Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, challenged security agencies in the country to arrest any trouble maker in the September 19, Edo State governorship election, whether they are members of his APC or the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He also carpeted the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Salihu Lukman, over allegations that he (Oshiomhole ) was plotting to come back as National Chairman of the party.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that a total of 2,210,534 persons have been registered to vote in the election in Edo State.
This came as the PDP in Edo State and its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, took his ward to ward campaign to Edo Central Senatorial District, where the governor promised improved infrastructural development and security.
Oshiomhole, who briefed State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on the allegation made against by the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Lukman, said: “You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment; and in my case, I should use khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.”
Oshiomhole also accused Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of unilaterally appointing Lukman as the DG.
Charging security agencies to arrest anybody that foments trouble during the September 19 Edo governorship election, Oshiomhole said: “The outgoing governor is talking more about violence, you must have watched him on Channels television where he said he will meet violence for violence and we are saying no, there will be no violence. It will be like celebrating Christmas or you are going to do a plebiscite between MoU, which Edo people have now codenamed, Memorandum of Underdevelopment and a governor with a clear simple agenda which is the product of his brain.
“We have just found out that MoUs are only celebrated by consultants. They are not celebrated by real people.”
On his meeting with the president, he said: “I told Mr. President that all is needed is good security. If APC man commits an offence, arrest him; if a PDP man commits an offence, arrest him. Once one person is arrested from the APC and another person is arrested from PDP, if they are found involved in unlawful possession of firearms and they misused those firearms and they are arrested and prosecuted, the message is clear.”
On Lukman, Oshiomhole said: “What they don’t understand is that it is not the office of chairman that makes me who I am. It is my pedigree from my days as labourer in the textile industry to be the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of NLC.
“There is no village I go to that people do not know me and that is what I used to override the godfathers in Edo State for two consecutive terms and even got the governor elected through elections, no violence before becoming the national chairman.
“So, if you remove the office, it is like our president now, maybe I cannot compare myself to him, but it is like President Buhari by 2023, when his tenure would have elapsed as President but those who believe in him, in 2024 and beyond, any time they see him, that trust they have in him will always be there.
“He bonds with the people, that bond was not created by the fact that he is the president, in fact, he became the president because of that bond.
“So, it takes an empty brain to suggest that Oshiomhole wants to stage a come- back as the national chairman. For what? To go and do a resit?
“So, my attitude is not to reply to the noise and it is coming from somebody, who says he is an employee, an appointee of Progressives Governors Forum, it is just like the cowards that are using him are not able to come out.”
Meanwhile, INEC’s Director Voter Registration, Iro Gambo disclosed that 2,210,534 persons were registered to vote in the Edo governorship election when he presented the voters’ register to the 14 political parties that would participate in the election, yesterday at the INEC office.
He also revealed that out of the total number of voters, 1,159,325 are men while 1,052,209 are women.
Further analysis of the voters showed that Edo South Senatorial District has the highest number of registered voters with 1,281,414, followed by Edo North which has 564,122, while Edo Central senatorial district has the least with 364,998 voters.
On her part, INEC’s National Commissioner for Edo Bayelsa and Rivers states, May Agbamuche-Mbu said the presentation of the register to the parties was important to underscore transparency in the process adding that the election would be held under strict adherence of the NCDC guidelines on COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki, was at Ilushi, in Esan South East LGA of the state, where he visited the traditional rulers of Illushi and Ifeku communities, His Royal Highness (HRH) Sunny Eye and Anuka Peter respectively, to seek for their royal blessings ahead of the September 19, election.
He also promised to do more for the people.
Obaaseki, who was accompanied by his deputy and running mate, Mr. Philip Shaibu and members of the Edo PDP campaign team, assured the people that his administration will address the security challenge facing the people of the area.
Obaseki said: “I want to secure the lives and property of the people here. My administration has decided to build a Marine Police post to secure the area. We have also purchased gunboats which will be given to the police to secure the people.
“We have noticed that there are no internal roads and the area is ravaged by erosion, we will address the issues. We will also improve agriculture in the area and empower the youths.
”The Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation, EDOBEST, programme is reforming the educational system; Illushi and Ifeku communities will also benefit from the programme. We will ensure that youths of this area have the right skills to be independent and contribute efficiently to the state’s development.
”We have a lot to do for our people here; we care for our people. Before we leave office, we would develop a 30-year development plan for the area which will serve as a guide for successive governments.”