Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State on Monday put partisan politics aside to celebrate the 80th birthday celebration of immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Uche Secondus, who described Oyegun as a national leader led PDP chieftains that graced the occasion
Other PDP chieftains present at the event was The Esama of Benin Kingdom Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; former Governor Lucky Igbinedion, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih and other state executives of the PDP.
National Chairman of the APC and former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was however absent at the event as at press time.
Speaking at a thanksgiving mass held at the Saint Paul Catholic Church, Bishop of Archdiocese of Benin, Rev. Fr. Augustine Akubeze, described Oyegun as one of the few former governors ‘who is living out his faith.’
Father Akubeze said Oyeyun did not join politics to fool the electorates but to convince the electorates.
Akubeze, who urged political leaders to respect constituted authorities, said they should know that anybody who wants peace must work for justice.
On the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly, Akubeze urged Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki to meet and discuss on ways to move the state forward.
Akubeze said Edo people saw Oshiomhole as a leader who aligned with the poor and Governor Obaseki a technocrat who believes in rewarding merit and ensuring that the resources of the state are used for the good of the people.
According to Akubeze: “The quality of leadership Obaseki is providing is commendable. We see your works on roads in all the three senatorial districts. We see your work in schools. You have continued the good works of your predecessor.
“Edo State needs men like Obaseki and Oshiomhole to come together for the good of the people they love so much.
“We have seen political crisis because of the issue in the Edo State House of Assembly. What is surprising to many people is that we have never seen an intra -party crisis of this level.
“All elected members of House are of the same party and yet the state is in the news for the wrong reasons. We call on all leaders to embrace the call for peace and justice.
“We commend the state government for observing the rule of law by using judicial procedure to seek vindication of its rights.
“The people of Edo State are interested in the dividends of democracy. They want good roads, portable water, job opportunities.
“They want security of live and properties, opportunity for everyone to develop potentials. We want to call on Oshiomhole and Obaseki to discuss ways to move Edo forward.
Obaseki, who insisted that there was no issue between himself and Oshiomhole, said he has met with Oshiomhole and that efforts were being made to resolve issues created by third parties in the state.
Obaseki assured that efforts were on in pursuit of peace in the state.
He announced that the soon-to-be-completed Civil Service Training Centre would be named after Chief Oyegun, for his contributions to the development of the state and the country at large.
According to him: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Minister- designate, Dr. Ehanire Osagie, said Oyegun deserved all the accolades and being celebrated having achieved what many people dreamt of.