Chief Dan Osi Orbih is the immediate past Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State and has just been elected South-South Zonal chairman of the party. In this interview with FRANCIS ONOIRIBHOLO, he said PDP has already taken over Edo State Government House by divine intervention and will remain there and consolidate after September 19 elections. Excerpts:
What are the Edo people expecting with the emergence of Governor Godwin Obaseki as the PDP governorship candidate?
Edo people are expecting victory for PDP in the next governorship election.
Many people are describing Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as a political machine, how are you seeing him as a person, as a former PDP member as a former governorship candidate, as your personal friend and now that you are going to lead the onslaught against him for the September 19 election, how are you seeing his machine?
Well, you have qualified him as a former member of PDP, as a friend, as a former school mate and what-have-you, but in the present situation I see him as the candidate of APC and PDP have their own candidate in the person of the governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. When two teams are in the football field until the game is over, they apply seriousness in the game to ensure that they come top. So in the same manner, no matter how you want to qualify my relationship with Ize-Iyamu, we are now in the political field and our primary objective as a party is to ensure victory for PDP at the election in Edo State. This is one election that is very important to me in my new responsibility as the Chairman of the South- South Zone and you know what I mean. You know before now Edo State was the only state outside the umbrella of comfort, they were holding the broom but now the governor has in his own wisdom decided to leave the broom to join the umbrella, so he is now under the cool comfort of the umbrella. I can assure you that our immediate responsibility is that having taken over the government of Edo State where you can rightly refer to Edo State as one of the PDP governed state, I can tell you quite frankly that we will not let that go, we will retain Edo State under the umbrella of PDP at the coming election and we will pride ourselves as the first geo-political zone under the rising clamour for a change of government at the Federal level, we will be able to pride ourselves as the first political zone that will complete the circle of having all the states within the zone under the PDP, that certainly is not going to be a mere feat but it will set the road map for PDP winning back the Federal Government as we approach the next presidential election.
Some people are apprehensive and their apprehension is based on the fact that the governor’s candidacy is going to be difficult to market especially to you who is going to command the troop, how do you see his candidacy?
I don’t know what you mean by some people are saying he is going to be difficult to market. For every product taken to the market, the owner of that product have the responsibility to market the product. You don’t expect another person to come and market your product. Let us get to the point where we will have reasons to sell him as our candidate to the electorate and you will be able to see why we are putting him forward as our candidate. The unique thing about this election is that the candidate of the APC was our candidate in the last governorship election. Now the opponent who won the election is now our candidate, so you can see that this is quite a unique political engagement. When engaging in native wrestling, if it is by bending down to grab the leg of your opponent that will make you defeat him the first time, you will not necessarily need to change tactics. The psychological impetus, that psychological feeling that we have gone into the same contest before and I had the edge and I became the winner of that election will be an advantage to our candidate and I do not want to start telling you the salient points that we will use to market him and win the electorate completely to ourselves. You see it takes courage for a man to be in a political party and having realised that, that party cannot be a vehicle to bring about the desired change and development for his people he has decided to take a step forward to join the trend that will bring this country back to the good old days. People are beginning to look back what it was when PDP was in government and what we have experienced in the APC led government and there is no doubt that Nigerians are beginning to talk, Nigerians are beginning to see the need to come together under the umbrella once again to give Nigerians the type of government that will be sensitive to what they need.
The level of insecurity, the hardship and everything that we are going through as a nation today I don’t think it can be worse than what it is now. In fact, Nigerians are beginning to fear that the present pandemic is not just affecting the people on the medical side they feel that today we are experiencing political coronavirus because what we have in our hands is that those who are in government to bring solutions to the problems the country is going through at the moment do not have solutions to it. It has become like coronavirus that has no cure or solution. Their inability to fix Nigeria is like a political virus in their hands and they have no solution or cure to the problems of Nigeria.
Why going into the campaign and into the election, don’t you consider the federal might as an advantage to your opponent?
You can say whatever is your definition of federal might, I can tell you our strategy for this election is to align with the people of Edo State, we are going to have the might of the masses and when you have a mass movement it becomes unstoppable in a political contest of this nature. The soldiers, the police, the security agents that may be deployed to maintain law and order during the elections they have brothers and sisters who are civilians, their wives, the members of their family they go to the same market you and I go to, they are very conscious of the difficulties of our time and I can assure you they will definitely join the majority of our people to resist any attempt by anybody to subvert the will of the people.
Are you still making any move to bring back those of your leaders who defected with along with Ize-iyamu to the APC?
We do not discuss strategies on the pages of newspapers but you can feel the mood of the people, the clamour generally by Nigerians is that they want PDP back to government because they have seen the years of PDP in government they have seen the good things they did while they were in government and they are yearning to bring PDP back to government so that they can have those good old days back again. You can see it is like a wind of change. On Thursday we were together at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and the process threw up governor Godwin Obaseki and in other states people are decamping even those who are in government they are decamping to PDP, I am aware the current Deputy Governor of Ondo State has since jumped out of the sinking ship and he has since taken cover under the umbrella even in Katsina, the President’s home state, they are dropping the broom enmasse to take shelter under the umbrella because they are no longer secured under the APC. The people are now taking positions and I believe at the end of the day, it shall be well with us