Benin City, capital of Edo State was a carnival-like yesterday as the All Progressives Congress (APC) was launched in the state.
It was an occasion that also marked the fifth year anniversary of the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Roads leading to the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia stadium venue of the launch wore new looks as banners from different associations adorned the streets and the stadium.
Youth, women, students and several organisations were at the stadium to grace the occasion.
The crowd gave their affirmative support that the state was in support of the APC after a question was put to them by APC leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
First Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John Oyegun Oyegun said God has planted a grenade in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that the grenade is separating the sheep from the goats in PDP.
Chief Oyegun warned that the battle for 2015 would not be easy even if the G-7 governors joined the APC.
According to him, “The battle ahead of us is not an easy one. We must be ready for every possible eventuality. The PDP will not surrender power. The APC must seize power. That can be achieved by all of us. The mobilisation must start today for us to seize power. We must make it expensive for anybody to attempt to rig the 2015 election. The APC is a serious party.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief Tom Ikimi said the people of the state are determined not to go back to what the state was 10 years ago.
He said “The PDP is dead and buried. It is finished. It is dead, in Edo, Kwara, SOkoto, Kano and all over Nigeria . Arising from the ashes of the burial of PDP is the APC.”
Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri, predicted that the APC was destined to rule the country.
Former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said the APC was out to solve economic and security problems of the country.
“We know the difference for five years now in Edo state. We are happy that the governor is coming along with the APC. The APC would ensure peace and stop terrorism and reconstruct the infrastructure for Nigerians to enjoy. It is important for you to pass the message to others that APC is determined to take over in 2015 and manage the country effectively. Nobody will ensure that the votes count excepts you”.
Tinubu hailed the people for snatching victory from ‘election thieves.’ And congratulated Oshiomhole for making the people the cornerstone of his developmental policies.
He described Edo as the state on a shinning hill that brightens Nigeria saying Oshiomhole redefined the sense of patriotism because it is about the people.
To him, the destination of the APC is the federal government at the centre. He explained that they came out with APC for a lasting change in the country.
Tinubu lampooned the federal government for lying to the people on economic growth of the nation saying people were still suffering.
He said, “Power is not easy to surrender but we want it in an honest manner. We are tired of failure. How do you give statistics that the economy is growing and we are still suffering? You have GDP that is growing and we have army of unemployed youth. We have to change this government.
“The APC has come with a rescue boat to rescue Nigeria from the thieves. They steal in hundred, of billions. We have to send them out. Oshiomhole has enough ambulances to send them out of here, out of Abuja and out of Anambra.”
Governor Oshiomhole said his administration had delivered on electoral promises in building infrastructures and creating environment for businesses to thrive.
He said the painful decisions he took have led to building of roads, providing water and schools across the state.
Oshiomhole said “the challenge is to focus on the economy. Having spent so much to build infrastructure, this is meant to create enabling environment for business to thrive. I am happy at the response we are getting. The private sector, from agriculture to palm oil, they are all coming to Edo State to set up business”.
“We have people who are coming to Edo state to set up fertilizer plant. We are refocusing on security and appreciate the role of our security agencies. Our House of Assembly have risen to the occasion and has approved death penalty for kidnappers and Edo state is no longer safe for criminals because this governor will sign death warrant as soon as it comes my way.
“We are delivering and not just talking. In our second term we have started commissioning projects. Over the past three days we have commissioned five roads and the five junction and we have more than one hundred projects to commission between now and December, you will see all the things that we have been doing with your money.”
“Between November last year and November this year we have paid to major contractors about 36billion naira certificate generated from road construction, schools construction and hospital construction and we recognize that our allocation from Abuja is barely over four billion” he said.
Oshiomole declared “every month we pay to contractors about three billon naira. Edo State devotes about 85% of the federal revenue on capital projects that people can see. Our market women who were in the past used during election and abandoned, we have empowered them by giving them cash to rebuild their markets.
“Today I want to remind you of how we started. In the past Edo State was a one party state, controlled and manipulated and dehumanised by a few godfather who turned the state to a personal estate. The were celebrated not for fixing roads, electricity. Education or healthcare, but celebrated for declaring winners as losers.