Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode has been appointed Chairman of the National Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress for the gubernatorial election holding in Edo State on September 10.
Inaugurating the Campaign Council in Benin City, last weekend, National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the party will win the election with ease based on the good records of the incumbent Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Chief Oyegun who said the election is “important, crucial and will be a very great signpost” for the party, noted that Edo State had been cornered into a private property by a few individuals in the past before the APC Governemtn dismantled their structures.
He said: “I want to thank you in spite of the relatively short notice. You have all turned up in such large numbers. I am sure that comes from a recognition that on your part that the election we are preparing for is important, crucial and will be a very great signpost. It is an election which we should, and I am sure will win relatively easily. I say that because this is a state that for decades has been, so to speak, been privatized until the advent of the current administration. It is an election where even the blind can say yes, he is aware of the development that has taken place. It is an election that even the dumb and the deaf will say yes, they are aware of the great strides that have taken place in Edo State especially in the wake of the ten immediate preceding years to the current administration. So, as Comrade would say, this is not a state where you earmark projects and programmes; it is a state where you eyemark; you see them; you actually see them on the ground.”
Chief Oyegun said, “So, my charge to this committee, the campaign council, made up of very eminent leaders of this party, each one specially chosen for this assignment, is not that they should deliver Edo State. It is a lot more than that. It is that they should deliver Edo State with a margin that tells the whole story. So, as you get down to your assignment, considering also that it is in a sense a mid-term election.
“So, it is an election that is important to us that we win very convincingly, not just win, but win convincingly. So, my charge to you is to go out there in coordination, close working relationship with the local election committee to strategize, to raise the resources, to talk to whosoever is necessary to talk to, some of the details of which, of course, we will discuss at a very first meeting to ensure that the kind of victory that our party deserves is in fact recorded.”
The APC national chairman declared, “So, your job is to ensure that Edo State is safely in the party. Then once that is done, then we will venture out to bring home our brothers in the South East and in the South South to join this great crusade to salvage our nation, to establish a new way of doing things, to establish new ethics, to let our people know that there is a difference between right and wrong, to change this country from the trajectory, on a permanent bases; we are already in it, to change it irreversibly on the destructive trajectory into which it was plunged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.”
Responding on behalf of members of the national campaign council, Chairman of the council and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, who was represented by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai said, “I want to thank the party for giving us this responsibility to manage the campaign that will lead to the election of our brother, Godwin Obaseki as the next Governor of Edo State by God’s grace.
“This is an onerous responsibility, bearing in mind the desperation of that dying party to wake up and get some life. They will use every means to come back to continue the looting that they started in Edo State.”
He continued, “However, our job has been made easy by the fact that our brother, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has done such incredible work in this State that as you said even the blind, deaf and dumb can see and hear. The difference between the PDP and the APC is the difference between night and day.
“One party represents light and progress, the other party represents darkness and division. And we as loyal members of the party that you have chosen to give this responsibility will do whatever we can do to prevent darkness coming back to Edo State. As I said, our job has been made easier. We have a sitting governor; we have a sitting president. We have rule of law and an INEC that is committed to delivering credible elections. So, this should be easy for us, but we are not going to take any chances.”
He added, “With this, I would like on behalf of all of us to express our gratitude to you for finding us worthy to handle this assignment with a firm commitment that would have the support of all our governors to ensure that we succeed. By God’s grace, we will give our best shot and come back in a few months to inaugurate Governor Godwin Obaseki, by God’s grace. We thank you very much for the honour.”
In his vote of thanks, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State who commended the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and members of the national campaign council for attending the meeting at a short notice said, “we want to thank all of you for coming, and we are humbled for the honour and respect you have given to us. We are very grateful, and we trust that working together, victory will be ours.”
He said, “in 2007, we didn’t have a Councillor in this State, and Mr. Fix was fixing and unfixing everything. Working together, we unfixed him, and since then, we have been in control. And as we speak, we have 22 out of 24 members of the House of Assembly elected on our party platform. So, we have no reason to worry. In my last election, we won in all the 18 local government areas on account of the fact that we have evidence governance and of government presence in each of the 192 wards across Edo State. So, we are confident given the fact that since then, we have done even more.”
Membership of the national campaign council is drawn from serving governors and deputy governors, former governors and deputy governors, serving ministers, senators, members of the House of Representatives and other prominent APC members across the country.
The inaugural meeting of the Council which held immediately after its inauguration was attended by Imo State Governor and Chairman of the APC Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Simon Lalung (Plateau), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna) (Co-Chairman) and Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi).
The governors of Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Borno, Kwara, Oyo and Kogi were represented by their Deputies.
It was also attended by the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Omooba Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr. Segun Oni, APC National Deputy Chairman, (South); Senator Osita Izunaso, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Mr Hilliard Ettah, APC National Chairman, South South, among others.