… threatening legal action over Billboard destruction
By Simeon OSAJIE
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Deputy governorship candidate in the Edo 2016 Gubernatorial Election, John Yakubu today, Thursday 11, 2023 appealed to Governor Godwin Obaseki to urgently stop the wanton destruction of political billboards in parts of the state by suspected political opponents.
Yakubu made the call at his campaign office in Benin City, Edo State capital during a press conference to draw the attention of the state government and Edo people to the destruction and removal of his billboards across the state, saying the ugly situation if not checked could result in unavoidable political crisis in the state in the forthcoming governorship contest for 2024.
Yakubu said the action which he described as ‘distasteful and reprehensible’ is capable of heating the polity and further create the emergence of a dangerous and dictatorial tendency inimical to the practice of democracy.
According to the governorship aspirant, “I have cause to address you this morning in order to bring to the notice and attention of the good people of Edo State through you the emergence of a dangerous and dictatorial tendency inimical to the practice of democracy, which among others, guarantees free speech, freedom of movement, freedom of association.
“Some days ago, we observed with dismay that a number of our billboards which we paid for and caused to be placed along Airport Road, Ikpoba Slope and Ikpoba Hill had been removed illegally. On enquiry, the advertising company that handled the transaction on our behalf told us that the removal was ordered by a very top Edo State government official who was angry about the message contained in the billboards.
“We find this reprehensible, irresponsible, distasteful, high-handed and a dubious attempt to hold down our modest efforts to reach and sensitize the good people of Edo State on our message of hope, our message of ‘Edo of Our Dream is Possible.’
“The message did not canvass for votes neither did it seek to promote the interest of any political party. The messages have not violated any electoral law. It merely says ‘Edo of Our Dream is Possible’, and that has put them on a panic mode because they know this is exactly what the good people of Edo State are yearning for.
“It has become clear from this action that the alleged top government official who is also rumoured to be nursing the 2024 gubernatorial ambition became alarmed and frightened at the speed at which we have succeeded in convincing the Edo State people in our little way that the dream of a better Edo is indeed possible.”
Yakubu who noted that the race to the 2024 Edo Governorship election has not began in earnest, solicited the state governor’s intervention saying, “We will like to call on Governor Godwin Obaseki to rein in this his top official in order not to create a situation that will result in unavoidable political crisis in the state as we march towards 2024.
“We are also calling on all Edo State people of goodwill to speak out on this matter as it portends clear and present danger for our politics as we approach the 2024 off season Edo State governorship election,” Yakubu said.