Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole at the weekend declared that his successor, governor Godwin Obasaki does not have the power to order his arrest or the arrest of any citizen.
Oshiomhole made the declaration while reacting to a statement from the state government that the governor has ordered the arrest of the immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC for allegedly instigating the protest against new naira notes scarcity and rejection of old notes by traders.
Oshiomhole while addressing the press in Benin said Obaseki does not know that he does not have the power to order the arrest of a citizen and that is the reason why some people have reservations about when people like Obaseki talk about State Police.
According to him, the Law is very clear on it that if a crime has been committed it is up to the security agencies to investigate and if they find someone who they think may have had the need to invite, the person is invited for questioning.
“The police have not and I will be surprised if they have now degenerated to taking orders from a politician who is faced with the crisis of confidence and the people have been voting against him.
“There are huge issues of the legitimacy of his government and he thinks that he can order police to arrest whoever he considers to be his political opponent.
“So it is unfortunate, but I thought that you Media people would have asked him and if you did not remember it is not too late to ask him, “Mr. Governor so Comrade also caused the riot in Warri where Okowa is the sitting governor, Comrade also caused the riot in Ibadan, Oyo State, Oshiomhole also went to Kwara State to organize protest in an APC State, So but if you did not ask him maybe you have your reason.
“But let me say that Obaseki is a victim of his own double standard. He says one thing in the morning he does another the following day.
“I think Obaseki after embarrassing the Central Bank Governor, Emefiele, when he accused him sometime last year or the year before of printing hundreds of billions of Naira to share for states by way of Federation Account and that Emefiele’s policies are going to destroy the Naira even as he admitted that the money was being shared to state Governments.
“After his initial reaction I think he realized that election is coming Obaseki needs cash and who will give him this cash, oh yes the person who has given him before, he took over 20 billions from the Central Bank in the name of Agriculture.
“You as Journalist ask Obaseki to show you where the farms are. He has taken those money and converted them for other purposes and of course he is obliged to refund those money and so he has to do things this time to look as if he is suddenly a man who has been abusing Federal Government, abusing Buhari, abusing anything Federal suddenly, decided that a policy that I have denounced even as former chairman of APC and I did not denounce it secretly, I denounced it on Channel Television.
“In the cause of campaigning when I hear people they complain to me about the challenges they had I have never hesitated in denouncing it and I will continue to denounce it because it is not the Policy of APC and I can’t be afraid to say the truth.
“So Obaseki wanting to make money out of this hardship suddenly become pro CBN Governor, defending anti- people policy where your people are groaning and he has made the wrong assumption that Edo people do not know their right from their left.
“After all it is part of his misdemeanor and MoU and all the other stuff that he use to divert people’s attention which they are manifesting now and even degenerating to a level like a mad man trying to re-loot the Artefacts that the Oba of Benin has been struggling for years to have repatriated to Edo State, back to the Palace where they were looted many years ago” he alle.
The APC Senatorial candidate for Edo North in the forthcoming election also charged to play their role by interrogating those making allegations.
According to him, “I think the Media has a duty to interrogate those making allegations at least it will not be too much of a reporter to ask a Governor or anybody making alligations to at least attempt to show evidence or some kind of logical basis to arrive at such conclusion.
“I had a privilege of being a Governor in this State for 8 years and I have sufficient interest in the peace and stability of this State.
“As you can see from my own experience governors will come and go but the people remains and if there is one man who has enjoyed the trust and confidence of Edo people I think it is my humble self because I am on record as the only person in our history who won election across the 18 Local Government Area of Edo State scoring 75.6 percent of total vote cast even as I ran that election against a retired General who is said to have deep pockets.
“So if the people have extended such recognition and respect, and entrusted me with our collective patrimony to manage their resources in a manner that will deliver happiness smiles and do the greatest goods to the greatest number of our people as they did for 8 good years the least I owe them is to do anything and everything that is within my power to ensure that if nothing else they enjoy peace.
“But let me also say it that I have led protest to Edo State even before I became a governor at least on two occasions, I led massive protests to Osadebe Avenue, the seat of Edo State Government when I was President of the NLC, we had tens of thousands of people buying into that protest but it is on record that not one person was injured nor one person having his property or her proper destroyed.
“It is on record that I have been a victim of PDP rigging machine in the election that was conducted on the 14th of April 2007, I led protest across Benin in which tens of thousands of people protested and there was no violence.
“So I think it is not in the mouth of Obaseki, with all due respect to his very high office to throw allegations without attempting to show any proof.
“First and foremost I think we all have a duty to pray for the repose of souls if those who died, I don’t have the figures there are conflicting reports as to who died and how many people died, if people died, but whatever anybody has suffered I think it is unfortunate because most of the people who were fell either by the police bullet or those banks that were destroyed or any other properties destroyed belonged to people who are also victims of these policies.
” As far as I know the banks are also victims so, destroying the banks is not a solution, but I am a believer in the right of citizens to protest, there is difference between protest and rioting.
“I can’t count the number of protest I have led in my life from the age of 17 / 18, protest have been my life fighting for justice and at 70 I am not about to stop it.
“When I was governor here there were protests I go to the gate of government house to address these protesters, there have always been attempts by people to hijack but when a governor behave responsibly and address the needs of the people, give them the assurances that they need from their leaders the people are not fools and that is why when I was here as governor it is not as if there were no policies from Abuja or even from Edo State Government that some people didn’t like.
” The important thing is that a governor or a leader must be able to win the heart of his people and talk them out of bitterness and above all give them hope that whatever are the challenges that they face that the government is in a position to do something about it this is what government should do” he further declared.