A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governorship aspirant in the 2024 governorship election in Edo State, John Ehibhationman Yakubu, has cried out over the removal of his billboards placed at strategic locations in Benin City, the state capital, allegedly orchestrated by an unnamed “top government official”.
Yakubu, one-time Esan North-East local government council chairman, while calling on Governor Godwin Obaseki to
“rein in this his top official” in order not to create a situation that would result in unavoidable political crisis in the state ahead of the poll, said this is indeed “an early warning signal that should be taken seriously and nipped in the bud before it gets out of hand”.
He also called on all Edo State people of goodwill to speak out on this matter “as it portends clear and present danger for our politics as we approach the 2024 off-season Edo State governorship election”.
Raising the alarm at a press conference on Thursday in Benin City, the former deputy governorship candidate in the 2016 poll in the state, served a notice of legal action against the relevant government agency if “our billboards which we have duly paid for are not restored soonest”, insisting that “Edo State belongs to us all, and any person or groups of persons who think they own our state will need to have a rethink”.
Stating his case, Yakubu said “I have cause to address you this morning in order to bring to the notice and attention of the good people of Edo State through you the emergence of a dangerous and dictatorial tendency inimical to the practice of democracy, which among others, guarantees free speech, freedom of movement, freedom of association ecetera ecetera.
“Some days ago, we observed with dismay that a number of our billboards which we paid for, and caused to be placed along Airport Road, Ikpoba Slope, and Ikpoba Hill, had been removed illegally. On enquiry, the advertising company that handled the transaction on our behalf told us that the removal was ordered by a very top Edo State government official who was angry about the message contained in the billboards.
“It was alleged that he used his temporary possession of transient power to order officials of the Oredo Local Government to pull down the messages displayed on the billboards.
“We find this reprehensible, irresponsible, distasteful, high-handed and a dubious attempt to hold down our modest efforts to reach and sensitize the good people of Edo State on our message of hope, our message of ‘Edo of Our Dream is Possible.’ The message did not canvass for votes neither did it seek to promote the interest of any political party”.
He contended that “The messages have not violated any electoral law. It merely says ‘Edo of Our Dream is Possible’, and that has put them on a panic mode because they know this is exactly what the good people of Edo State are yearning for.
“It has become clear from this action that the alleged top government official who is also rumoured to be nursing the 2024 gubernatorial ambition became alarmed and frightened at the speed at which we have succeeded in convincing the Edo State people in our little way that the dream of a better Edo is indeed possible”.
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