*No agreement on power-shift to Esan in 2024 when Obaseki joined PDP
By Clifford Ndujihe,
Chief Charles Idahosa, former Commissioner for Information in Edo State and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview, speaks on, among others things, the politics of Edo and the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki at the Federal High Court, Abuja, in the certificate forgery case brought against him by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
I am not a lawyer but as a layman I knew all the while that there was nothing in the case and it is futile. I wasn’t expecting any surprise. I want to congratulate Governor Obaseki, the PDP and the good people of Edo State.
I also want to congratulate the judiciary for standing on the side of justice. Adams Oshiomhole is the cause of all these problems and tension in the state.
During the governorship election, he was bragging that Obaseki will not be re-elected; that he was going to use federal might to remove him from office. A lot of people fell for that and at the end of the day, over 42 people resigned from Obaseki’s cabinet few days to the election.
It is very important that Edo people now know who Oshiomhole is. After serving as governor for eight years, he still wants to hang on to power by dictating to us who will occupy positions in government.
I think our people will learn their lessons. Oshiomhole has distracted Governor Obaseki enough. We thank God that the judgement has proven that the governor went to a proper school. All his certificates are genuine. At least, Obaseki can now focus on his electoral promises. Those trying to distract him will not succeed.
It was clear as daylight that that the ticket was faulty. We know all the attempts made by their counsel. They transferred the case from Benin High Court to Abuja. They brought it back.
They said the judge that was handling it in Abuja was too close to Wike. They transferred it again to the Chief Judge. They used all kinds of delay tactics so that they could partake in the election. Now the election is over and they have been humiliated and decimated – they had no candidate.
The people that nominated them; there is a court judgement that their secretariat was illegal. I don’t see it as a victory. They struggled to partake in the election and we beat them with over 88,000 votes.
There is no crisis whatsoever. Just look at the time he constituted his cabinet in his first term. Was there any crisis then? You see, people just try to create problems where there are none. There is no crisis whatsoever.
The APC said he (Obaseki) was not good enough. This was a man that they cheered and hailed for four years. But he went to the PDP. We are grateful to the PDP. Within a short time, their internal mechanism was moblised.
They already had about four formidable aspirants that were ready for the ticket. We came, they saw the viability in Godwin Obaseki and they gave us the ticket without any election. They all stepped down. So, we appreciate that. There is no problem; he is just taking his time.
There are lots of things that we will not make known to the media that he is putting together in the government. A lot of things went wrong. So, that is what he is really trying to clear before forming a cabinet, not that there is a problem.
I will tell you the truth, it is not smooth. But you have to understand that nobody likes to lose a position. By the time we came into the PDP, they already had standing executives such as local government chairmen, party chairman and others.
And when we left the APC, we had the chairmen of the party in the state, we had local government chairmen and they are now nothing in the new place they have gone to. The people that came with us are now saying, ‘where are we now?’
We are not going to force the PDP to remove their chairmen and then you take over. What we are trying to do is negotiation. We are still talking. We are hopeful that we can do something that will favour those who are with us. We don’t have a major problem.
We won the election in cooperation with the PDP, so we are very happy. The PDP is back in government after about 12 years. So, we will sort it out. It is just that human beings don’t like change.
Some people who were ward chairmen were turned into ordinary persons and not because they lost an election. We are trying to dialogue. It is not a major crisis and at the end of the day, we will get there. As I speak to you, we are talking.
Oshiomhole created a lot of problems within the APC, but we thank God that the PDP welcomed us. They gave us the umbrella when we were looking for succour and we are not going to be ungrateful to them.
But at the same time, we need to negotiate terms because a lot of PDP people are ready to work with us. But we don’t want a situation where many will be so desperate they will go after Obaseki. It was when he was disqualified that we made up our minds to go somewhere else. So, what we are having now is a normal reaction. We will take care of it.
There was nothing put on the table. Whoever told you that was lying. Is Orbih (Dan), the state chairman at that time, from Esan? There was nothing as a condition to say when we come, there is an Esan agenda.
Godwin Obaseki, as APC governor, had a soft spot for Esan and always believed that there should be fairness in everything and not because he went to the PDP. An agenda that after Obaseki, it would be Esan; nothing like that was discussed in all the meetings that were held.
I am a leader of the party. We will look at the most viable candidate when the time comes. But nobody is thinking about that now. The year 2024 is still far off. A lot of things will happen. So, nothing has been talked about; the agenda of Esan or whatever.
If you watched Obaseki closely during his campaign, he never mentioned anything like that. So, I don’t think it is true that there is an agenda of a particular tribe. When the time comes, we will look at all the candidates that show interest with fairness, because we are all one.
The beauty of Edo is that every ethnic group in the state takes something from the Bini background. So, we are not strangers; we are all Edo people. Among the Edo people, you speak Bini; you speak Etsako; you speak Esan. So, we will look at it and make a decision but we are not talking about that now.