Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to publicly denounce the godfathers of Edo politics, who are relying on the presidency to rig the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
He also said he believed that President Jonathan had committed himself to one-man, one-vote and would not give support to election riggers trying to ride on the back of the presidency.
Oshiomhole, who was speaking in Lagos during the conferment on him the Champion Man of the Year Award for 2011, urged Jonathan not to help the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State to rig the forthcoming election just as he expressed determination to further transform Edo State.
His words: “I believe President Goodluck Jonathan has committed himself to one-man one-vote and I will like to encourage him to know that the business is not over. Some of the old men around him do not believe in the slogan. While they are preaching one-man one-vote, the godfather in Edo is talking of the presidency support, that they will re-capture. How will the presidency help them to re-capture? Are they coming to vote in Edo State? I know this president will not allow anybody to behave as if Edo State is a retirement benefit on account of his services to his party.
My fight against godfathers
“My fight against the godfathers started from his decision to veto what an elected governor had promised to the people of the state. As governor, I was compelled to go to Abuja and invited to a private living room of a man whose name has never appeared on the ballot paper and he has to interrogate me on why I want to build more schools. He was not convinced and he deleted the vote for mass transit, for education and other capital projects including security votes. So I made up my mind that we will not only fight the godfather but we will defeat him in the interest of the people of Edo State.
“Many people who have read my comments on Edo State from time to time are wondering why I am fighting the godfathers. To start with, I think to even use the word God is even wrong, the actual word should be the devils father because there is nothing godly in their acts. Some felt I am insulting elders, but I have no difficulty respecting elders, where I have difficulty is that while I respect the age of these people that are holding our dear state down, I have no respect for the age of their ideas.”
“It is the same thing that explains the paradox of a rich country whose people are being pauperised and it is the same thing that explains why fewer people are buying jets and more people are getting poorer.”
On the award conferred on him by Champion newspapers, he said: “When people start to appreciate your good work, it is an invitation to do more and I appreciate the kind gesture by the company. It has demonstrated that there are still people of integrity in this country who can pass judgement based on facts rather than emotions.”
Anyaoku wants regional system
In his contribution, chairman of the event, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, advocated the scrapping of the present 36 states structure and revert to six geo-political zones for effective governance in Nigeria.
Anyaoku in his speech lamented the increase in corruption in Nigeria and maintained that Nigeria could not function well under the 36 states system Nigeria is practising.
Commending Oshiomhole for his giant strides in Edo State, Anyaoku said: ‘I am delighted to be here for the eminently deserved award for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and I also congratulate Champion Newspapers for the award on the deserving awardee.”
On his part, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said Oshiomhole deserved the award bestowed on him.
In his contribution, Comrade Peter Esele decried the poor quality of leadership Nigeria had produced in the past, insisting that the leaders must reconnect with the people if Nigeria has to move forward.
According to him, Nigeria must retrace its steps towards the people to achieve some developmental strides. Vanguard Nigeria.