Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has accused the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state of intellectual laziness, saying the party’s Chairman, Mr Dan Orbih, only offers comic relief to people of the state.
Speaking on Tuesday when he received the new leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Mr. Anselm Ojezua in his office, Oshiomhole said Edo State government remains accountable and transparent and will not be deterred by the flimsy accusations of the opposition party.
He said: “I have read some comments in the newspapers which reveal the quality of leadership of the opposition.
“For example, when we took the N25 billion bond in 2010, I did explain and I repeated it at several fora that we are servicing the bond. We spend about N520 million every month to service the bond. How such servicing has become an issue only an illiterate will wonder that we took a bond and we are servicing it.
Somebody who is illiterate and so uninformed will see the issue of servicing a bond as something that is newsworthy. That is something that you don’t need to deny. You only need to explain to the public that you took a facility and that facility is not even enough to meet our obligation in Edo South which is the Benin City Water Storm master plan project which is a N30 billion project. The benefits of that project is already being felt in many parts of the city.
“I think what will make news is if we became so insolvent that we are not capable of servicing the bond. It is somebody who is so illiterate, who is so uninformed that will see the issue of debt servicing as news.”
The Governor who also spoke on allegations by the PDP that he spends about N40 million on trips said maybe the PDP Chairman, Mr Dan Orbih was speaking from the experience of former PDP Governors who misruled the state or that of other PDP Governors in other states.
He said: “when they go on they to say I spend N45 million on every trip, maybe that is the kind of thing they used to do when they were in government or that is what they do in other states where the PDP is in power or at the federal level. Obviously Edo state does not have such money.
“If there is any complaint, it is by the security agents who complain because when I’m travelling out of the country, I travel alone.
While congratulating the new executives of the AC in the state led by Mr. Anselm Ojezua, Oshiomhole advised them on the need to ensure that internal democracy thrives and not to commercialise the process of choosing members for elective positions.
He said: “let me congratulate you for your well-deserved appointment. No matter what anybody says, this is the best-organized election by any political party in recent history. We did not have to conduct the election with armed policemen and soldiers. It was an election that was peaceful and transparent.
Oshiomhole said “Issues of internal democracy have become major issues in political parties and decisions taken by political parties must not just be correct and how they are taken and who is involved in what decision has become an issue. I believe as individuals and collectively you have what it takes to meet the challenge of democracy.”
He said: “You are coming to office on the eve of party primaries and everything must be done not to commercialize the process and to give recognition to experience, to have candidates that the electorate are happy with. Everything must be done to remove extortion from our politics and ensure that those who fly the flag of our party are men and women of integrity.
“At a time when opposition in this state is so desperate spending huge sums of money to procure members, it’s the reason why we must scrutinize anyone who wants to fly the flag of this party in any future elections so that we avoid what we might call mercenary politicians.
“Let me say no matter what anybody says, Edo people have good memory. Our major opposition party the PDP, the last time they had their own congress, which they could not afford to conduct in the open, they had two parallel congresses. Thus they had two chairmen, two secretaries, two treasurers and two women leaders and indeed two complete exco.
“One was supervised by people nominated by the national secretary and the other was supervised under the tree. The people were hurriedly appointed because they could not have what it takes for democracy to strive. If the story we read about are correct, the one that was not supervised by the national body that was not monitored by INEC was the one that became the winner and is the one that is functioning in this state today”, he said.
Responding, the Chairman of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Party, APC , Mr. Anselm Ojezua expressed the gratitude of the exco to members of the APC for the confidence reposed in them in giving them the opportunity to serve.
“I want to assure you that we will do all in our power to deliver this confidence. We hope that in the shortest possible time, we shall present to you a party that is grounded on efficiency and confidence. We want to see that our party is more proactive to deliver the services to our members in such a manner that we can organise effectively to mobilise our members and supporters.
“We are mindful of the events of the recent past which have led to the exit of some of our members and this throws up more challenges before us to ensure in the course of our service, we have to learn from the lessons of our own elections which you have rightly expressed to be one of the best and most transparent in Edo State. We want to draw from the lessons of that experience to ensure that the process we are going to undertake in the course of the primaries in Edo State, in terms of transparency, in terms of fairness, in terms of justice and in terms of service delivery”, he said.