By Ayo Kehinde
“We have met, me and my predecessor in office, and fortunately, we do not have any fundamental issues. And because we do not have any fundamental issues, I believe that whatever third parties are trying to propagate, I am sure we can talk over it. I assure you that very soon things will return to normalcy in Edo State,”
With these conciliatory words, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, disclosed that it is time to bury the hatchet and reconcile lingering differences over the Edo House of Assembly crisis that had dominated headlines in the past weeks, polarised the ruling APC and drew the battle lines between him and his predecessor Adams Oshiomhole and their supporters, and the National Assembly as well.
He made the disclosure on Monday while responding to the homily delivered by the Archbishop of Benin City, Augustine Akubueze, during a mass at the St Paul Catholic Church, in Benin City, to mark the 80th birthday of the first governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun.
He added, “I thank you very much for the remarkable homily. I listened very attentively and I have taken every word in your remark to heart and very seriously. I want to assure you that we are in pursuit of peace and we will have peace in Edo State.
He said unnamed third parties had waded into the crisis, which he described as skin deep.
Governor Obaseki aloft with Oshiomhole seating in a car ride to on the streets as evidence of the beginning of reconciliation.
Earlier, he had paid a Sallah visit to Oshiomhole in the latter’s Iyanmoh country home in Auchi in Edo State as well as the paramount ruler of the twon, Otaru. The Otaru reportedly described Obaseki’s disposition as a display of exemplary leadership and urged him to deploy such quality for the benefit of peace and development in the state.
On Oyegun, the celebrator, Obasekei said the state government, in line with the spirit of Nigeria’s national anthem, will not forget the labour of past heroes, which he said, shall never be in vain.
“Today we are here to celebrate our own Chief Odigie-Oyegun. On behalf of the people and Government of Edo State, I want to congratulate you on your 80th birthday,” Obaseki said
“For your contributions and what you have done for our dear state, I have decided to name the public service academy, which is under construction, after you. We know your passion for public service; we know and acknowledge the contributions you made to public service in Nigeria.
“Therefore, we have decided to name this edifice which will be completed within the next 60 days, by the grace of God, after you. President Muhammadu Buhari will come and commission the academy, with you standing beside him. It will be known as the John Odigie-Oyegun Institute for Public Administration.”
He said the Institute is on “three floors and is made up of large training rooms that will host 220 people. Two halls hold 118 people each. There are seven training halls that will host 58 people each. There is a library, a sick bay, a cafeteria and 12 offices. This facility at any point in time can hold and train a minimum of 900 people. It will be the largest facility for training public servants in Nigeria.”
Dignitaries who graced the church service to celebrate with Chief Odigie Oyegun, include, wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his wife, Betty Akeredolu; Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu; the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Frank Okiye; the Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus. Noticeably absent are APC National Chairman Oshiomhole, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC National Leader and President Muhammadu Buhari, who however sent a congratulatory message, describing Oyegun as one of the best democrat and patriot in the country.
Others are; Minister Designate, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq; National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus; representatives of the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II; former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion; Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, Commissioners, members of Edo State House of Assembly.