For the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the September 10, 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, there could have been no greater endorsement for his governorship ambition than the raising of his hand in the presence of a mammoth party faithful by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. The occasion was the party’s grand finale campaign rally in Benin today where chieftains of the party, including eight governors and two deputy governors, as well as ministers, came to drum up support for their flag bearer, and his running mate, Philip Shaibu. It was perhaps Obaseki’s greatest political moment in weeks of crisscrossing the state canvassing for votes as the president recommended him highly to Edo people, describing him as a ‘’seasoned person’’. Holding up the hands of Obaseki and Shaibu, Buhari said with the good works the outgoing governor, Adams Aliyu Oshiomole had done, ‘’I assure and recommend him to you so that you will continue to grow’’. Describing the duo as ‘’a credible team’’, the president urged the people of Edo State ‘’you better hold them tight and make sure they succeed’’.
Buhari used the occasion to encourage Nigerians not to be despondent, assuring that whatever challenges the country might be going through, ‘’we are going to get out of our economic doldrums’’, stressing that ‘’we are almost out of our security problem and we are going to make Nigeria greater again’’ such that Nigerians would once again be proud of their country. The president admonished Nigerians to sit and reflect on what he said 30 years ago that ‘’we have no other nation like Nigeria…and we must salvage it together because no matter where you go, the colour of your skin will be a problem for you’’. Chairman of the Edo APC campaign council and Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said the presence of the president at the rally said Edo State remained the heartbeat of the Southsouth region, if not Nigeria, adding that ‘’presently, Edo State without any controversy has witnessed the best developmental progress in the last seven and a half years more than any other period in the last 17 years. It is also true that Oshiomole has laid the right foundation for progressive governance. He has been responsive, progressive and totally committed to the needs of our people. He has shown through his actions that the only way forward is to vote for continuity of the successes. t is very clear that the continuity of an APC government is a sure way to greater progress. He said Lagos had been voting for continuity since 1999 and the results are very clear for all to see. Edo State can be another Lagos’’. You all need Godwin Obaseki now. GO will bring his financial expertise to turn Edo State around for the better’’. Aminu Tambuwal who spoke on behalf of other APC governors present, recalled how Edo State gave to the president 45 percent of votes during the 2015 election ‘’in spite of intimidations’’. He said he was sure Edo people had no regret thus far for giving Oshiomole their mandate and stressed the need for consolidation. According to the former speaker of the House of Representatives, ‘’and the consolidation by the grace of GOD, lies in the hands of our dear brother, Godwin Obaseki’’.
In his speech, the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun gave kudos to the out-going governor for haven done his bit. He said the choice before Edo people was very simple – the period before Oshiomole during which the state was plundered, and after Oshiomole; 10 years of PDP or seven and a half years of Oshiomole who had changed the face of Edo State dramatically, asking which one they preferred. He advised the people not to be sentimental in making their decision. He said if in seven a d a half years Oshiomole had been able to change the face of Edo State, ‘’can you imagine what the coming eight years will do for us’’. Addressing the mammoth crowd, Oshiomole did not disappoint his listeners in pouring invectives on Ize-Iyamu, rehashing how he allegedly poured acid on a fellow student in the University of Benin and was rusticated for two years. He told Edo people that the governorship contest was not between strangers but it is contest between two parties you know and two candidates that have functioned in the two governments that have governed you’’. Reacting to a statement by Ize—Iyamu during the governorship debate on Channels Television that he made his first million at the age of 30, the governor said ‘’if he says he made his first million at 30 working as a P.A. to a local government chairman, do you need any other evidence that he is not a fit and proper person to hold public office’’. According to the governor, the people have no candidate worth voting for in the PDP’. The APC candidate said Buhari was the inspiration why he was running for governorship, stressing that ‘’if you were not the president of Nigeria, I would not have run for the governor of Edo State’’. Describing Oshiomole as a magician, haven transformed Edo State, it was the reason he would want to continue. He therefore urged the people to vote for continuity so that they would continue to enjoy the construction of more roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, as well as youth and women empowerment. He reiterated his promise to create 200,000 jobs.