The Edo State government has warned all political parties in the state to comply with its gazette that regulates political gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying there won’t be exemption for any of them.
The gazette provides that political gatherings above 20 persons must be approved by the Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and must be held in a single facility in Benin, the state capital.
The Classic International Magazine was reliably informed that the state government have ruled out exempting any party from complying with its gazette that regulates political gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic as parties prepare for their primaries in view of the state’s gubernatorial election in September.
Speaking on Tuesday while receiving the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ehwujakpo, who is in the state for his party, PDP’s ward congresses, Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, commended PDP for following the guidelines in the gazette and urged all other political parties to follow suit.
Section 2 of the gazette provides that for political parties desiring to field governorship candidates, gatherings of more than 20 persons may be allowed subject to written approved by the governor, “if such gatherings:
“(i) do not exceed 5,000 persons;
(ii) hold in Benin City and in a single location with a large seating capacity of not less than 10,000 persons;
“(iii) are provided with adequate health, safety and sanitary facilities, and
“(iv) are COVID-19 response compliant with social distancing policy, hand-washing and proper use of face masks fully observed.”
Shaibu said the regulations would help in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and keep Edo people safe.
“We got a letter from your party, PDP, requesting to make use of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for its primary election. Governor Godwin Obaseki approved the request because the party obeyed the rules and regulations set by Edo State Government.
“I, therefore, use this opportunity to tell other political parties to obey the gazette in the state, which is now a law.
“Just as you have obeyed, we are asking and calling on other political parties to obey the law. Any political party that disobeys the law will not hold its primary election in the state as the gazette must be respected.
“The life of Edo people is more important than the political ambition of any politician or wishes of political parties. We need to be alive to play politics. We need to live to vote and be voted for in the election. The rules to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the gazette must be strictly followed to keep Edo people safe at this period.
“Development does not have a political party, neither does progress. But parties exist to act as vehicles to actualise the wishes of the people in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We would fight for the development and progress of Edo State. No element or person will stop our progress because Edo people come first in the agenda of this administration. We will stand against anything that will stop progress and development in the state,” he stated.