By Francis Onoiribholo, 23-o4-2013
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday warned Benin High Chief, Gabriel Igbinedion, to stop contravening laws in the state, as government has the capacity and the will to contain his excesses.
The governor gave the warning while swearing in 14 local government chairmen, all of them Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidates following their victory at last Saturday’s poll.
The Governor also asked the Edo State Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) to tender unreserved apology to people of the state for the lapses recorded in the local government election.
Swearing in the council chairmen at the Government House, Benin, Oshiomhole said “there is evidence that he (Igbinedion) has undermined the prosperity of the state for a very long time. Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones.”
The Governor added: “I want to send a warning to Chief Igbinedion that he should take it easy, he has acquired a lot of government land that the people have not engaged him on.
“He walks as if he is above the law, he was a chief tax collector in this state, pocketing 25 to 30 per cent of every kobo that accrued while his son was the Governor. I have not looked back because my mandate is to look forward.”
The Governor continued: “I want to put him on notice that if he continues with elderly rascality, I will bring him to justice.
“He must never ever underestimate the fact that I have the will and I have the capacity to deploy that will, if he crosses the law he will be cut to size. Elders must teach the younger ones to behave responsibly.”
An angry Oshiomhole told his audience that, “You heard how he (Igbinedion) is using ITV in a very reckless manner in a clear breach of the NBC code.
“He reduced himself as a high chief, reduced himself to a thug, leaving where he is registered to vote and going all the way to Okada on a day movement was restricted across the state; he got to Okada and illegally used mobile policemen to be walking on the street going to the police station where sensitive election materials were being kept in order to vandalise the materials to ensure elections did not take place.
“How can Gabriel Igbinedion who claims to be ‘Esama’ of Benin be leading the way for thuggery in Okada.
“If he misleads himself into believing that he has the birth right to continue to appropriate, privatise the resources of Edo State, he is living in a fool’s paradise, Edo money will never flow to the Igbinedion house any more.
“That can’t happen, Okada people complained how Charles Igbinedion as a local government chairman privatised the resources of the local government and transferred them to the house of Igbinedion.
“Nothing to show on the ground, we tolerate him because as they say, who are we to do the work of God. God will do justice to those who are in the wrong.
“I want to reassure not only Edo people but all Nigerians that I am committed and I remain committed and I shall ever be committed to the principle of one man one vote. It is not a choice. In a democracy there is no alternative to that,’ he argued.
The Governor said “in the last election, there were issues that I was deeply troubled myself. The fact that election materials did not arrive on time from Lagos; as a responsible government, we did our best to ensure that those materials were properly secured.
“We did our best to ensure that those materials, talking to authorities in Lagos, to provide security to ensure that those materials were delivered to EDSIEC.”
He noted that it was to the credit of the government that those materials were printed outside Nigeria and the materials were not delivered secretly to EDSIEC.
“All the stories that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were peddling that results have been written is absolute rubbish. The fact that the materials arrived late from Lagos under the supervision and escort of a Federal Government police dismisses all the rubbish they were talking.
“The Honourable Minister of Works, ordinarily a gentleman, is unable to explain why he can’t win election because he only constructs road on the eve of elections. He used mobile police to prevent the election from being held at Uromi.
“At Auchi, they brought thugs, after they had distributed materials for some hours. They brought thugs to disrupt the exercise. And the police were supervising the thuggery. These were things that were happening, but you can’t defeat the truth,” Oshiomhole added.
The Governor said the PDP plotted to disrupt the election because they know they couldn’t win,” adding, “as hard as they tried, they could not stop what God has willed.”
The Governor, who urged the newly sworn-in chairmen to do projects that will add value to the lives of the people, also advised them to “respect people, but don’t appropriate or subordinate the resources of your local government to please individuals no matter who he is or the role he claims to have played in your election.”