Several towns and local government headquarters, including Benin City, the Edo State capital, have been agog since yesterday as Governor Adams Oshiomhole formally hands over to Godwin Obaseki today.Obaseki of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who won the governorship election September, would be sworn in today.
Sokoto State Governors Aminu Tambuwal; his Bauchi counterpart, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar; former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba; and business mogul, Aliko Dangote, were among the early dignitaries already in Benin for Obaseki’s inauguration.
And at a thanksgiving service at the St Paul’s Catholic Church last night, Oshiomhole, in what was his valedictory speech, commuted the death sentence on four condemned prisoners to life imprisonment.
He also pardoned two persons, a male and a female, who were serving seven years jail-term for impersonating him and a personal assistant to his wife, promising to assist them in their education.
Apparently referring to the deposition of the traditional ruler of Uromi, Anselm Aidenojie, over alleged attack on a woman, Oshiomhole said even as a Christian, he believes that God will only forgive those who beg for forgiveness.
He also cited his altercation with a widow a few years ago, where he used derogatory statements on her, but on realising that he was wrong, invited her to his office and “assisted her to open a shop, so that she won’t be tempted to trade on the streets again and then gave her a job to support her family.”
Apparently making reference to the deposed monarch, he said the Bible also confirms that anybody who offends, “be you a traditional ruler, a chief to your subject and to anybody for that matter, nobody is above the law and even with what the Bible preaches, you can only forgive those who ask for forgiveness.”
He also said that in every community, traditional rulers owe the people enormous respect, but in a situation where the ruler slaps a woman and blood was coming out of her and such a monarch was compelled by government to apologise to the victim and he did not do so, but chose to invite the same victim to his house and make her to kneel before him, even when he was under suspension, is unacceptable.
He lamented that such action was even recorded and broadcast across the world through conventional and social media.
Oshiomhole insisted that until the monarch apologises to the woman and the government, his present status remains.
Tambuwal and others, who arrived the Benin Airport about noon on the same flight, were among the first set of dignitaries in town for the inauguration.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai later joined them about three hours later.
The governors, in company of Oshiomhole, later commissioned roads projects in Abudu, Orhionmwon Council; 2nd East Circular and Upper Lawani roads, both in Benin City, among others.
Oshiomhole would formally bow out today after the inauguration of Obaseki by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Cronwell Idahosa.
As part of activities to wind down his government, Oshiomhole had since Monday been inaugurating a number of projects across the three senatorial districts.
Some of the projects, which were inaugurated by President Muhammad Buhari and Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, include the 200-bed space Central Hospital; Siluko road; Samuel Ogbemudia College; Arinze Primary School; Edo University, Iyamoh, among others.
Oshiomhole also announced yesterday the appointment of four new permanent secretaries.