewal Projects, Education transformation Programme (Codenamed as the Red roof Revolution) in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions, the Comrade buses for transportation and very many more too numerous to mention.
It was on the basis of this sterling performance that the need to install a government that will continue with these laudable achievements that led to the emergence of Godwin Obaseki as the Party’s candidate in 2016 having been part of the administration as both member of the cabinet and commission earning consultant on financial matters. He was neither a voter in Edo State nor a card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (the APC). He was expected to build on the Legacy of the administration on whose back he rode to power. However, it is noteworthy, that other than the opportunity offered him to serve in Oshiomohole’s administration, he had no prior personal connection with the development of the State through any charitable work or investment in any form. Thus ,he rode to stardom on the back and goodwill of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and providence. He was certainly not the best at that material time.
However, upon assumption of office he began to manifest hostile attitude towards APC rank and file members, hatred for those who contested the party primaries with him and disdain for the State development master plan which he participated in formulating under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; he also deviated sharply from the progressive programmes and policies of the party, introduced selfish and uneconomical programmes and policies which has resulted in huge capital flight,he shut down educational institutions which were set up to improve the Agricultural , health and Educational sectors of the state Economy and instead replaced them with consultants of doubtful qualifications. In fact , the consultants he hired for training of teachers were paid N1.5 million per teacher. Today ,we have the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi closed, the Tayo Akpata University, Ekiadolor locked up and staff members and students left to idle away. The continuous closure of the functional College of Education in Igueben, Michael Imodu College of Physical Education Afuze and the College of Agriculture Technology Agenebode and the state school of nursing bears testimony to his insensitivity in building institutions, yet he is a technocrat.
The folly of Governor Godwin Obaseki reached its climax with the over N2B investments in the Sobe farms, In Sobe, Owan West Local government of Edo State the farm became a drainpipe to siphon the scarce resources of the Edo people into the pockets of his cronies and surrogates in the guise of Agric vendors from Lagos and Port Harcourt. Today, the impact of that investment on both the State economy and food security for Edo people cannot be determined.

Apart from that, there was also the CBN Agricultural Credit Scheme( CACS) of N5B which came into Edo State coffers in 2018.As a CBN loan, it was meant to assist farmers increase their yields in the State .Part of it was to be used for clearing farmlands while the balance was to be given to farmers in clusters as loans supervised by the state government for increase in agricultural produce in the State. The Obaseki Government need to show Edo people the land that it cleared with N2.8B it earmarked for that purpose , publish the names, numbers and location of farmers to whom the balance of N2.2B was shared to. This is a loan which the state government is paying back monthly with deductions being made at source from the Federation account.
We demand that Governor Godwin Obaseki comes out clean on the millions of naira Edo State investment in the Ossiomo Power Project, and the ownership structure of the project.
The APC in Edo State is saddened by the recent flooding associated with the heavy down pours in the last raining season. This arose due to the neglect by Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Benin Storm water project which was started by Comrade Adams Oshiomole. His failure to commence the second phase of the Storm Water project came at a great cost to the residents of Benin-City as houses were submerged by flood.
More scandalous is the verifiable fact that not a single teacher has been employed in the last three years with the result that many schools (primary and secondary) have no adequate number of teachers to teach the necessary subjects to pupils and students. Many of the teachers have retired from service, thus resulting in the shortage of teaching personnel in Edo schools which has adversely affected the quality and standard of education in the State, yet, this was a Governor who procured from NUT the award of best Governor in Education in Nigeria. What an Irony?
In furtherance of the plundering of the educational sector, Governor Godwin Obaseki has criminally diverted the sum of N1.4 Billion Naira from the Statutory Allocation of the Edo State Oil Gas Development funds (EDOSOPADEC) - a statutory commission with clear mandate to initiate and execute developmental projects in Oil producing areas in favour of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) - another statutory agency of Government with its own mandate and budget without any valid legislative approval.
This is apart from the plundering of Local Government funds and revenues in various guises, using the mandatory signatory of the State Accountant General and each serving council Chairman to move various sums meant for the development of the Local Government Areas to various accounts of the State Governments. This was authenticated by the Chairman of the Commission Pastor Kennedy Osifo and is already a subject of investigation by EFCC and ICPC. We hereby use this medium to call on both EFCC and ICPC to expedite investigations on these various acts of financial impropriety.
The APC, Edo State wish to demand from the Governor, to publicly account for all revenues he has received from all sources so that Edo people can 5decide whether his so called performance can reasonably be measured against actual receipts. It is on record that apart from Statutory Allocations and Internally Generated Revenues, the Governor has received, on behalf of Edo people, funds from the Paris Club refund, repayment by Federal government on road projects constructed in Edo State by his predecessor, the loans he has borrowed so far which has made Edo state the second highest indebted state ( debt profile of $277.74m) in the Country and several other receipts into the coffers of Edo state. In this way, Edo people will appreciate the hypocrisy of the Governor and the tokenistic performance which he has shored up by means of propaganda.

In the health sector, Governor Obaseki has shamelessly sought to blackmail his predecessor over the state and condition of the Edo Specialist Hospital which was built and equipped before he assumed office as Governor. However, in his imaginary fight against godfatherism he attempted to manipulate the House of Assembly and erstwhile Commissioner of Health into indict Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over that commendable health project. Unfortunately both the House under the leadership of Kabiru Adjoto, who investigated the project and the Ministry of Health confirm that the hospital was indeed built and equipped in accordance with the terms of the award. As we speak, Governor Obaseki has given the hospital to non-Edo indigene who now charges exorbitant fees, way beyond what the average Edo person can afford thereby defeating the objective of providing affordable and quality health care to Edo people. Efforts by civil society groups in Edo State to ascertain the true status of the hospital was met with attacks by state sponsored thugs who beat up journalists and members of the civil societies during a peaceful protest.
Sadly, the Governor manifested his crass incompetence in governance when after almost three years in office he visited Stella Obansanjo hospital and lamented that he never knew the hospital was in such a bad shape. Meanwhile, he has been in government for 11 years in Edo state. It is on record that Comrade Oshiomhole equipped the Eye Centre at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, and Governor Obaseki was at the commissioning of the Centre, which has been adjudged one of the best in the South-South. What a hypocrite!

In the area of road construction, Obaseki has woefully disgraced the APC by constructing substandard road projects. It is unthinkable that a man who served in Oshiomhole’s government which constructed quality road projects across the state will be engaged in substandard projects even with World Bank loans that generations yet unborn will have to pay back. Regrettably, these roads are what have earned him the sobriquet “wake and see” instead of “wake and sleep”. We apologize to Edo state people over this scam.
As at date, Governor Obaseki has executed over 100 MoUs under the pretense of bringing different investment to Edo State. However, none of these has materialized despite the huge resources spent on them and in view of the fact that these investments agreements are shrouded in secrecy. Indeed, as we speak, Governor Obaseki in connivance with his Lagos Cabal of capitalist and bank executives have sold off Edo Share in the Azura Power Plant without due process or legislative imprimatur. What a way to divest a States interest in an investment attracted to the state by his predecessor!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we can go on and on to list the missteps and maladministration of the Governor in complete deviation from the APC policies, programmes and developments paradigm instituted by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. As if his mis-governance is not enough, Governor Obaseki on the Counsel of Barr. Anslem Ojezua, the state Deputy Governor, the SSG and other sycophants has launched a war of attrition against members of All Progressive Congress (APC) beginning from the National Chairman to leaders and members of the party in every local government in the state. He has demonized the party members and called them thieves and greedy politicians whereas, he has increased his security vote to six billion N6B per annum (N500 million monthly) in a state where crimes and state sponsored criminal elements are on the upsurge.
We as a party cannot continue to condone this subversive approach to governance in a state that hitherto enjoyed some degree of tranquility and political stability.
We hereby apologize to Edo people for the mistake that the party made in 2016 and shall correct the wrong in the 2020 gubernatorial primaries. We appreciate the absence of human face of the Governor Obaseki administration through his draconian policies of sending traders and market women to priso
His intolerance for opposing views which has become legendary has driven him and his coterie of fearful advisers including Anslem Ojezua into desperate mode all in a bid to silence all voices of dissent attacks. We cannot be cowed as our commitment to rescuing the party and Edo people from his tyrannical hold remains unwavering.

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED ATTACKS BY OBASEKI’S GOVERNMENT
For the first time in Edo State we are witnessing a Government that recruit thugs to attack openly political opponents and voices of dissent. On the 9th of May, 2017, Chief Blessing Agbonmhere, a PDP candidate for 2019 National Assembly elections was attacked and assaulted at the Benin airport by thugs deployed for such a despicable act by the Deputy Governor.
Senator Mathew Urhoghide was attacked by Government sponsored thugs on the 26th of July, 2018 in the full glare of Governor Obaseki who rather than condemn same, thumbs up for the perpetrators.
On the 18th of June 2018, State empowered thugs ably guided by “Wabaizigan”, private security outfit of the Governor headed by the CSP to the Governor invaded Golden Tulip Hotel and beat up House of Assembly members-elect who were denied inauguration.
On the 12th of October 2019, thugs loyal to the Governor attacked the house of the Former Governor and National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole in Benin.
At different occasions, the Obaseki led administration have recruited thugs to attack Party members and Support group Ikpoba/Okha, Uhunmwode ,Owan East, Etsako West, Etsako Central, Igueben, Ovia North East and other places. The administration has stooped so low to the extent of organizing thugs to the 1st Convocation Ceremony of the Edo University, Iyamho which provoked the unfortunate incident of denial of access into the Country home of the National Chairman of APC by angry youths of some dignitaries.
Governor Obaseki intolerance has driven him into becoming a dictator,fascist with autocratic tendencies which also evidenced by the bizarre manner he truncated the condor primaries for the National and State Assembly primaries in Edo State in September 2018.

PURPORTED ENDORSEMENT OF GOVERNOR OBASEKI AND SHUAIBU/ ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES
Only recently the former State Chairman of the party , Anslem Ojezua led a few party leaders to endorse Governor Obaseki and his deputy for a second term at a fee of N100, 000 each to all those who attended the ill-fated meeting. For us as the authentic APC stakeholders in Edo state we wholeheartedly denounce such endorsement. From his antecedents Governor Obaseki does not deserve such endorsement and we hereby dissociate ourselves from it. We wish to state that at the appropriate time the APC National Working Committee will initiate the process of party primaries for the selection of the party’s gubernatorial candidate. We will abide by the guidelines for such primaries as the constitution of the party vests the responsibility of conducting primaries on the NWC. Governor Obaseki should note that no amount of intimidation or harassment will stop all those who are interested in the governorship of the state from contesting and we are prepared to give every aspirant equal opportunity to test their popularity. We will resist any attempt by the Governor to close the political space.
Governor Obaseki, His Deputy,Phillip Shuaibu, Anslem Ojezua And Osarodion Ogie(SSG) from available information from top Leaders of the PDP have concluded plans to defect from the APC and seek re-election on that platform. As part of the negotiations the Governor has agreed to pay to the opposition party the sum of SIX BILLION Naira out of which some leaders of the party ( PDP) has received from him the sum of THREE BILLION Naira . The balance is to be paid as soon as the Governor secures the party’s ticket or formally defect as he is likely to do in the few weeks. In fact , this is why the rumblings in the PDP leading to the suspension of those leaders involved by a group known as the integrity group in the PDP
It is therefore not surprising that the Governor is working tirelessly to destroy the APC in the state .
Consequently, we hereby SUSPEND Governor Godwin Obaseki, Hon Phillip Shuaibu and Barr. Osarodion Ogie from the the for anti party activities and urge the National Working Committee to set the machinery in motion for further disciplinary action against them .We wish to inform all our party members in Edo State not to give in to the antics of Obaseki and his handlers as their intention is to railroad them out of the ruling party into opposition Given the numerous anti-party activities that the Governor, his Deputy and his appointees have been involved in , it is certain that their agenda is to use Government resources to decimate the Party and move to other platforms. We shall remain vigilant in order to protect our party

CONCLUSION
Suffice to say that our concerns and agitations in the last few months are not and were never about stomach infrastructure or a quest for compensation from State resources. It was never about a god-father and a god-son struggle for the control of Government or resources of the State.
It has been about ensuring a good governance with a human face and our resolve is to check the destructive path approach to governance in Edo state and put our party on the path of moral rectitude, transparency, inclusion and the progressive agenda of the APC in Edo State.
This struggle has been about a Governor who lacks interpersonal relationship skill, who is vindictive and repelled by the presence of his party members and without provocation, resorts to anger and pugnacious display of raw power. This is about a governor who has not shown any iota of appreciation for all efforts and sacrifices of his Party members across the state. This is about a Governor who has failed to fulfil his electoral promises to the people of Edo State and who has refused to listen to the voice of reasoning irrespective of where those voices are coming from. This is a Governor who has neglected to employ the tool of dialogue, consultation, negotiation and compromise which are necessary ingredients for proper administration. This is a Governor who believes in all ramifications that he is above the people. This is about a Governor who has suddenly become tyrant! In the history of our dear state and country this is the first time a serving Governor is openly applying for a banking license for his company which was near liquidation at the time of taking over the reins of governance in Edo State. We cannot fold our arms and watch helplessly.
With the above traits , it is obvious that this Governor was never really psychologically and emotionally prepared to be a Lead. In a politically vibrant state like ours with the abundance of quality and talented political leaders in all spheres of human endeavor, there can be no stopping of opposition to these insidious and unacceptable behaviour by a political leader.
We wish to therefore restate our commitment, our unalloyed loyalty to the National Leadership of the All Progressive Congress, and we pledge to do everything humanly possible to protect it from those who are bent on destroying it after they have used it to ascend to political leadership.

Long Live All Progressives Congress!
Long Live Edo State!!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

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