By Agene Akhere, Benin
Penultimate week ago, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) converged on the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin city on the occasion to celebrate Comrade Adams Oshiomhole 6th year anniversary as Governor of the state.
Rather than out pouring of encomium on the Comrade governor for having delivered on the dividends of democracy in Edo so far, Agene AKHERE in this report writes that, the event created an avenue for the party to attack President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.
The Samuel Ogbemudia stadium was filled to capacity. All routes to the venue had been condoned off by security agents to vehicular movement as early as 6 am in the morning
As typical of such political gatherings, banners of various inscription took over all available spaces on the walls, poles and even cars.
There was a massive presence of traditional rulers, elders of thought, market women, religious bodies, students bodies, professional organisations, members of the road transporters union and a host of other stakeholders.
There were people dressed in Aso-ebi and face caps to show solidarity with the Edo state governor on the success so far recorded just as popular local musicians from the three senatorial districts were on hand to provide entertainment.
The mood was electrifying and the atmosphere charged as soon as the governor and some of his guest arrived the stadium.
Typical of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, it was an opportunity to show his comradeships by doing a lap round the stadium waving his hands amidst cheers from the people.
As it would be discovered latter, the Comrade Governor did not spare the President on certain comments said to have been made by him on reclaiming Edo in 2015.
The roll call of invited guests was endless as who is who in the national leadership of the party was present, including two of the presidential aspirants of the party.
Straight to the business of the day, when speakers were called to make comments, surprisingly, the PDP-led federal government became the whipping boy in an event that ought to be show of stewardship of a government that had performed well in the last six years
The leadership of the APC without mincing words faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech and assurances on power, security, poverty reduction and other achievements in some key areas during his declaration for 2015 ambition in Abuja.
The party said the President ‘lied’ saying it was meant to deceive Nigerians.
The opposition leaders particularly expressed dismay that the Presidency could not mount a serious war against the Boko Haram insurgency because of the laughable state of the country’s armed forces who now flee to neighbouring countries on sighting the deadly Islamic sect in encounters in the North-eastern part of the nation.
A Chieftain of the APC, Chief Audu Ogbe was the first to draw blood when he spoke at the grand rally. Ogbe, who led other leaders of the party to the ceremony such as former Head of state Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, APC national leader Ahmed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s national chairman Chief John Ogidie Oyegun, governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, members of the national and state houses of assembly as well as other eminent leaders, also questioned the rationale behind the formation of a special forces to fight the Boko Haram onslaught threatening the polity.
According to him there is no force of law and constitutional backing the special force to empower them to adequately deal with the worsening security challenges in the country, stressing that the present ridicule facing the military was a product of “incompetence and corruption” of the present administration.
He said, “Now, yesterday (Monday) in Abuja we had a ceremony, the (President Goodluck Jonathan’s) declaration. We love our President, he is our President but we found it difficult to swallow a lot of what we heard yesterday. We were told that power supply is now better; we were told that poverty had been reduced by half. We were told that the railways have been restored and all roads are now fine and yet the World Bank said that in the next 15 to 20 years Nigeria will be the major contributor to world’s poverty”.
“That statement yesterday sounded to me like the funeral oration for the Nigeria military and it is a very sad thing because we know the Nigeria military before now was a much more powerful force”.
Ogbe pointed out that: “But the funniest thing yesterday (Monday) was that we acknowledge that we have to set up Special Forces to fight Boko Haram; special forces under which constitution do we have special forces and what law do we recognize the need for special forces when our own army, an army which has built a reputation for firm and discipline for fifty years is now running away as at the sight of Boko Haram insurgence. How did that happen? It was brought about by incompetence and corruption”.
“We are asking all of you to think; 2015 is near, think if you believe everything they say you may as well believe you can find ice block in the temple of hell. Let people speak the truth and not deceive us. Four weeks ago we were told that a truce had been broken between Boko Haram and Nigerian government, now we know it was one well packaged lie to deceive Nigerians because there was going to be a rally in Abuja. Be very careful; if people in government openly lie to you and openly ask you to support them you are digging your grave if you keep supporting them.
“This country has a great future; it will not get there on a chariot of lies. It will get there on the back of men like Adams Oshiomhole, Mohamadu Buahari and Atiku Abubakar, your legislators and this party called APC. Do not forget I was one time chairman of the PDP. I left there ten years ago because I told them then that they were turning that party into a mafia and not a political party and the result is what they are seeing now”.
According to the national leader of the party Ahmed Tinubu, said the President action shows that he care less for Nigerians
The APC leader said: “Jonathans says he is saving Nigerians lives but he was stepping on their blood and dancing on their graves by declaring yesterday, a wise president will stay in the villa and make the broadcast of his intention to run in the memory of those children, he is saying that he saying he will not step on their blood of anybody to be re-elected but he is dancing on their blood. On his watch, he will want to blackmail the opposing party, no leadership of any country will watch and allow any part of his territory being taking away by the so called insurgents.
“No leader will support any organisation that says we need no weapon to fight and their soldiers will be running away and you will round them up and say you want to kill them, did you give them weapon to fight? Mubi is the second largest city in Adamawa State if it has been taken by insurgents, then this president should resign if a military barrack that was equipped with our weapon to fight insurgents and if that barrack and the weapons were abandoned and they fled, you leave the weapons for who, for the insurgent and you say you don’t know about them on watch and you are declaring to run again? No, God forbid if you refuse to go, we will sweep you away, we are ready in Lagos, we are ready all over Nigeria. We have done it before, we will do it again, we will beat their tyranny, we will show them that the power of the people is greater than the power of their guns, they cannot enslave us any longer.
“Democratic power cannot be obtained like you go to fufu joint to get, you have to shine your eyes, you have to be ready with your cards, you have to sacrifice that day for your freedom because it is not going to be easy.”
“INEC is Siamese twins with the PDP and we will do surgery to separate them and as we are marching to bring progress to change Nigeria for our progress and our children, they are marching to rig election, they are trying to manipulate it but instead of blood transfusion, we will give them change transfusion.”
For the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal the forum provided an opportunity for him to explain to the people why he left the PDP. He said “we have accepted to join this movement for positive change in the way we do things in Nigeria for the simple fact that the system we have in place today is malfunctioning, the government at the centre has failed in several ways and when you have a system that is not working, you change that system for a better system that will deliver your objectives and the objective of this movement is to deliver power to Nigerians 24 hours seven days of the week, to deliver good roads, t deliver god services, to deliver quality education, to deliver security and to enhance the development of this country.
“What we have at the moment is by no means a government, what we have is a cabal that has hijacked the instrument of authority of the Nigerian people and we just do everything humanly possible come May 2015 to ensure that they are out of the villa and what we will have there will be a progressive government of the APC. When they came here last time, they addressed your sentiments that the man is from South-South, what do you the people of the South-South have to show for this presidency man is man here in the last four years, when he came, he rode on the sentiment of being a minority, what do the minorities of Nigeria have to show for the administration in the last four years? Don’t be deceived again, all of us have been deceived before when sentiments were raised that we need to have certain personalities in government but it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that sentiment does not produce good governance so all of us must agree that what we need in Nigeria is good governance and whoever can produce that should be the leader of this country not minding the part of the country he comes from.”
But for the celebrant, if anything was to worry about was the comment by the president when he was Edo state to attend the South-south rally of his party.
The President was quoted to have said that Edo and Rivers state which are currently on the strong hold of the APC will fall to the PDP in 2015 general election.
Apparently worried by that comment, Governor Adams Oshiomhole challenged President Jonathan to begin to count his loses in next year’s Presidential election in Edo, Rivers, Cross River and Delta states.
Oshhiomhole also warned that the opposition party leaders and members including concerned Nigerians were ready to resist with the last drop of their blood any attempt to use the military to rig 2015 polls and that Edo state would never fall to the PDP for whatever reasons having touched the peoples’ lives with massive road infrastructure, construction of new schools, provision of electricity and several basic areas of need.
Roll call of dignitaries present at the six-year anniversary rally included the Presidential aspirants of the APC, Mohammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Chief Rochas Okorocha. Also in attendance were former governor of Lagos and Ekiti, Asiwaju Tinubu and Olusegun Oni, former governor Timipriye Silva of Bayelsa state, the national chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun among others.