Says Political Terrorism could discourage Investors
Former minister of state for works and an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant for the September 19, 2020 election in Edo State, Chris Ogiemwonyi, wants the state security outfit created by the state government called Wabazighan, abolished. Ogiemwonyi, a petroleum engineer and former group executive director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, described Wabazighan as “repressive and anti-people”, whose operatives he noted, were being paid with tax payer’s money.
Fielding questions from journalists at the weekend in Benin City, Ogiemwonyi said hitherto, he had been an advocate of state police but changed his mind when the state security outfit attacked 14 lawmakers-elect in a hotel in Benin. Recall that on June 18 last year, 19 lawmakers- elect who had addressed a press conference at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Etete to call on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare 11, and national leadership of the APC to prevail on the governor, Godwin Obaseki to issue a proclamation for the inauguration of the seventh assembly, were viciously attacked by armed thugs led by men of Operation Wabazighan and the then chief security officer, CSO, to the governor.
Condemning the spate of political violence in the state in recent times, Ogiemwonyi called on Obaseki to institute a probe into the violent attacks on people’s homes in the state, worried that if the trend was allowed to continue, it would scare away investors from the state. Speaking against the backdrop of a bomb explosion that rocked the Benin residence of a chieftain of the party, Francis Inegbeneki in the wee hours of a scheduled rally in Edo central senatorial district, Ogiemwonyi who also jostled for the APC ticket in 2015, lamented that “this is the first time we are using bombs in politics in Edo State. This is another aspect of terrorism; the attacks will scare away investors”.
The former minister said if elected governor, his first priority would be to address insecurity in the state by allocating more resources to the sector. He listed other priority areas to include poverty eradication through provision of employment, preventive healthcare, mechanized agriculture, provision of social amenities to address rural-urban migration, provision of model schools with boarding facilities, upgrading of the solid minerals sector, and bringing the physically challenged into government operations.
Ogiemwonyi reiterated the agreement by six aspirants on the platform of the APC to work together and support whoever emerges as candidate. Reacting to the government’s claim that Obaseki had achieved in three years what Oshiomhole did not achieve in eight years, a visibly angry Ogiemwonyi stated that it was the performance of Oshiomhole as governor that made him to join APC. In his words, “it is the performance of Oshiomhole that dragged me into APC. I took risk to leave PDP for APC in 2014. I took the risk because of Oshiomhole. Oshiomhole really transformed Edo State; I score him eight and half out of 10 points in his performance. I see Oshiomhole as the best governor after Ogbemudia”. Ogiemwonyi said, “Governor Obaseki has the capacity to perform but he is taking on so many things; I score him low”.
Commenting on the recent government demolition T Latifah and Suites, a multi-million naira of hotel in Benin owned by Tony ‘Kabaka’ Adun, Ogiemwonyi described the demolition as an abomination in Benin Kingdom. According to him “Kabaka and others helped to make Obaseki governor but because they now have a different view, his hotel was brought down”. The former NNPC top brass counseled that if the Federal Government wants the pending Petroleum Industry Bill to be addressed, it should give it to experts in the oil industry to handle. Ogiemwonyi also urged governments at all levels to always appoint their ‘first eleven’ into positions.