By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, has expressed concerns over the prevailing health challenges occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, saying the development warrant that the state adopts the indirect mode of a primary election for its forthcoming governorship election as against the direct mode of primary being touted in some section.
He said global pandemic had necessitated a change in all facet of lives with extra precaution needed in human’s days-days activities to mitigate the spread of the deadly respiratory disease, and that adopting the direct mode of the primary election will leave no rooms for social distancing which can prove to be costly for the state in terms person-to-person transmission of the disease during the exercise.
Shaibu noted that though, he alongside his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki, was fully prepared and ready for any mode of primaries as their achievements during the first term was enough to earn them a convincing victory even with just a day notification, said the ruling government places a premium of safety and well being of the people and would not want to secure victory at the detriment of the delegate’s health and wellbeing.
He argued that the insistence by the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, for a direct mode of primary in the state was sinister, adding that the ex-governor was allegedly plotting to rig the process.
The deputy governor, through a statement released to newsmen on Thursday, through his Special Assistant on Media, Benjamin Atu, stressed that the responsibility of safeguarding the people against any form of health hazards lies solely on the government, and at such, the administration will not gamble on the safety of its citizens by relinquishing important decisions for others to decide.
“Despite this confidence and assurance that the victory of Governor Obaseki is not in doubt, we are not ready to go the way of the Direct Primary. Our preference for the indirect primary is because we don’t want to secure victory at the expense of the health of those we are seeking to lead.
“As the Chief Security officer of the State and first among equals, the Governor has decided to conduct the affairs of the State in the way that will ensure the safety of its citizens. As of today, Godwin Obaseki is the Governor of Edo State and has the capacity to determine the direction of the State. That doesn’t amount to fear of failure in facing any election but rather putting the interest of the public above desperation to win an election.
“PDP has a National Chairman, for instance, the National Chairman of PDP doesn’t usurp the Sovereignty of the PDP States. The Sovereignty of the State can’t be submerged at this critical juncture of our lives. The indirect primary will make it more convenient for INEC to supervise and will be more transparent.
“The APC National Chairman is insisting on direct primary because the result of the yet to be conducted direct Primary election is already written by him, just waiting to be announced. The State is sovereign but not enjoying its sovereignty because some few people are determined to ruin the State by hand twisting the government and Governor as a stooge.
“What the APC National Chairman is doing is trying to usurp the powers of the State Governor by thinking and making decisions for the Government of Edo State. John Oyegun was the former Governor of Edo State and he didn’t usurp Oshiomhole’s power in the name of ex-Governor. Oshiomhole is not the first ex-Governor in Nigeria. He should give the people and the Government of Edo State peace to enable them reason collectively together.
“Obaseki is currently the Governor of Edo State and his office must be respected because we can only have one Governor at a time. He has spoken and there is no going back on the indirect primary. Direct Primary will heighten COVID 19 transmission and infection at the community stage and the State is not ready for such emergency,” the statement read.