Obaseki Will Defeat Whoever PDP Presents As Flagbearer – Afegbua | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Obaseki Will Defeat Whoever PDP Presents As Flagbearer – Afegbua

Posted: Jun 20, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Prince Kassim Afegbua is the Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation.  In this telephone chat with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on the recently concluded governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) in the state. Excerpts

The Edo APC governorship primary has come and gone and a winner has emerged.  With the number of aspirants and various issues raised before the exercise, may had thought it will be rowdy and may end up in rancour as it happened in  Bayelsa.   What is your take on the peaceful turn of events?

First, we ascribe all the glory to Almighty God for taking charge of the whole affairs.  I also commend the Comrade Governor, the APC leadership in the state and all relevant stakeholders who all contributed immensely towards making the exercise a success. I think our opponents wanted to see a rancorous and crisis-laden primary but we thank God that the aspirants and delegates displayed a high sense of civility, decorum and discipline before, during and after the primary exercise.  It is understandable that in any electoral contest, only one man will win the election; and once the process is seen to be free, fair and transparent, there will naturally concur to the outcome of the exercise. Party primaries are essentially the business of political parties. So far; so good, there was a live coverage of the event. People could see how the whole process went. Whatever horse-trading that has taken place before the actual primary,  is legitimate in any political process.  So, I sincerely commend the APC chieftains, the committee that was set up to midwife the primary which was headed by Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, the Katsina state governor for doing a great job and the transparency displayed and professionalism they exhibited. I also want to call on APC, both at the national and state level to work together as one formidable, indivisible entity in the build-up to the real election which will take place in September 10, 2016.  We may not have fulfill all the yearnings and aspirations as people may expect but we believe that only one man will emerge in the primary, who will eventually continue from where the Comrade Governor stopped. As God will have it, Godwin Obaseki  of the APC has emerged. So, we all have to bury our differences, articulate his selling points and present him as the candidate to the electorates come September 2016 so that the APC will continue to occupy Dennis Osadebey Government House, Benin City to continue from where the comrade governor will be stopping.  We have unleashed wonderful developments in Edo state. We have unleashed a lot of infrastructural developments and now that Obaseki has emerged, we have no other option than to continue on that legacy of the Comrade Governor; that wonderful legacy of achievements and delivery of qualitative service to the good people of Edo.  So, I am expecting everybody will fall in line and join hands with the Comrade Governor and the candidate towards ensuring that APC becomes victorious at the election.

Though the major opposition party in the state, the PDP is yet to conduct its primary, a particular aspirant is already celebrating the emergence of Obaseki because he believes that he will emerge the PDP’S flagbearer and defeat Obaseki come September 10. What is your reaction on this?

As much as we will not underrate or undermine any political opponent, I strongly believe that any PDP candidate will not be an obstacle to us. Any candidate presented by the PDP will not be a formidable opponent because we have record of performance and achievements.  Since government is a continuum,  we will tell the people that they should look at where we were coming from, where we are today and where we are heading.  For a government that has done so well in terms of infrastructural developments and has also improved on the welfare of the people, the good people of Edo can be rest assured that they will be making the right decision by sustaining the APC in government in Edo state rather than bring on board another party that may not what it takes to midwife governance in the state.  We are not going to lose sleep over the threat by the PDP. Whoever they bring on board as candidate will just be a walk-over. When they were controlling all the apparatus of government, we defeated them. Why will it be different this time?  We will defeat them again. God willing, Godwin Obaseki will emerge as the next governor of Edo state and will not only continue from where the Comrade governor stopped, but will even it take it higher than what anyone can imagine.

Obaseki won by a landslide in the primaries. Do you also expect the same scenario will repeat itself  during the main election on September 10?

The primary has come and gone. Just as I told you, people will win by whatever imagine. It is strictly a party business. We have to put behind us the primary and look at the larger picture of the main election coming up on September 10.  We now have to strategise and draw up policies and programmes that we will present to the electorates as what to expect if the APC continues as the ruling party.  We also need to work out how to sell our candidate to the electorates. The truth is that over five million electorates in Edo will be the one to decide who governs the state from 2016 to 2020. So,  Obaseki has emerged and that is what is key. Every other aspirants, loyalists and party supporters need to join hands together to be able to deliver him at the election.  We must put our bickering, either potential ones or inherent ones, real or imagined behind us and work as a party to deliver our candidate at the election.  The beauty of democracy is that people have a right to make choices. This time around, since Obaseki has emerged as the choice of the party, the party will have to rally round him. The comrade governor cannot do it alone. Godwin Obaseki cannot do it alone. The party leadership also cannot do it alone. We need every centripetal and centrifugal forces to aggregate for the common platform to move him further. That is the only way we can present a formidable position in confronting the election of September 10. We should bear in mind that we are confronting the electorates, who necessarily are not members of our party but they are stakeholders in Edo state. So once, we are able to reach out to them and we tell them what we have done and what we will do with Obaseki as candidate, and then we will able to woo them at the election. It is an open field for everyone, but I can tell you that we have too many programmes that we can showcase to Edo people that we have done, we have too many policies that we have formulated, we have too many initiatives that we have undertaken to keep the Edo narrative on the front burner in a manner that is admirable to each and everyone in Edo. The comrade governor has reenacted governance in Edo. We are happy that we have come this far. We may not have provided answers to all the questions the good people of Edo are asking us. So, we have chosen a competent individual in the person of Godwin Obaseki who we strongly believe will provide further answers to these questions.