Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has asked voters to cast their votes for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Obaseki, in the Saturday’s Governorship election in Edo State.
He tweeted this a few hours after the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, said Obaseki does not deserve a single vote in the Saturday governorship election.
The former governor of Lagos State had in a televised broadcast said, “He (Obaseki) does not deserve any democratic ballot paper. Don’t vote for him, I appeal to all of you.”
But Obaseki debunked Tinubu’s claim, noting that Tinubu would fail in his attempt “to extend his political dominance and empire to Edo State”.
Atiku in his tweet warned against violence during the election.
He said, “The democracy that we enjoy today was bought at a great price. We can only deepen and sustain it by respecting the sanctity of the ballot and necessary review of our electoral processes.
“As the great people of Edo State go to the polls to elect their governor this weekend, they need to be provided with a secured environment to cast their votes and be assured that their votes will count.
“I urge all duly registered voters of conscience and who truly care about the wellbeing of Edo to turn out en masse to cast and defend their vote for @GovernorObaseki.”
One of the allegations raised by Tinubu against Obaseki was preventing the inauguration of lawmakers.
But Obaseki in a press statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, replied, “We call on all Edo people, friends of Nigeria and all lovers of democracy to disregard all the comments by Tinubu, as the allegations about the Edo State House of Assembly and other claims in the broadcast are completely false.”
The crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly began when it was inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night with only nine, out of 24 lawmakers-elect, on June 17, 2019, following a proclamation by the governor.
The lawmakers, who were not part of the process, as well as the APC, rejected the process and called on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation.
However, a Federal High Court in Rivers State barred the governor from doing so. A separate court also barred the National Assembly from taking over the Edo Assembly.
This worsened the crisis within the APC in the state and deepened the feud between Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was also the National Chairman of the APC.
The governor orchestrated the suspension of Oshiomhole from the party at the ward level. In retaliation, Oshiomhole ensured that Obaseki did not clinch the governorship ticket of the APC and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged as the winner of the primary.
The crisis in the Edo State chapter of the APC and the multiple court rulings on Oshiomhole’s suspension snowballed into a national crisis that culminated in President Muhammadu Buhari dissolving the National Working Committee of the APC causing Oshiomhole to lose his position.
An attempt by the aggrieved lawmakers to be inaugurated was, however, scuttled by men claiming to be renovating the Assembly complex.
However, the APC claimed the men were thugs hired by the governor who was afraid of being impeached.