…As governor rules out inauguration of members- elect
By Dirisu Yakubu
National chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus has urged Edo state governor to put the past behind him by working with members of the State House of Assembly who have indicated interest to join him as he settles down for another fresh term in office.
Secondus stated this on Monday while playing host to Governor Obaseki who was at the party secretariat, Abuja on a thank you visit alongside the state deputy governor, Mr. Philip Shaibu.
Vanguard recalls that 10 lawmakers including Speaker, Francis Okiye who campaigned against Obaseki in the September 9 governorship election, visited him last week, with a pledge to work with him following his victory at the poll.
According to Secondus, forgiveness on the part of Obaseki will cement his legacy as a leader who stood with his people regardless of their political leanings at a point in time.
He said: “Your Excellency, my advise for you is that the election is over, the expectations are very high. You must now show the experience you came with from the private sector. In the political world, it is your ability to lead everyone together especially in this your last tenure.
“It is important to make sure that there there is peace in three arms of government – the executive which you head, even though you are the overall boss, make sure that the legislative arm, those who have offended you, who ran helter-skelter are brought back. They are your children. You are the father of Edo, bring them on board and work with all of them because that will be your legacy.
“It is not money or anything else but your ability to bring everybody on board to work with you. I am quite sure that Edo people are ready, even those from the other party, who are willing to come, let them come.”
In his remarks, Governor Obaseki thanked the leadership of the party for the role it played in his emergence as PDP flag bearer and his victory at the poll.
In a veiled jibe at the All Progressives Congress, APC, Obaseki said his acceptance by the PDP has given him the feeling of belonging to a political family for the first time.
He pledged to work harder in keeping Edo as a state under PDP, adding that the entire South-South would remain in the grip of the party for long.
“In our place, they say it is only the grateful person that expects more favours to be done him. For us as a people, we do not forget where we are coming from easily. We are a people of history and a people of culture.
“When we sit down today to savour the victory and glory which God has given us, we cannot forget how it all started; that it was in this same premises that you did all you could to admit me into the party after I had been disqualified from the other party.
“You helped smoothen our entrance into PDP, you cleared us in record time so that we could participate in the primaries of the party. You helped us navigate through the whole process in which the other aspirants stepped down for me to allow me contest as the flag bearer for the party.
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“What is significant for Nigerians to note is that all of these happened within the 90 days time frame. It is a record! It shows that you have men and women who are competent, professional, experienced and who mean well and understand what party administration is all about, to be able to put all these together in a national party, without the kind of rancour we would have ordinarily expected.
“We also recall with thanks the support you gave to us when we started campaigning. Our campaigns were different because no body in our political history has had to campaign in the kind of era that we are in today. Some people will like to take this for granted. How could you even organise a kick off rally with COVID-19? You gave us advise and support and showed Nigerians how to cope politically in a pandemic era.
“Working with your advice and strategy, we under took a ward to ward campaign and I thank God that we did because it was only then that we realised the spread of PDP in Edo state.
“Every hamlet, every community we went to, there were vestiges of PDP in which we could build on. As if that was not enough, the election itself, the preparations and what transpired on the 19th of September, the ability to mobilize the governors and for the first time in my political career, I felt I was in a political family. All of you are witnesses to what happened, the backing, the support, the doggedness which was displayed by our great party on the 19th of September. It is all history now, but it is important that we do not forget what transpired.
“Our gratitude will be better expressed by staying loyal, hardworking and by rebuilding and making sure that as long as God permits, PDP will remain the party in control in Edo state and the whole of the south south,” he said.
On the fate of 14 member-elect who had a protracted relationship with the governor, Obaseki said only the court would decide their fate.
“We have a dissident group that people elected and refused to be inaugurated, they were not prevented. They were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to re-issue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.
“For more than 180 days they did not come. They refused to represent the people. Those seats became vacant; that’s what the constitution says. They went to court after those were declared vacant by the Speaker. There is nothing I can do that at this time. I wish it didn’t happen but people were playing god and promising what is not constitutional.
“I’m not one that plant people into the House of Assembly. They on their own operated the rules the way it should be, the seats are now vacant.
“Even if I want today to bring them back, I don’t have such powers,” he added.
Obaseki was accompanied on the visit by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, former Works Minister, Mike Onolememen, PDP chairman in Edo state, Tony Aziegbemi amongst others.