Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the battle against his government stems from the decision to stop thugs empowered by the political class from collecting revenue and intimidating private businesses.
Gov. Obaseki said this on Saturday in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists at the Annual Convention of Usagbe Club of Nigeria with the theme: “Guiding the Youths Towards Positive Impact on the Community.”
He said the thugs had formed an alternative government before they were dislodged. “If you understand what happened in Edo up to 2006, the non-state actors had become empowered by the political class. They were collecting revenues…they were an alternative government, they constituted themselves into an army that was used for political activities.
“It is a kind of a crisis we had to deal with because we had to remove these thugs from the streets, from collecting revenue, from intimidating private businesses; which we’ve done successfully. “Part of the issues you see in Edo today is a fight back by such class of people, but we were very encouraged by the reactions of the citizens.
We don’t want thugs on our streets in whatever guise, with whatever cover,” he said. Obaseki, who dismissed the reported rift between him and the National Chairman of the ruling APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said his government had to focus on law and order, strengthen the state and its system, especially the weak areas.
He said the recent cabinet shake-up was an outcome of the need to review his government over the past few years. “I don’t have a feud with the national chairman. There are political issues in Edo which have been resolved. And as far as I am concerned, they are not major issues. Earlier, the President of the Club, Mr. Tony Akiotu, said the role of the youths and the need for guidance could not be overemphasised. Akiotu lauded Obaseki’s administration for dealing with youths’ recalcitrance, and decried the state of insecurity on old Auchi to Agenebode road.