Edo State Government Tuesday denied the allegation making round that it planned to borrow the sum of N20billion from the capital market for the purpose of the forthcoming September 19 governorship election in the state.
The government’s denial came on the heels of a protest by members of the Joint Forces for the Defense of Democracy (JOFDES) yesterday in Benin City.
The protesters had alleged that the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki plans to obtain another loan of N20 billion from the Nigeria stock market.
The protesters described the alleged attempt by the state government to borrow the money from the capital market as a calculated plan to mortgage the future of the state
Osemwengie Isere, who led the protest to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo Council noted that Edo state has the second highest domestic debt profile in the country behind Lagos state.
“We have the highest external debt in the entire South-South with an external debt profile of $257.92 million as at March 2020.
“Apart from the few renovations of already existing infrastructure, we have not seen any landmark or gigantic projects the government has done with funds accruing to the state.
“We therefore find no justification for the government’s desire to acquire another N20 billion loan few weeks to the governorship elections in the state,” he said.
But reacting to the allegations, Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Media and Communication Strategy accused the state leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the mastermind of the protest.
Osagie, who denied the alleged plans by the State government to borrow such fund, opined that the people of the state cannot be distracted by the antics of the opposition party and its candidate in the forthcoming September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state.
“There is no such thing as N20 billion debt proposal by the Edo State Government, and Edo people cannot be distracted by such wild claim.
“In a bid to distract Edo people from his ongoing trial in court for a N700 million fraud allegation, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has resorted to sponsoring protests over non-existent issues.
“It is ridiculous that on a day the APC candidate is billed to appear in court after several efforts on his part to stall his prosecution, he comes up with a bogus claim of a non-existent debt proposal, and pay people to put up a protest around the court premises”, he added.
He said Edo people are too intelligent to be swayed by such tantrums and staged drama of the absurd being displayed by the APC candidate and his sponsored protesters.
On his part, John Mayaki Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council and spokesman of Pastor Ize-Iyamu said, “We do not sponsor protest and we do not claim to control the minds of the Edo people.
“Once again, the government is trying to deflect attention and distract the people and the press from the real issues,” he stated.