The Government of Edo State has said it is focused and committed to the mandate freely given by Edo people to reconstruct the broken walls of the state, which was the legacy left for the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The state government was reacting to an allegation by the PDP that it had spent over N70m to fund the Okpekpe International 10km Road Race, and that the governor allegedly wasted the state’s resources on foreign athletes, instead of developing sports at the grassroots and paying the pension arrears of retired civil servants in the state.
In a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary (interim) to Governor Godwin Obaseki said when the people voted the Governor, the mandate was to consolidate the gains what ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole achieved, rebuild broken infrastructures by PDP and guide the state out of recession.
He said: “We knew it would come with opposition. I never thought it would play out with literal Sanballats. But that’s just what has happened—and often these Sanballats come in sheep’s clothing”.
He explained that PDP was averse to Edo’s revival, hence their actions.
“Sanballat was a serial persecutor, who slandered the people and rallied others to the opposition, such as Tobiah and Geshem. This is the graphic picture of the PDP in Edo state and Chief Dan Orbih is misleading people again,” he said.
Continuing, the media aide revealed that since the advent of the APC in Edo, soulless Sanballats had repeatedly reared their heads and attempted to distract the government from its primary mandate to the people.
Said he, concerning the outcome of their efforts: “God frustrated their purposes just as in the past administration of Adams Oshiomhole, God is fading out these enemies and their antics even as quickly as they appear on the scene. Please, discountenance any accusations from the PDP and their loyalists because the God of heaven will prosper us after all the evil they perpetuated in office. I urge Edo people to rise and support the Governor to build the state. We are confident in what God has called Governor Obaseki to do. Edo people will stand with the Governor to build despite the scorners, despisers and accusers”.
He, however, noted that regardless of PDP’s statements, Governor Obaseki would consolidate on the foundation and progress made by former governor, Adams Oshiomhole, adding that it would benefit Edo people to understand the background and status of the successfully hosted Okpekpe Road Race.
“PDP is talking about sports development. Is the Okpekpe race not a way of developing sports and attracting universal attention to sport activities in Edo State?
Now, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) have listed Okpekpe 10km Road Race in the January-to-June calendar of road races worldwide and the only race in Nigeria, whose course the accredited officers of IAAF/AIMS have measured by international standards and certified with a Bronze status,” he said.
Meanwhile, he revealed that the state government, banks and other development partners co-sponsored the successful event, noting that organising an international competition of that level required money.
“Countries organise sports competitions and spend hundreds of millions and billions. In our own case, we have cut our coat according to our cloth or size, instead of commending us, they want to again paint the government black.
As we have always said and I wish to repeat here, we need constructive criticism. If PDP has criticism or a proposal to move Edo forward let them bring it. But you and I know that they do not have them. If they had them, they would have remained in power at the State and national,” he said.
The Chief Press Secretary went further to encourage the PDP to quit animosity and participate in the race as they could win prizes and they would be given equal chances.