National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has predicted that the APC would win the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“I expect nothing less than victory in Kogi and Bayelsa states; who is the other party,” he said.
On complaints that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State had not done well for his people, he said “If you don’t have complaints in politics, then there is no democracy so we only pay attention to the noise in the market because we have so many apples, oranges and various fruits of different characters but there is one thing that is consistent, this is a market of many branches; and this is the broom; they will come together as a bunch to sweep clean all the debris of the past, that is it, we are going to win”.
”On the Esogban of Benin, Tinubu noted that though Chief Edebiri was no longer a partisan politician, politics is still in his DNA.
“We thank God for you, for a meritorious life and service to humnity. “You are a true leader with integrity and you have carried yourself with honour” he said and prayed for long life for Chief Edebiri, just as he prayed for God’s guidance and blessing for the people of Edo State.
In his comment elder statesman and nationalist, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, urged Nigerians to continue to fight for the economic independence of the country which he said was the second phase of the struggle after independence.
He explained that Chief Edebiri had proposed economic indepedence when unexpectedly, the British colonialists agreed in 1957 to grant Nigeria independence in 1960.
Yakassai said Chief Edebiri was among the few statesmen alive who fought for Nigeria’s independence.
He said Nigeria has the largest market in Africa and the struggle is to make the market benefit Nigerians.
“We should struggle to make sure the market serves the interests only of our people. We will continue until victory is achieved.
“Chief Edebiri believes in the unity of his fatherland. There are only few of us who are still alive, who can beat their chests that they fought fearlessly for the independence of this country, Esogban is one of us. We fought for Nigeria to be independent unexpectedly the British agreed in 1957 to give us independence in 1960. Most of our leaders were not prepared; we did not expect that the British will agree to give us independence at that time but they agreed so we now sat down and said after independence what next, Chief Edebirir was one of the young people in those days who said after political independence, the beginning of economic independence should start now. Unfortunately we have not achieved much in this regard but the struggle continues, we will continue to fight for economic independence of our country”, Yakassai said.
Also speaking, former governor of Edo State and National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said there are many people who may be 90 years but only a few are healthy like Chief Edebiri.
He recalled how he was introduced to the Esogban of Benin sometime in 2007 when he sought to become governor and how he (Chief Edebiri) adopted him and presented him to the Oba of Benin, adding that he remained indebted to the institution of the Oba of Benin for the support he received as governor.
The former Edo governor said he would use any available opportunity to empower people from Benin Kingdom.
He recalled how Chief Edebiri before the last general elections helped solved problems within the APC. “Chief Edebiri speaks truth to power, never afraid, never bending it, it doesn’t have to be convenient, he simply says it. I am forever indebted to the Omo N’Edo Uku AKpolokpolo, the institution of the Oba of Benin, the paramount traditional ruler of Edo land. You guided me, you prayed for me and by the grace of God I left without issues. I remain committed to anyhting that is within my discretion to do to uplift this great kingdom and uplift and create opportunities for men and women of this kingdom. I owe it as irreducible minimum duty so to do because this kingdom has been great, this kingdom has been kind and generous to me”, he said.
Chief Edebiri, while appreciating those who attended the event, said it was his first time of celebrating birthday since he was born and that Oshiomhole did not disappoint him as a governor.
Among the diganitries present on the occassion were the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe who was also the chairman on the ceremony.
Also present were palace chiefs and the Secretary, Benin Traditional Council, Frank Irabor; Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye; former Minister of State for Works, Dr Chris Ogiemwonyi; Minsiter of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Professor Darlington Obaseki; Minister of State for Health, Prince Clem Agba, represented by his Special Adviser, Dr Philip Ugbodaga; former Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mike Ogiadomhe; former deputy governor, if Edo State, Hon Lucky Imasuen; the spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chris Nehikhare, and others.