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Obaseki: Unfavourable facts



Just before the Edo State governorship election on September 19, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and incumbent governor Godwin Obaseki is trying to rewrite history.

Obaseki’s response to All Progressives Congress (APC) leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who had appealed to the Edo electorate to reject him in the election, amounted to a denial of facts.

Tinubu said that the governor had prevented 14 members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly from being sworn in. “Several institutions and leaders across the country appealed to him to respect constitutional democracy,” Tinubu stated. “But he rejected all entreaties.  He rejected the appeal by the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who enumerated the path of honour and constitution of the country.”

The drama didn’t end there. “Rather than obey and respect the law, he vandalised the House of Assembly in Edo by removing the roof and pouring gravel on the entrance of the House of Assembly to prevent the 14 members from being sworn in,”Tinubu recounted.

When Obaseki’s  Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, issued a statement on behalf of his boss, he merely said that Tinubu’s “allegations about the Edo State House of Assembly and other claims in the broadcast are completely false.”  The spokesman did not present facts to show that Tinubu’s narrative was false.

It is true, and a well-known fact, that Obaseki spectacularly supported the undemocratic sidelining of targeted members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly.  Only nine of the 24 members-elect, loyal to Obaseki, were first inaugurated, then two others, all in June last year, in questionable circumstances.  With the deliberate exclusion of those who were not inaugurated, Obaseki’s loyalists took control of the legislature.

Tinubu observed that Obaseki’s role in the drama demonstrated dictatorship, lack of respect for the rule of law, and lack of respect for the voters who elected the legislators prevented from being sworn in. He was correct.

Denying the facts suggests that Obaseki is ashamed of his conduct, and cannot bring himself to admit that such things happened with his support.

He is seeking re-election. He had left the party that brought him to power, the APC, after failing to get its support for his ambition.  He is up against APC governorship candidate Osagie Ize-Iyamu in the election. Of course, he wants to win. But the voters will decide the victor, and they are aware of the facts he has denied.  These facts are not in his favour.

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