FROM IKHILI EBALU, BENIN CITY
The immediate past Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), General Charles Airhiavbere (Rtd), yesterday, said that Edo State must not continue to remain in the opposition but aligns with the party at the federal level for the rapid development of the state.
He disclosed this while declaring his intention to contest the 2024 Edo State governorship election before the people of Oredo ward 1of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benin City.
General Airhiavbere said that reclaiming the state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) back to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a task that must be achieved in the coming governorship election in the state adding that the state is known as the heartbeat of the nation and it must maintain that toga.
“So, I have contested election in Edo State to lead Edo people to a land of prosperity, a land of safety and a land of infrastructural development and that is why, five days after I retired, 2011, I joined the party at the federal level at that time.
“I could not have just been leaving the army and I come to Edo State and face the opposition.
“I contested seven months after I retired, I contested and I won the party’s ticket of the PDP with eight other people that contested against me, seven months, because my programmes were laudable, they were clinically explained that these were the programmes I have for the Edo people.
“In 2016, I left the PDP and join the APC because that was the government at the federal level. I have always insisted that Edo State remains under the federal government because this is the heartbeat of the nation.
“How can the heartbeat be in another party and then you still say it is the heartbeat of the nation? It doesn’t work like that. And that is why we discovered few days ago, I was hearing that those who even came for PDP programme spent over six hours coming from Akoko-Edo to Benin.
“We cannot continue like that , we must trust the government at the federal level and we must key in, that we return this state to the APC government, is a task that must be done and that is why I decided to throw in my cap into the ring
“We must be prepared. For a political party in opposition, I have experienced it. I have been in both sides be in opposition, being in government and I know what it is”, Airhiavbere said.
Airhiavbere said that APC as a party must field in its best candidate which himself represents and that he needs the support of all the party faithful to actualize his political ambition.
“Some people are saying there should be zoning and there should not. You can only zone what you have and if you don’t have a daughter, you can’t give your daughter hand out in marriage.
“You can’t go and borrow and that is why APC must present the best and the best is standing before you.
“In 2016, we contested, Obaseki was the flag bearer of the APC and we supported him, 2020, we had a consensus that produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and that is why when I decided to come out, I said it is the turn of General Charles (GC).
He said he can be trusted with leadership roles having demonstrated that in the NDDC.
“The changes in NDDC took place last few days of August , where I was the last immediate past Executive Director, Finance and Administration where I spent Eight months, there was an effective change in the system to make sure that the nine Niger Delta states, for which the NDDC was established, have a new direction and I can tell you, those last eight months were eight years in operations to make sure that the policies for which NDDC was established was reshaped and redesigned. I can tell you, this exactly what we have done.
“This is an opportunity for me to give you my scorecard of what we have done in NDDC. I got there, we didn’t have an approved budgets from 2021, 2022 and 2023 and these are things we put in place in less than five months of my staying in NDDC.
“The welfare of staff became our main focus to make sure that we have a working force to carry out this new policies and as at the time, we were leaving in August, promotion exams have been done for two years, letters of promotions have been issued, trainings have been done to make sure that everyone is equipped , the platform was fully strengthened for continuity of policies. I can assure you today, that NDDC is a bride to foreign partners, to investment partners and that is what I intend to bring to Edo State”, Airiavbere said.