Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki officially kickstarted his campaign for a second term in office on Saturday at the lawn tennis court of the refurbished Ogbe Stadium, Benin.
The ceremony was, however, marred with violence as echoes of gunshots reverberated in downtown Benin City following a clash between supporters of the two major parties over the demolition of posters and campaign billboards.
Vehicle windscreens of innocent motorists who were caught up in the melee were shattered by the hoodlums who engaged in a free-for-all just as people scamper for safety.
Obaseki is contesting on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
On hand to lend a hand of support at the event were the party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus who presented the flag to Governor Obaseki. Others are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; his Bayelsa State counterpart, Senator Duoye Diri; Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike; and Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde.
Others were Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal; Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed; Senator Dino Melaye; Ondo State deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi; Senate Minority Whip, Enyinnaya Abaribe and a host of others.
At the low key ceremony which was staged in compliance with the COVID-19 regulations, the PDP leaders kicked against the scourge of godfatherism in a direct reference to the former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who had since fallen out with his acolyte, Governor Obaseki.
Obaseki appealed for calm, noting that he left the APC as a result of lawlessness and impunity and was confident of victory in the election scheduled for September 19 because of his excellent performance.
He said: “I heard that they are destroying PDP billboards and posters. Please, do not retaliate. I left there because of the lawlessness.”
Flanked by the deputy governor, Phillip Shaibu, Obaseki said that the acronym of his agenda in the next four years if re-elected is MEGA which stands for Make Edo Great Again, adding that his administration has just completed a 50 MW power project which he intends to increase to 200 MW if his mandate is renewed.
In a veiled allusion to his turbulent times in APC which culminated in his leaving the APC to seek refuge in the PDP, the governor declared: “What happened to us was a miracle. God stood by us because of what we did for the people of Edo State.”
He told the party supporters at the carnival-like ceremony that his next focus will be on technology particularly in the agricultural sector of the economy and youth employment to make the state, which is christened the Heart Beat of the Nation, the business and economic hub of the country.
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