Charles Idahosa was special adviser on Political Matters to former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. In this interview with PATRICK OCHOGA, he bares his mind on the political crisis rocking the state
As a notable leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Edo State, what are you leaders doing to end the crisis between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole?
If you recall, the last time I called on Oshiomhole to resign for embarrassing the people of Edo State and APC as a party. For a national chairman of a party to lose five states, five governors to the opposition, to now come out to say his period was a success, is an insult to the sensibility of Nigerians.
And for Oshiomhole to lose Edo State as a chairman, lose presidency and shift blame on Obaseki, meanwhile the feat accomplished by Obaseki was never achieved by him. Twenty four over 24 was a referendum on Obaseki, the nearest by Oshiomhole was 21/22. I seriously feel bad that he can now come out to tell us that after losing five states to the opposition, he has succeeded after one year as chairman. In Zamfara and Rivers states, we could not even field one candidate.
And that where we in Edo South find ourselves, the biggest zone, it is a shame that our people who are in the majority are hobnobbing to harass the governor of the state so that the progress of the state will stop, so that development of the state will stop and this is very sad.
To control a people, you make them lose confidence in themselves, to be ashamed of their history. Just imagine, 90% of those launching arsenal against Obaseki are from Edo South, it is very unfortunate and the people of these senatorial districts should think back and have a reawakening. Since my last interview, there is no reply from them. There is nothing Oshiomhole did not do in Edo, he impeached Garuba Zakawanu with eight lawmakers, he removed the roof of the house.
In a recent interview, the reporter asked him ‘do you have issues with the governor’? He said since the governor said there is none, there is no issue. This is not how a statesman should talk; he should be able to say what the problems are. The irony of all this is that nobody has said Obaseki is not performing or working, so what is the problem?
We understand that there are overtures from the PDP for Obaseki to decamp. How do you see it?
It is expected. The opposition are making moves on how to snatch him so that he can go to PDP but we are not surprise, the whole idea is for him to fail so that the development will stop. Oshiomhole did eight years and nobody interrupted him, all the people who brought him he paid them with ingratitude. We now know those doing this thing for money. Oshiomhiole’s junior brother, Seid, is all over the place on how they are collecting millions of dollars and naira. He’s recorded voice is everywhere; everybody in that tape has been identified. He mentioned it that the Senate President, the Speaker come to hold meeting with them everyday at the expense of the development of Edo state. I want to say we are waiting for them, let them bring the money. I gave the warning the last time and I want to give it again that if by error of omission or commission Obaseki is pushed out of the party, APC is dead in Edo state.
The issue in the house of assembly is very clear; we know who is beating the drum. The question is that why is Oshiomhole interested in who becomes the Speaker when he is no longer the governor? When he was governor nobody chose for him. The truth of the matter now is that we now know what is happening, thanks to Seid Oshiomhiole.
Some people are of the view that Obaseki is an ingrate despite helping him to become the governor against more popular aspirants. How do you react to this?
Those trying to portray Obaseki as an ingrate don’t really know the true story and it is very strange to me because a lot of people don’t have the information of what is going on so I need to throw light on that. When you start a story from the middle, it is not a proper story, he made Obaseki, he made Obaseki, I am aware Obaseki went to Eghosa Grammar School where I knew him as a school mate but I can’t remember him telling me he went to a tailoring institute where they must have met. But I do know that they met before Oshiomhole became the governor and I have it on proper record that Chief Osene Elama made the meeting possible, he took Oshiomhole to Obaseki while he was working on how to be governor. Obaseki brought all the people to do a launching of what I will call the seed money, hundreds of millions of naira to pursue his ambition, coincidentally against me because he ran that ticket with me. So, it hurts me when I hear Oshiomhole helped him, Oshiomhole helped him, who helped each other first? Captain Hosa Okunbo, Tunde Ayeni, are the people who packaged this things together. He, Oshiomhole, had no dime. After Obaseki raised this money for him, the Igbinedions, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, all moved in to put in their money. So, tell me out of all these people who is Oshiomhole’s friend today? Who has he shown gratitude to, so this story that he made Obaseki, is not true. Obaseki made him and when he won Obaseki gave him a blueprint on how he would run Edo state, he couldn’t understand the blueprint and he pleaded with him to come and be the chairman of his economic team so that he could run the state.
Obaseki came to Benin and worked as the chairman of the economic team for eight years without a kobo for allowance, he did it pro-bono. Oshiomhole himself said that on many occasions that he was the brain box and spanner of his administration. This tag that Obaseki is ungrateful is not true. Why can’t he leave the governor to run the state to his ability, like he did? A situation where everybody is clapping knowing that what is happening in the state House of Assembly is improper. I remember when we took over government, we were nine ACN members in the house of assembly. The first budget prepared by Oshiomhole, the house rejected it, the condition then was that Anenih should approve it. Oshiomhiole, Zakawanu and Phillip Shaibu went to Abuja; like the real headmaster, the late Anenih brought out his red biro and cancelled many things he didn’t want. Oshiomhole came back with his marked scripts in red biro all over it. He (Oshiomhole) called me and spread the paper before me saying I have never being this humiliated like this in my entire life and he explained all that happened in Abuja. Oshiomhole said I’m crippled and asked what can we do now? I said we have to fight and that was how we fought and liberated ourselves from godfatherism that he is bringing back today. At that time Anenih had four commissioners in Oshiomhole government and I told him let sacked the commissioners and Oshiomhole said no. I told him he can’t be doing this to us and we leave his commissioners and by Monday, the commissioners were sacked after I addressed a press conference. He Anenih summoned them to Uromi to go and tender their letter of resignations and was it. What I’m trying to say is that anything Obaseki does, people try to read meanings to it but it was Oshiomhole that trained him, he thought him how to fight godfatherism and that is what the man is doing. He told him not to take any nonsense from anybody; he is just following his footstep. One good turn deserves another, the first person that gave the good turn was Obaseki but most people do not know that.
Now, what is the way out of this imbroglio?
President Muhammadu Buhari nominated the Senate President and the Speaker. He said I want Lawal. I will not accept Ndume, I want Gbajamibiala and it was done. The way members emerged in Edo was transparent, the same Oshiomhole took the House of Assembly members to Government House and started passing laws inside Government House, there is need to look at ourselves and tell ourselves the truth.
For so long, we have been bought cheaply, everybody is looking for appointments at the national assembly and our representatives cannot even say the truth because they believe that he will be the one to tell the speaker who to put there. History has a way of repeating itself.
When Oshiomhole took over the House, over 14 of them including the present speaker ran to Abuja too to go and meet Anenih but when the money was running dry they came back nobody is going to stop them from inauguration. What was done is very legal. Oshiomhole was the first person who sold Obaseki to me and as I speak he has not told me why he doesn’t want Obaseki. The candidate we brought, people like him and are clapping for him but Oshiomhole is angry. Other political parties are hailing him, PDP is hailing him. So, you people need to ask him. But all I get is that I have collected money.