Edo guber: There’s consensus to return Governor Godwin Obaseki for 2nd term –Iduoriyekemwen
Honourable Matthew Iduoriyekemwen was the Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, a former NDDC Commissioner and two-time governorship aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but he is now the chairman of APC mobilisation Committee in the state .
As the chairman of Governor Godwin Obaseki‘s faction of the APC saddled with the responsibility of mobilising and reconciling members, what is your assessment of the governor’s performance?
Actually, I was appointed with other members of the party and we are about 41 in number. In carrying out our duty of mobilising members, we also talked to people who are members of the party that may have one grievance or the other. As we speak, the committee is still working.
The job is to mobilise people for a political party and for them to believe in our ideology and aspiration.
The job is made easier because of what the government is showcasing in terms of achievements. So it has been a little bit easy for us because the government as it were is doing well in the area of trying to repositioned the state economically through infrastructure, building of capacity and strengthening all aspect of the state.
Either through agriculture, health or education, the government is just putting solid foundation in place that if we as Edo people come together in the next 45 years outside of Lagos and Ogun state, I don’t think there is any state in this country that would be ahead of Edo in terms of industrial development and building of capacity of the workforce in the state.
People like us want Obaseki to come back and consolidate on what he has done. Edo people have reached a consensus that Governor Godwin Obaseki should get a second term in office.
If you look at everything the governor is doing right now and if the pace is sustained without any distraction or interruption, the GDP in the state would increase massively and there would be more inflow of development. So, for me, that makes the work very easy because, in most places we go to, you can point at one projects or the other that is ongoing. The governor as a technocrat doesn’t believe in making noise but he believes that results will show and today that is very obvious for the people of the state and a lot of people want him to succeed.
What is the assurance that the crisis in APC will end and that aggrieved members will settle issues amicably?
Talking about crisis, you should also know that in basic economics in secondary schools, they tell you that human needs are insatiable. A lot of people are driven by ambition. They want to be governor. You all know I had wanted to be governor; I had gone for governorship primaries twice in the PDP before joining the APC. But the main reason I wanted to be governor is to see that the state is properly positioned both in infrastructural development and economic growth.
Why I am not interested in governorship at this time is because Obaseki is already doing some of the things I would have done as governor, and even surpassing them. In some areas, the governor has contacts because of his background that I didn’t have so it is normal for me to allow him explore those things and maximize the potential that he has in developing the state but sadly other people don’t see it that way.
They just want power not that they are going to do anything differently. For some, their ambition over becloud their sense of fair judgment; for them if they cannot get it lets destroyed the family house but for those who are reasonable, even if there are issues within the same family, the best thing is to secure the house first from external aggression before coming back home to reconcile and reunite everyone, instead of opening the doors for invaders to come and take over simply because you want to be the head of the family house.
I think every genuine member of the APC in Edo should go beyond personal political ambition and look at what is the best for us first as a party, and for Edo people. I have reached out to so many persons on the other side, but what they tell me as far as I am concerned is just personal. When I joined the APC, I didn’t ask the governor to do anything for me, what is important to me is to see a better Edo State; we don’t want a distraction for the government.
But don’t you think some of the complaints against Obaseki are genuine?
It is all about personal interests, and not for the interest of the Edo people. Counting on his wealth of experience in government, Obaseki did not waste time to separate politics from governance, and this did not go down with some politicians. There was resistance even from governor’s own political family especially those inclined to maintaining the status quo. The days of politicians wanting to milk the state at the detriment of the common man are gone. Those on the other side fighting the government don’t mean well.
The question we need to ask is whether Obaseki is doing what is acceptable to the majority of the people, and the answer is yes. But some of them have made it look impossible to close ranks and like I said, their entire quarrels are personal. You see, when you make political quarrel personal as if the man has killed your wife, then reconciliation becomes difficult.
You do not expect that things would be done the same and expect different results, everybody want politics to be played the way they are used to. Government is not doing so much and few persons are being empowered at the expense of the vast majority of our people, making few persons billionaires and the same persons do not have investment in the state to accommodate unemployed persons.
Our ways of thinking has to change if we want Edo State to progress. For people like us that are above 50 years of age, we are already on our second half of life and in actual fact, how many of us can live up to 90 years? Most people they say lived well died at the age 80 or 90, so the proper thing to do is make sure that those coming behind us find it easy.
If you eat your seed yam in the time of planting, don’t expect anything during harvest. I think what Obaseki is doing now is planting the seed yam instead of eating it, we must have foresight for our children and future. As far as I’m concerned, Obaseki has done enough to consolidate what he has done so far.
W ith the political forces against Obaseki, how confident are you that he would pick the APC ticket?
Well, with this Covid-19 pandemic and if INEC did not change the plan, I do not see how the governor will not win the primary either direct or indirect because party members are those going to vote and the votes are going to be counted.
Nobody is going to seat in one place and results would be written somewhere and sent unless they don’t want to have APC anymore in Edo. You must also feel the pulse of the citizens of this state. Who will make election easier for us to win; it is either the governor or no other person.
Who are those persons that we are hearing so far that want to become the candidate of the party?
Looking at the genuine membership of the party because I have been going round, the governor will win the primary with a landslide.
Are you not bothered by the forces in EPM?
Well as far as I am concerned, Edo People’s Movement (EPM) is not APC, they are still members of the APC and I don’t want to use words that make it impossible for us to reconcile with them. I still see them as people that will become reasonable at some point to see the need to consolidate on the gains of the party. Like I said earlier, all they want is power; they don’t have anything new to put on the table. In their campaign they tell you; ‘when I become governor I will respect party leaders’, where did Obaseki disrespect party leaders?
‘When I am governor I will make ‘Agbero’ (touts) that have been driven away come back’. Who wants to live in a society dominated by ‘agberos’?
We don’t want to be like those Israelites that say lets go back to Egypt? Who wants to leave decency for dirt? Who are they?
Somebody was a commissioner and for some reasons, the governor decided to reshuffle his cabinet and your responsibility are taken and new people are brought to inject fresh idea and the next thing is for such commissioner to team up with people and start fighting the governor. People should know that the mere fact that you have an appointment doesn’t make you better than others. A lot of people have more capacity than you. It is just an opportunity. Do you know the population of Edo people with better qualifications that don’t have the opportunity to serve for 12 months? So, when people talk about the other side, I say they are those fighting for stomach infrastructure.
What will you do if Obaseki lose at the primaries?
How is that possible? Are they going to write the results from the sky? It is party members that would vote.
What achievements has he to show to win a second term ticket?
I am surprise you are asking me this question. There is so much the governor has done that even the blind can see and the deaf can hear. Let’s look at the basic ones; before Obaseki, how was movement in places like Ring Road, Ekiosa Market, it was almost impassable, were there no government then in Edo state? Was it that the governors didn’t have capacity or power to do it? They lacked the courage.
Today, we have a clean and organised city centre. Look at the road to my village in Amagba, the government has done the road and it takes less than 10 minutes, same thing with St. Saviour road. Edo is the largest construction sites in the South-South. Look at the quality he has brought to our education, yes, we already have red roof but the red roof doesn’t teach students, now we have to build capacity of the teachers to deliver modern educational tools. In the area of agriculture, the state is today accessible for investors.
Is it the industrial park, Azura or Ossiomo power plant? In the next one year, Edo people will enjoy full electricity. Today, we have night flights in Benin City with about five new planes coming into the city. Obaseki’s achievement are so numerous and glaring. Those who say they want to be governor don’t have the capacity and I am far better than them. People like us want Obaseki to come back and consolidate on what he has done. In case you do not know, Edo electorates both at home and in the Diaspora have reached a consensus that Governor Godwin Enogheghase Obaseki should get a second term in office. This is to ensure more gains and consolidation.