As he reacts to victory in Monday’s Edo APC Primary Election.
Says let’ campaign in atmosphere of love and peace.
Well, I am naturally very happy and at the same time I’m humbled by the overwhelming support and endorsement I’ve received from the 18 local governments. I don’t take it lightly and I want to give all the glory to God who has made today possible. A lot of people were very apprehensive about whether this primary will actually hold today. May be it will hold, would it not be violent? That has been the prayer point by many of us and I am so elated that there was no incident of violence in the 192 wards. God took control and we were able to do the primaries without even violating the state government’s COVID-19 regulation. So, we want to thank God for making it possible. We thank the national leadership of the APC and of course, we also want to thank the committee that came for the primaries led by His Excellency, Chief Hope Uzodinma. They have done a great job. Most of their members have been in Benin in the past few days and they put in a lot of efforts to make it work.
Let me also thank those who contested with me – my senior brother, Dr. Pius Odubu, a man that I have tremendous respect for. I want to appreciate him; I want to thank him for his magnanimity, and I want to assure him that we will certainly work together. I also want to thank Honourable Osaro Obazee, a very vibrant young man, and a man who also aspired. He’s a leader of note; I also want to appreciate him and to assure him that I would also continue to reach out to him. All the leaders of APC in the 192 wards, for me, this is the time to fully unite the party. Sometime ago, somebody had asked me a question; he said the problem in APC, when do you think it will end. And I told them that every problem has an expiry date. And in my own humble opinion, the day we complete our primaries, that day the problem will end.
So, I believe that by this process which we have just completed, the party is now on the path of full recovery. We are going to talk to everybody; we are going to bring everybody back. And let me also say too that I want to salute my brother the governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. I will like to appeal to him to return to the party. In every family, you have disagreements. Let it not be said that it was this disagreement that pushed him out. I made that mistake before and I’ve come to realize that it was a grievous error; and I would not want him as a senior brother, to make the same mistake. So, I will like to appeal to him to set aside his anger and to come back. In APC, he’s recognized as a leader; but a new party you are going to, it will be difficult for them to accept you as a leader. So, it might be nice for him to come back. But certainly, we are ready to work with him and all well-meaning Edo people. We believe that it’s time we bring peace to our state.
The atmosphere in our state has been so tense in the past few months and it was unnecessary. That hostile atmosphere more or less put a stop to governance. But we are hoping that now that we have concluded our primaries, even though we are also going to start campaigns, let’s do it in an atmosphere of love and peace. Let’s speak on issues rather than personalities; let’s do it in a manner that will not jeopardize the lives of our people. We have shown the example today in APC. The government passed a law that many people thought was inimical to our primaries but we were able to still manage to do the primaries.
Of course you know that the turn-out would have been a lot higher, but we even had to beg many, particularly the elderly not to bother coming out because we wanted as much as possible not to exceed the number and we had to manage it by staggering those who were coming. So, we are determined to be law-abiding, and we call on all our members and even those in other political parties that the few months that we have to campaign, let’s do it in a very peaceful manner. The situation if challenging; with COVID-19, it means that we cannot afford to do things the way we normally do them. So, let’s please try to be civil; let’s try to understand that if we truly want to serve our people, there is no need for desperation.
I am pledging on behalf of my party, that we will be peaceful, we’ll be respectful and whatever we intend to do, will be in the best interest of our state. We thank all our people and especially we want to pay respect to our traditional rulers, our father, His Majesty, the Oba of Benin, we want to salute him and thank him for the role that he has always played in ensuring peace. And of course we cannot always fail to thank Mr. President. If he had not created the atmosphere for today, it would have been impossible for us to do this primary. We thank the Inspector-General of Police, we thank the DG, SSS and we also thank their representatives here, the commissioner of police, Edo State, the director of SSS for the professionalism they exhibited in ensuring that there was no violence.
They were all over the place; they monitored it and we are grateful to them. We want to thank the Independent National Electoral Commission, for monitoring the exercise. They monitored the exercise all over the place and they were quite satisfied with what we did. And we are happy that no less a person than the REC himself and representatives from Abuja also came here just now to witness the final collation. I want to thank all of you all gentlemen of the press. Please see me as a friend; let’s work together. I promise you, I will be very accessible. We are all working to ensure that our state is better and that is my goal. Please don’t see me as somebody that is far-off. Let us work together to make our state better. Our slogan is ‘We must move Edo State forward’.