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OPC to Honour Abiola, Fasheun, Soyinka at 25th Anniversary Celebration

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Late Chief Moshood Abiola, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Dr Fredrick Fasheun would be honoured as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) celebrates its silver jubilee anniversary on Thursday in Lagos.

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, said in a statement on Sunday that the journey that started 25 years ago was not an easy thing.

The Aare Onakakanfo explained that it was the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election that culminated in the establishment of OPC.

“The zeal and patriotism of some Yoruba nationalists to liberate Nigeria from the brutal, ferocious and savage hold of military junta led to the thrusting of OPC into national consciousness on Aug, 29 1994”.

“The late Dr Frederick Fasehun, myself and seven others took a critical and patriotic decision that the mandate of the late Aare Moshood Abiola (M.K.O.), annulled must be actualised and Nigeria must be set free from the clutches of dictatorship.

“Five years after the formation of OPC, democracy took a firm root in the country in 1999; today it is a thing of joy that we have 20 years of uninterrupted, participatory democracy in Nigeria.

“But this is not without sacrifice, the late Abiola, whose mandate was annulled in 1993, alongside OPC leaders, fought for the actualisation of the June 12.

“But sadly, the business mogul died in detention in controversial circumstances during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar on July 7, 1998,” Adams said.

The OPC leader said that many Nigerians that protested the continued detention of Abiola were shot on the streets by soldiers between 1993 and 1998. .

“Some Nigerians such as Pa Alfred Rewane, Mrs Kudirat Abiola, Alhaja Suliat Adedeji, Admiral Tunde Elegbede, James Bagauda Kaltho, Shola Omasola, Oluwatoyin Onagoruwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa were killed.

“Activists and journalists such as Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Olisa Agbakoba, Frank Kokori, Kunle Ajibade, Chris Anyanwu, Ben Charles-Obi, Onome Osifo-Whiskey, Babafemi Ojudu and others were detained and some jailed.

”Prof. Wole Soyinka, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others were forced to relocate from Nigeria, it was a period of persecution, victimisation and wickedness.

“But today, democracy has come to stay. OPC is 25 years and we have every reason to remember Nigeria’s heroes and those who have been forgotten,” he said.

Adams also expressed regret that despite the death of a number of nationalists and sacrifices of the fallen heroes, not so much had been achieved with democracy.

He, however, said that with the determination of the group not to relent and continue pressing for better change, Nigeria, and the Yoruba nation will be liberated.

“Though, democracy is here, we are still faced with several challenges. Part of these challenges is the spate of insecurity in the country, but I am optimistic that Nigeria and the Yorubaland in particular, will get it right one day,” Adams said.

Adams said that Prof. Tunde Babawale of the Department of Political Science, University Of Lagos, and the Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) would deliver a public lecture.

He said that special Awards would be presented to 21 eminent Nigerians.

“Some of the recipients of the OPC special posthumous awards include the late Chiefs Obafemi Awolowo, the late Moshood MKO Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi, Dr Beko Ransome- Kuti.

”Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Abraham Adesanya, Justice Adewale Thompson, Amb. Segun Olusola, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Olumide Adeniji, Tony Ngrube, Prof. Sophie Oluwole.

”Ibraheem Abobanawo and the founding father and Spiritual leader of the Congress, the late Dr Fredrick Faseun.

Prof. Wole Soyinka, Barristers Femi Falana, Femi Aborishade, Kehinde Oluwole, Gabriel Akinadewo, Dr Joe Okei- Odumakin and Yemisi Shylon, among others.”

“The awards are to appreciate all the recipients for playing different roles in the course of the struggle to liberate the nation,” he said.

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POLITICS

Edo Governorship:  Intimidation, Harassment Won’t Stop me—Shaibu

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Edo Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shaibu, says intimidation and harassment will not change his resolve in the pursuit of his political ambition.

Shaibu said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.

Shaibu emerged the party’s candidate in a parallel primary held on Thursday to choose a standard bearer for the upcoming governorship election in Edo.

He alleged so much intimidation and harassment of people in the build up to the primary.

“The level of intimidation and harassment meted out to me and those people who believe in me was beyond comprehension, yet it does not actually change our resolve in what we believe in.

“People were sacked, some civil servants were suspended, others transferred from their position and taken away from their family comfort to different places, all because they were associating with me.

“Well, I dare say that anybody still intimidating or harassing anybody means that he is not ready to win an election“, he told newsmen.

He, therefore, said that his emergence as a candidate was no longer about him but the people, adding that it was imperative the party listened to the voice of the people.

He said if the party truly desired to win the election on Sept. 21 it would field a popular and competent candidate not impose a candidate on the people.

He also said that the PDP must adhere to the electoral laws and party guidelines to be able to win the upcoming election in the state.

He explained that there were party guidelines for electing a governorship candidate, just as there is an electoral law guiding political activities.

Shaibu further said for the PDP to win the upcoming governorship election in the state, it should adhere strictly to its own rules and guidelines.

The deputy governor also alleged that elections were about contestation, noting that the other primary that produced Mr Asue Ighodalo as its candidate disenfranchised 381 delegates.

“The electoral law forbids exclusion. An election can be re-ordered because of exclusion, it is a major sin that the law forbids“, he told newsmen.

He said though political parties have the right to produce candidates, such rights must comply with the electoral laws and the party’s own guidelines.

“If the guideline is not followed in the process of producing your candidate, that candidate cannot see the light of day.

“So the ultimate right of any party is to follow your rules in producing your candidate”, Shaibu said.

NAN recalls that Ighodalo defeated about nine other candidates including the Deputy Governor of the state in the election.

He had vote 577 votes to become the candidate of the PDP in the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state while his closest rival garnered one vote.

The Chairman, Edo PDP Primary Electoral Committee and Gov of Dauda Lawal Zamfara declared him as the winner of the exercise.

However, in a parallel exercise, Shaibu was declared winner of the election.

The returning officer, Bartholomew Moses, declared: “during the counting of this primary election, Philip Shaibu has a score of 301 votes.

“Therefore, I hereby declare Philip Shaibu as the authentic elected candidate for this election in the PDP.” (NAN)

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POLITICS

APC ‘ ll Record Overwhelming Victory in Edo Governorship Election- Ganduje

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Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is almost certain that the party will win the Sept. 21 Edo governorship election, going by the qualities of its candidate Sen. Monday Okpebholo.
Ganduje said this on Saturday in Abuja when he presented the certificate of return to Okpebholo, saying that there was a need for other aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory in the state.

He said that direct primaries were held in 192 wards in the state with records and video evidence, adding that Okpebholo was declared winner because he got the highest votes.

“The full cooperation, harmony and unity of all aspirants and members of our party is all we need now to win Edo in the coming election now that the primary is over.

“The party has a product that is refined, well packaged and sellable to the electorate in the person of Okpebholo and is therefore ready to win Edo,” Ganduje said.

He said that other aspirants had since congratulated Okpebholo as the party’s candidate.

Mr Nze Duru, the party’s Deputy National Organising Secretary while presenting the committee’s report to Ganduje, said the primaries was adjudge nationally and internationally to the the most peaceful, fairest and transparent in the state.

Okpebholo in his remarks, called on other aspirants who contested the party’s ticket with him to join forces with him to ensure that the APC win the Sept. 21 governorship election.

Also speaking, Sen. Lucky Imasuen one of the aspirants who contested the party’s ticket with Okpebholo said the National Working Committee (NWC)was hard working, sincere and fair in the handling of the Edo primarily election.

He commended the APC Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee for a job well done, assuring that the other aspirants would work hand in hand with Okpebholo to ensure APC’s victory at the poll.

Reports says that Dennis Idahosa was initially declared the winner of the Edo Governorship Primary Election on Feb. 17, by the Gov. Hope Uzodinma-led Governorship Primary Election Committee.

The APC NWC however, upturned Idahosa’s election and declared the election as inconclusive.

The committee slated Feb.21 for a supplementary election and replaced Uzodinma with Gov. Bassey Otu of Cross River as chairman.

Otu while declaring Okpebholo as winner of the supplementary primaries, said he got 12,433 votes to defeat 11 other aspirants in the contest.

Okpebholo currently represents Edo Central at the National Assembly(NAN)

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Edo 2024: Patience Key Emerges PRP Governorship Candidate

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Patience Key on Saturday emerged as the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) candidate to fly the party’s flag in the September 21 governorship election in Edo state.

Key was adopted by the party members and delegates in the primary election that took place at the PRP secretariat in Benin, and witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In her acceptance speech, Key expressed her profound gratitude to the PRP for entrusting her with the monumental responsibility.

She said that their confidence in her vision and capabilities was an honour and a call to action.

“As we stand on the cusp of historic election, I am reminded of the immense responsibility that comes with this trust.

“We envision an Edo state where economic diversification will fuel our growth in agriculture, technology and tourism.

“We envision an Edo state where every child will have access to quality education and every citizen will have access to quality healthcare and economic opportunities,” she said.

Key, who said the empowerment of women and Youth would be critical to her human capital development strategy, added that there would be an opportunity for women to participate in governance.

She, however, promised to leverage on Diaspora expertise by tapping into the wealth of knowledge and expertise of the diaspora community to develop the state.

According to her, “As we gear up for the governorship election, I call upon each one of you to stand with us.

“Together, we can realise a vision of Edo State that is not only rich in natural and economic resources but also in the talents and potentials of its people,” she added.

Reports says that Patience Ndidi Key is a healthcare professional, an entrepreneur, a strategist and President, Nigerians in Diaspora Chamber of Commerce.

She was a former chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisations, Americas (USA) and she hails from Igueben local government area of Edo State. (NAN)

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