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HomeOpinionForget Oppositions Gimmick, Ighodalo is The Game Changer- Asekhame

Forget Oppositions Gimmick, Ighodalo is The Game Changer- Asekhame

Toba Owojaiye reporting
Benin City, Edo State

In Edo State’s political climate, Dr. Asue Ighodalo’s rise, endorsed by the Asue Ighodalo Movement (AIM), signals a game changer.

Hon. Dan Asekhame, a prominent figure and the architect of AIM, detailed the group’s objectives and explained their unalloyed backing of Ighodalo in a private discussion with a group of journalists, including reporters from Truth Live News.

While addressing the insidious insinuations propagated by political adversaries, Asekhame vehemently rebuffed attempts to misconstrue the clarion call for continuity as a repudiation of progress. Drawing upon the palpable transformation witnessed under Obaseki’s stewardship, he decried the myopic misinterpretation of their advocacy for building upon Obaseki’s foundation.

In a blistering rebuke, Asekhame castigated detractors as purveyors of wilful ignorance, asserting that the litmus test of Edo’s resurgence lies in steadfastly upholding the mantle of continuity.
These were his exact words

“No, they (APC) are making a joke of themselves. The last one they brought out where their candidate went to one waterlogged area and was saying that “no vehicle can pass here now”, meanwhile as he was talking, a vehicle, an Audi 80 was passing, right there in the video, and he is opening his mouth to say no vehicle can pass. And he said he is an intelligent man? A low car is passing, and you are saying “we have to park our cars so we can use leg cross,” and you are driving a jeep and claiming no vehicle can pass here.

You are not yet a governor and you are already lying to the people. A car is passing, and you are opening your mouth to say no car can pass. That alone tells you the quality of the person APC has presented and wants to be the governor of Edo State. See, there is nothing to say about them.

As far as we are concerned, he is not a contestant in this election. Like I said before, let me repeat, they will be the first people to vote for Asue Ighodalo. How do you expect that candidate to become the governor of Edo State? Are we jesters? Are we blind people? Are we going back to where we are coming from? So, any negative campaign against Asue Ighodalo by APC is just a campaign of calumny orchestrated by comedians and jesters. They are comedians, beginning from the party chairman to the candidate of the party to the deputy candidate, they are all comedians. So, when we want to relax and laugh, we go to their platform and laugh”.

Unperturbed by the cacophony of disinformation peddled by rival factions, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asekhame dismissed their stratagems as feeble attempts at subterfuge. Dissecting their ineffectual ploys, he derided their mendacious narratives, typified by comical gaffes and patent fabrications. With an air of disdain, Asekhame relegated their antics to the annals of political farce, exuding an aura of unassailable confidence in the impregnability of Ighodalo’s electoral fortitude.

In the face of ominous conjectures surrounding the specter of federal interference, Asekhame remained resolute, exuding an aura of defiance against purported machinations. Dismissing the specter of “Federal might” as a hollow specter, he invoked historical precedent, citing the indomitable spirit of Edo’s electorate. Emphatically rejecting the notion of external coercion, he vowed to safeguard the sanctity of the electoral process, invoking a potent metaphor of severing the hand that dares to tamper with the ballot’s integrity.

He asserted that “See, that is what they are saying, and that is why they are not working. We are working day and night, up and down trying to convince the people to vote because we believe in voting and counting of votes. They are not doing anything, and relying on Federal might. I am not afraid of Federal might. ‘Federal might’ cannot come and change election results in Edo State. Tinubu will not do that.

When he contested his own election in Lagos State, he didn’t not win. They had a sitting governor, and they had the money and the influence in his own election but he didn’t win, yet President Tinubu didn’t use ‘Federal might’. So, is it Edo State that they want to come and change the result? I know they will not raise a finger to help APC to change the results in Edo State or rig election. If you heard him saying “I want Edo State, I want to claim Edo State”, he is only trying to persuade the people to come and work but they are not working. They are waiting for him to bring the Electoral Officer that they will give money to and tell him to change the result. Not in this town! Not in 2024, we’re ready for anything, nobody can change any result.

The hand you want to use to write the fake result, we will cut the hand off. We will give you a short sleeve in place of a long sleeve just the way it was done in Liberia. Do you want to rig the election in Edo State? No, now! Asue Ighodalo is on the street 24/7, our people are visiting markets, organizing rallies and going round the state, you are planning to rig the election, not here. Nothing like that will happen. We will go to any level to resist it.”.

Delving into the discourse of Justice, Equity, and Fairness (JEF), Asekhame underscored the imperatives of Esan solidarity, advocating for a redressal of historical imbalances. While acknowledging the candidacy of Olumide Akpata, he cast aspersions on his viability, contending that his foray from Edo South constitutes a strategic misstep. Grounded in a realpolitik calculus, Asekhame forecasted Akpata’s electoral obsolescence, attributing his candidacy to a mere exercise in political apprenticeship.

He said , “ We are one family in Edo State and we have said it is the turn of Esan people, even if there are only two candidates, we have said it is the turn of Esan people. Edo South has done it, Edo North has done it, only Esan that is left. Olumide does not even have the capacity to go far and so he can’t win. His coming out from Edo South is a big setback for him. He may be able to convince a few people but Edo South people are saying let it go to Esan people this time around. All he will benefit from this election is that because it is his first time, it will help to create awareness for him so that next time he comes out he will not be a new face. And LP, I must tell you is a party that is open to other parties. We go there to harvest people. PDP will go there and take some, APC will go there and take some. That is how we have been doing it”.

In his closing remarks to the electorate, Asekhame implored Edo’s citizenry to eschew the politics of subservience, championing a new epoch of governance predicated on popular sovereignty. Condemning the archetype of a pliant leader beholden to vested interests, he extolled Ighodalo as a paragon of decisive leadership, poised to chart a transformative trajectory for Edo’s socio-economic landscape.

Navigating the delicate terrain of intra-party discord, Asekhame proffered a conciliatory olive branch to dissident factions within the Legacy PDP fold. Fervently advocating for unity and cohesion, he beseeched erstwhile adversaries to rally behind a common cause, transcending internecine strife for the collective good of Edo State.

As the curtain rises on the impending epochal electoral showdown, Asekhame’s clarion call reverberates with a clarion resonance, heralding the dawn of a new era in Edo’s political annals. In the crucible of electoral fervor, the destiny of Edo State hangs in the balance, poised at the precipice of a historic inflection point.

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