At the beautiful juncture of Nigeria’s diamond jubilee anniversary, 60 years after independence, I send special congratulations to our people. I warmly felicitate with you, on this special occasion. May joy never depart from our households.
Between 1960 and now, Edo has every reason to thank God. At independence, we were a minority, lumped with the former Western Region. But three years after independence, our own region, Midwestern Region, was created from the old Western Region – the only region so far successfully created, under a democratic government.
Since then, the journey has been forward ever, backward never: from Midwest to Bendel [shortened form for Ben(in)-Del(ta)]State; and from Bendel State, to Edo, after Delta was carved out of the old Bendel. So today, here we are!
After 60 years of independence, we of Edo have a state that fully reflects our own identity. If for that alone, we must clink glasses. I therefore rejoice with everyone, from the Oba of Benin, and our other revered monarchs, in the Edo traditional council, to the humblest of our people.
Even political differences among Edo sons and daughters, our esteemed and revered royal fathers have striven to cement our commonness. I thank them all. I promise that we will never take their love, and wisdom and striving for our unity, for granted.
At this juncture, therefore, I must rejoice with our people, the entire Edo people. I must congratulate them for our unity. I must toast them for our oneness, even if we all differ by political affiliations. Finally, I must thank them for their maturity and peaceful disposition, as we all went to the polls on September 19.
We have all played our parts as lawful citizens and unrepentant democrats.
I must also commend President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a level playing field, for all candidates, irrespective of party affiliations. At least, after the Edo election, democracy wasn’t declared to be in intensive care unit (ICU), as our PDP friends would have shrieked, had they lost the election! That is democratic spirit the president displayed during and after September 19. I pray and hope that our friends would remember – indeed, inculcate – that spirit, and wean themselves from their win-at-all-costs mentality.
But let me especially salute our members, and loyal APC leaders, who resolutely stood by us. We will forever appreciate your devotion and sacrifice. You did your noble duty and did enough to enhance our cause. We cannot thank you enough.
But then, the question is after September 19, what next? We owe you an explanation of the way forward. Indeed, not a few have been bombarding us with this question. Well, we have kept quiet so far, not because we are bad losers, as some unfairly presume. It’s rather because, no matter the situation, we are staunch soldiers of the rule of law and due process.
Suffice it to say that, with due sensitivity to the feelings of our people, we are busy collating our facts. Only after, can we speak and speak authoritatively, in the best tradition of rule of law, fairness to all and due process. We will brief you all in good time and that time is near.
In the course of our methodical approach, not a few deem to have preempted our course of action; and pleaded that we do not proceed to the courts to challenge the election results.
While that cannot be dismissed as an entirely bad plea, what I can say is that whatever action we subsequently take would be rooted in due process and the rule of law. We will exercise every right available to us under the law, given the electoral facts at our disposal.
Even as we speak, our people should know that PDP and their agents and privies have instituted 13 law suits against my running mate and I. None of them have they discontinued after the election. So, if the PDP don’t pass up their rights under the law, why should we, in APC, do so?
So, we are at liberty to pursue any legal option we deem fit, so long as the peace of Edo, our beloved homeland, is not threatened.
So, until you hear from us, I beseech our members to remain peace and law-abiding. Let us enjoy the rare pleasure of our nation clocking 60.
That diamond jubilee should glint in our eyes, even if we can’t, for now, afford physical diamonds to adorn our necks, wrists and ears!
I wish you all a beautiful and fruitful 60th anniversary.
For us in Edo APC, however, it is only morning on the long, long day of improving the lot of our people and making our native Edo far, far better in a strong and united Nigeria.
That is my pledge to you all at Nigeria’s 60th birthday – and may the good Lord make it so.
Long live our Edo people. Long live Edo State. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Signed: Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Edo State APC Governorship Candidate 1st Oct., 2020