A leading governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has described as illogical, the argument put forward by Governor Godwin Obaseki to support his preference for indirect mode of governorship primary election on June 22.
He insisted that the direct type of governorship primary election, approved on May 21 by members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC, was the most appropriate mode, to prevent the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Ize-Iyamu, Tuesday in an online press statement by the Director of Communication and Media of his campaign organisation, Prince John Mayaki, dismissed claim by Obaseki that direct primary would pose a public health risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather accused Edo governor of politicising the state’s coronavirus situation, in his clamor for indirect primary that he allegedly planned to rig.
He said: “We have watched and listened with amusement, the very unintelligent argument being canvassed by Obaseki and his clan of jesters, in an attempt to stop the APC from holding a governorship primary election in Edo State.
“Obaseki’s argument that conducting direct primary will aid the spread of coronavirus is most illogical. What will rather aid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic is indirect primary, his preferred mode, where over 5,000 delegates and officials, including journalists, will crowd Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, in total disregard to the social distancing precautionary measure, one of the protocols put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“The direct mode of primary, apart from being more democratic, as it involves all party members voting in their wards to nominate their preferred governorship aspirant, will take place in open fields or spaces in a disperse manner, with very few delegates, thus ensuring observance of social distancing.”
The 2016 governorship candidate of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state also accused Obaseki of trying to hide under the excuse of fear of the spread of coronavirus, which he described as an afterthought, just to avoid imminent defeat at the party’s direct primary election.
He said Edo governor would have been taken seriously in his “concern” about the spread of COVID-19 when the first index case occurred in the state and he locked down Edo, but he refused to do so, against advice of critical stakeholders, while expressing surprise about the sudden realisation of the spread of coronavirus, on the eve of APC’s governorship primary election.
The former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) also stated that he was shocked to learn on Monday that Obaseki gave approval to members of PDP in the state to conduct their yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) congresses across the 192 wards, to elect delegates for the party’s governorship primary election, fixed for June 23.
He said: “The arrival of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State to Edo State at the behest of the state’s chapter of the PDP, saw Obaseki contradict his own words and gave approval for the conduct of ward congresses across the state, a decision that exposes his supposed public health concern as an exaggerated lie, manufactured only to strongarm the APC into choosing indirect mode of primary election he considers favourable to his political survival.
“Obaseki has been struggling to justify his action of granting approval for ward congresses to the PDP that is not different from a direct primary exercise, even as he continues to frustrate efforts of his party, the APC, to do the same, without the duplicative event of another state congress.”
Edo governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, was contacted for his reactions to the allegations levelled against his boss, but he had not responded, as at press time.