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With N6b annual security vote, Obaseki must ensure peace in Edo, says APC group

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Grassroots Youth for Change has tasked the governor of Edo state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to ensure peace reigns in the state ahead of next year’s governorship election.

National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Orlu Henry Manuchimso, said in a statement in Abuja that since Edo state was the only state controlled by the APC in the South-south geo-political zone, Governor Obaseki should not act in ways that would cause the electoral defeat of the party in the state.

According to the group, “We have noted the executive-induced crisis in the State House of Assembly and how the rascally act has caused schism in the party. This, certainly, does not augur well for our party.

“We had expected that rather than create a situation of insecurity and unrest in the Edo body-politic by deploying anti-democratic antics in seizing control of the State Legislature, Governor Obaseki should have worked towards political cooperation and understanding in an atmosphere of peace.

“Governor Obaseki has all it takes to lobby all the members of the State Legislature as well as leaders of the APC in the state.  Besides, he has the financial resources to deploy in reinforcing the security architecture of the State. But unfortunately, he has resorted to intimidation, blackmail and witch-hunt.

“It is our view that if people talk to people, people would listen.  It is not necessarily about financial inducement or sharing of money. Assuming without conceding that it is about using money to ensure that peace reigns, the governor has N6 billion-security vote per annum to play with.

“What is the governor doing with the security vote? We have been able to confirm that in the 2018 budget of the state, the sum of N4 billion per annum that the previous administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole received as security vote was increased to N5 billion. We have also confirmed that in the 2019 budget, the vote has again been increased to N6 billion.

“While we are not questioning the rationale for the increment, the question is, for what purposes is Governor Obaseki using the money? The vote is to keep the peace in the state and not to fuel crises in the State House of Assembly.”

The group said it gathered from the grapevine that the increment of the security vote was not taken through the legislative due process.

According to the group, “We got the information which we believe to be credible that the increment was a single-line item that was quietly pushed through by the former Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, acting in concert with Governor Obaseki.

“Besides, the former Speaker and the governor purportedly committed the states to some multi-billion dollar loans, which they allegedly did not subject to legislative considerations.”

The group said it saw sense in the claim by members of the opposition camp within the APC in the State that the governor’s desperation to install Hon. Frank Okiye as Speaker is to ensure a pliant leadership who will do his biddings just like the former Speaker, Kabiru Adjoto, who just lost his House of Representatives seat to Hon. Peter Akpatason also of the APC.

“We find more than a mere coincidence that the governor has just appointed Adjoto as his special adviser following his recent cabinet reshuffle in which he reportedly dropped elements who are known loyalists of former Governor Oshiomhole and incumbent national chair of the APC,” the group stated.

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