The presidency said yesterday that it has no partisan interest in the forthcoming governorship election Edo State billed for September 19.
According to it, the repeated sentiments displayed by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over a recent video clip is a complete waste of time.
The PDP, in the last few days, had been holding several press briefings over a video clip showing the chief of staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, chatting with former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, along a walkway in the presidential villa.
In one of its press conferences, PDP’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus called on the United Nation (UN), the European Union (EU) and other international bodies to place visa restriction on Gambari, Oshiomhole, and other individuals as punishment for allegedly plotting to truncate democracy and good governance in Nigeria.
But a top presidency source told State House correspondents that the opposition party made a mistake by trying to malign the person of the president’s chief of staff, stressing that all the efforts directed at discrediting Gambari have failed in the face of his solid credibility.
The source who did not want his name in print said the chief of staff was only doing his job of leading the former APC national chairman to meet with the president.
The villa source further added that Oshiomhole had repeated what he said in the video at a press briefing after meeting with the president.
It would be recalled that Oshiomhole, while briefing State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari, explained that he came to plead with the President to ensure security for the upcoming Edo State governorship election, citing threats of violence by PDP.
The presidency source, however, wondered why the PDP decided to mudsling with “an incomplete information”, saying no one knew how the conversation started or how it ended.
The source added: “What PDP is doing is called ‘playing the devil’s card’, which is all about suggesting ideas into people’s heads, the truth does not matter in such an atmosphere. What I am convinced of is that even the leaders of the PDP know that what they are doing is wicked and unethical, but since it is politics, they believe anything goes.
“How do you know the ‘arrest’ in the conversation is for PDP elements? The target in this mudslinging is the chief of staff to the President, but their mistake is that this is not a man for this sort of politics. He is way above petty politicking. He is a career diplomat and hardly interested in this kind of politics, those who know him, know this much about him”.
APC Begins Reconciliation In Niger, Imo, Ogun
Meanwhile, as part of measures to fortify its structure ahead of 2023 general elections, the ruling APC has commenced moves to reconcile aggrieved members in Niger, Imo and Ogun States.
Caretaker committee chairman of the APC and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala-Buni, started the process by inaugurating a reconciliation committee made up of governors at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja over the weekend.
The reconciliation committee chaired by Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru, also has Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Simon Lalong of Plateau and Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe as members.
Chairman of the APC caretaker committee expressed confidence in the committee’s capacity to execute the assignment with a sense of fairness, justice and responsibility, noting that they will place party interest above personal interest.
He said, “The ongoing reconciliatory initiatives of the All Progressives Congress will soon shake Nigeria’s political space with massive return of former members who felt aggrieved and unwillingly went to other political parties.
“Therefore, it is in the spirit of the ongoing reconciliation that the chairmen and members of the Imo and Ogun reconciliation committees were carefully selected to reconcile aggrieved members and groups within the party.
“You are enjoined to be guided by the terms of reference as contained in your letters of appointment,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the committee, Governor Badaru, while thanking the party leadership for giving members of his team an opportunity to serve the party, assured that the committee would make aggrieved members see the need for the reconciliation.
He said, “Strengthening and making the party strong is more important than individual interest and I’m sure they will see that, and they will agree to come to table and resolve all differences.
“And then we will have one single party that is committed and dedicated to fight for the people and continue to help people of Imo and Ogun States”.
In a related development, APC stakeholders in Niger State, comprising founding members, met in the state capital to interface on how to save the party from implosion.
The party leaders who met over the weekend in Minna, the state capital, blamed the crisis rocking the party on the antics of those they described as being desperate to achieve political ambitions in 2023.
Speaking at the meeting, Niger State APC chairman, Engineer Mohammad Jibrin Imam, said the allegations made against the party executive members are unfounded.
“The plan by some people is to ensure they do away with me to actualise their dreams of 2023 ambition,” Imam noted.
He noted that the state executive under his leadership remained the recognised body by the APC national secretariat in light of article 20 of the party’s constitution on the election of officials through congress or convention.
The Founding Fathers Forum chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Katcha, however declared the support of stakeholders for the party state executive led by Engineer Imam.
Secretary of the forum, Barrister Yusuf Lakpeni read a nine-point resolution of the meeting including “that Niger State APC as the ruling party in the state should work assiduously to retain power in 2023 and that party supremacy should be respected.”
We’ll Partner Azura Plant On Power Saupply – Ize-Iyamu
Meanwhile, the APC candidate in the Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has promised to partner with Azura Edo Plant and others in the energy sector to improve power supply in the state as part of his strategic plan to embark on jobs/wealth creation for citizens of the state.
Ize-Iyamu said the state requires regular power supply in order to achieve his agenda for industrialisation.
He said, “A strong and prosperous Edo State will depend on a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector that can create competitive advantages in the midst of rapid technological change and globalisation of markets, production and innovation. Manufacturing is an antidote for unemployment, a creator of wealth and a harbinger of sustainable development.
“The primary objective of the industrialisation programme of government will be to accelerate the pace of industrial development in the state by leveraging private financing through Public-Private-Partnership. In doing this, we need regular power supply in the state’’.
Azura Edo Plant, which is located in Benin City, is the country’s largest Independent Power Plant (IPP) and the first fully financed private power plant in Nigeria.
The plant currently produces 450 megawatts of electricity but in the long run, the plant is expected to produce 1,500 megawatts.
In a press statement by his campaign organization, the governorship hopeful explained that his desire to partner with
Azura and other interested investors in the energy sector, is predicated on the fact that energy plays a huge role in the economic development, poverty reduction and security of any state or nation.
Ize-Iyamu added: “Uninterrupted power supply is vital for economic growth and any nation that is desires to create jobs and wealth will crucially depend on the long-term availability of power from sources that are reasonably priced and available.
“Energy is a critical factor in all the sectors of any country’s economy. Energy supports the delivery of basic needs such as cooked food, relaxed living temperature, lighting, piped born water, essential health care, educational aids and other social amenities.
“Regular power supply also fuels productive activities including agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, industry, and mining. And lack of power supply contributes to poverty and can contribute to the economic decline”.
The APC governorship candidate said that the Edo State government under his leadership will embark on wealth creation for citizens of the state through the uncommon embrace of the public private partnership paradigm to bring about economic prosperity in various sectors of the state’s economy.
He added that a robust and wealthy Edo State will largely depend on a vibrant and growing manufacturing sector that can create competitive advantages in the midst of rapid technological change and globalisation of markets, production and innovation, saying manufacturing is a remedial for unemployment, a creator of wealth and a harbinger of sustainable development.
Ize-Iyamu further explained that the primary objective of the industrialisation program of his government will be to speed up the pace of industrial development in the state by leveraging private financing through Public-Private-Partnership.
He continued: “In doing this, the focus will be to re-examine the state existing public and private industries with a view to resuscitating their activities, ensuring profitable operations and increasing employment opportunities. Establish one functional industrial park in each Senatorial District; establish an Export Processing Zone as an industrial and commercial hub.
“Mentor the local government to establish an industrial cluster in their jurisdiction; to stimulate the growth and development of a culture of industrial production and entrepreneurship in the state.
“We intend through PPP to establish a refinery in Ikpoba-Okha because of the oil fields in that locality and its proximity to Koko Port. We also intend through the same PPP to establish a gas plant at Oben in Orhiomwon because of the abundant gas in that area”.
He promised to work with the Edo State Chambers of Commerce and Industry to provide support, information, business start-ups and growth capacity enhancement programmes across the three senatorial districts.
“Our government will partner with stakeholders, banks and financial institutions to resuscitate and revamp the state owned industries including, the Fertilizer plant, Auchi; Cassavita Industry, Uromi; Ava Cement Factory, Akoko-Edo; Fruit Juice Factory, Ehor; Bendel Brewery, Benin and Ewu Flour Mill to mention but a few’’, Ize-Iyamu stated.
The aspirant estimated that the policy would create additional 3000 direct jobs and sustain over 5,000 related jobs in the state’s economy.
APC Wins Ondo Council Polls
The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC) yesterday declared results of local government elections held across the state on Saturday.
Out of 18 local governments, APC won the chairmanship seats of 14 local government areas as announced by the chairman of the commission, Prof Yomi Dinakin as at press time.
Declaring the election results yesterday, Prof Dinakin said there was no contest in five local governments.
Dinakin who declared APC candidates winner of the elections in the five local government areas maintained that it was in line with provisions of the Electoral Act.
The chairman noted that he acted within the law which states that where there is no contestation, any candidate validly nominated should be declared the winner.
The five local government areas are Akoko North-East, Ose, Ifedore, Odigbo, and Irele.
Other local governments where the APC won are Ese-Odo, Akoko South East, Akure South, Ilaje, ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, Okitipupa, Ondo West, Owo and Akure North.
Local governments where results were being expected at press time are Akoko North West, Idanre Akoko South West, and Ondo East.
The ODIEC chairman however said the results of the remaining four local governments would be announced later after which certificates of return would be presented to the winners.