As the crisis within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State continues to escalate, a lawmaker-elect in the state has vowed that Governor Godwin Obaseki “can never win re-election.”
The Edo governorship election is expected to take place in September this year.
The lawmaker-elect, Washington Osifo, told PREMIUM TIMES Friday that Mr Obaseki is fighting too many political battles and is losing the support of many APC leaders in the state.
Mr Osifo also accused Mr Obaseki of poor performance in governance. He said the governor lacks the capacity to run the government.
“Can’t you see even by yourself the difference between the development during the time of (Adams) Oshiomhole and so-called development during his (Obaseki) time?
“Do you need anybody to tell you that someone must have misled the people of Edo because they wanted him to be governor or that they must have misled the people of Edo to believe he was the one doing it (infrastructural development during Mr Oshiomhole’s administration)?
“In our time, we built the schools, what is known today as the red roof revolution. In our time, all the major streets in Benin and in Edo north, including the airport road, in our time it was quality job, not shoddy job. In our time, we brought about walkways and streetlights in Benin.
“If it took us less than two years to build a massive Iyamho university, what has Godwin been able to show to us even in the technical college, a school that was already existing, they are just doing renovation, he has not been able to finish and commission it?” Mr Osifo said.
Mr Osifo’s seat and that of 13 other lawmakers-elect were eventually declared vacant in December by the Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, who had accused them of refusing to “submit” themselves for inauguration.
Mr Osifo said social facilities have broken down in Benin because “we have a governor who doesn’t care about the social life of the people”.
“The city is in ruins, there’s no power anywhere at night and the whole place is dark,” he said.
He said Governor Obaseki’s style of leadership has led to exclusion and division among the political class in the state.
“There is no job, there is no cohesion in the party. There is no love among party members because the governor cannot guarantee that.
“Now, the time is coming for a second tenure, you say you want a second tenure and people are saying no, thank God for periodic election, we cannot condone this exclusion for another four years.
“When we were in government, traditional rulers were coming to Government House, (but) today no traditional ruler goes to the Government House because a circular was issued that none of them should come. Politicians did not go, traditional rulers did not go, but when elections are coming you send politicians to go and talk to traditional rulers to help you win election. How is that possible?
“I am sure you are aware that a house divided against itself will fall. Have you ever seen a place where a governor would support the declaration of the seats of his party members vacant, with just a few months to the primary and (general) election? Do you think these are right signals for a man who wants to contest election, not to talk of winning?
“He is fighting too many fronts. Do you fight when you are going into election or do you make peace when you are going into elections? When you are going into election, even your enemies you will go and beg and make peace because even from a madman one vote count.
“Politics is a game of number. And you cannot mobilise for yourself, you need party men to mobilise for you.
“APC will win Edo State, I am telling you Godwin will not win Edo State. If Godwin wants to win this election he must stop this division,” Mr Osifo said.
Governor Obaseki has, however, said he would win a second term, despite the opposition from the APC national chairman, Mr Oshiomhole and his supporters.
“The last time an incumbent ran for governorship in our party in the state, it was a consensus. It will happen again; we will all agree on consensus. Whether direct or indirect primary, you, the people, will vote. Our plan is on the election, not the primaries,” the governor said a few days ago while meeting with APC leaders in Eredo local government area.
“Comrade Oshiomhole came to me, asking that we join forces to fight and bring an end to the practice of godfatherism in the state. The partnership helped us in changing the narrative of development in the state. This led me into politics. I am into politics to better the lives of Edo people. We believed Oshiomhole and followed him to fight godfatherism.
“He said godfatherism is not good but today he is saying godfatherism is good. He said let the people lead but today he wants to lead the people, against their interest.
“Any politics that doesn’t benefit the majority of the people is bad politics. The resources we have in the state is to be used for the benefits of the people of Edo State, not a few politicians.”
“When they say I am a mosquito, I was never worried; I told them that mosquitoes can bite. The bite can cause malaria and if not well-treated, it can kill someone. Those bitten are already on life support but we pray they don’t die,” the governor said.