Oshiomhole: Our government has touched every part of Edo
Governor Adams Oshiomhole rounded off the campaigns for the Edo State governorship election with a media chat on his expectations.
The Guardian reports.
We’re Set For Victory
How prepared is your party for Wednesday’s governorship election?
We have been prepared long ago. Actually we had what we call our final mega rally on the 6th of September, because for us, we were ready for the 10th. Even the postponement was more of additional challenge for us. I believe people have already formed opinion as to what they will do. I have gone round the state and everywhere we have gone to, what has made our campaign easy, which is the burden that the PDP has, is that there is no ward in this state, the 192 wards, where we are not able to list the projects that we have done. The question I ask, before we tell you what the next APC government will do, we have a duty to account for the support, the mandate you have given us these past eight years. Then we tell them, when the PDP come to you ask them what they have built in this wards or Local Government.
What are your aces in this election?
On our side, they can see what we have done and also the fact that our own candidate is not a stranger in government and we are not just picking him from the road to go and lead us. He has been at the heart of the basis of progress in our government. Our candidate was the Head of our Economic Team, so from day one till today he has been the brain box. So you will, on one hand, look at APC and our track record and PDP and their disastrous record, look at the fact that Ize-Iyamu was central to the PDP administration under Lucky Igbinedion.
Everybody in this state knows that Ize-Iyamu was the resident governor while Lucky Igbinedion was the flying governor and they know the outcome. The two key issues in this election is that our people want continuity of the Ogbemudia, Oyegun, Oshiomhole and then Obaseki legacies, which has brought light to our people.
Security was the key reason the INEC gave for shifting the election to 28th September; are those concerns now sorted out?
Though governors are chief security officers but we don’t control the army, police or the SSS. But I think the point made by security agencies for the postponement, which many people did not listen to due to their fixation, I think they were trying to say that they have committed themselves to deploying as much as 24,000 policemen to Edo state for the election.
By the special grace of God one man one vote will prevail and we will defeat them.
You have been fighting the Edo political godfathers, now they say you are attempting to become the new godfather. Is that correct?
I believe my war against godfatherism has been won and lost. The fact that today the opprobrium and angst against Igbinedion on the street of Benin, on the streets of Esan land, in Edo North is proof that they have been defeated. For me there is nothing personal against anybody, I do not have anything personal. But I am committed, even by training and my background, to fight those who think that it is their birthright to feast on the blood of others; to privatise the peoples’ common patrimony. But I think Edo people are now aware of the real reason why they are campaigning.
The other godfather from Esanland went to the Enogie for support, that they should not allow me to cause them shame as an Esan elder. The Enogie reminded the Chief that when Ekpoma produced Ambrose Ali he collaborated with others to remove Ali as governor. He also asked Onolemenme that as Minister of Works, you have never visited any Enigie in Esanland and the only small job you did was only in Uromi. That you did not see Ekpoma as part of Esanland, you did not see Opoji as part of Esanland, you did not see Irrua or Ewohimi as part of Esanland, but the Comrade you said marginalised us, constructed a major road in Ekpoma, we have built several primaries schools in Ekpoma; we have built secondary schools there, constructed road linking Irrua to Usigbenue, to Ugbegun, Ugbegun Ujuoba, Igueben to Ewohimi, Ewihinmi to Ohordua, Ohordua to Emu. We have provided water in Ekpoma, Iruekpen even in Anenih’s village Uzenema.
Then you go to the other man, Chief Ikimi. We thank God that he has returned to where he belonged because he was in PDP. He said he was cheated and frustrated out of PDP and he joined APC. And because he wanted to be national chairman of APC, but everybody in APC said no. When he was the leader of our party in Esanland, our party was never able to win Igueben where he comes from. We have always lost there because of his one-man show. The moment he left for PDP, we have continued to win election in Igueben. Today he is being represented in the House of Assembly by APC lawmaker. Today we have connected Igueben to several communities. The reason why these people are after us is that we refused to make governance a personal property.
There is this fear that the current economic recession may affect your party in this election, do you agree?
It will not affect us because Nigerians understand the root cause of the present economic recession. The PDP here are using that against us but it will not work. If you look at the argument, I have listened to most people and commentators about the economy, one of the things they blame the Federal government for including the Emir of Kano, is that the Federal government delayed the devaluation of the naira, that they should have allowed the naira to start floating immediately they came in because they knew that the economic fundamentals could not sustain the official exchange rate that General Buhari inherited. But President Buhari was relunctant to oblige these proponents of devaluation because he knew what the immediate consequences will be, namely; that when an economy is so hopelessly dependent on imported food, when you devalue the currency, the price of imported items including rice will go up and that is what has happened.
Now after pressure from these economists, the CBN caved in and the naira was floated and it suffered heavy devaluation. And once that has happened, anything that is imported, the price goes up correspondingly.
So you cannot blame this government for this high cost of product because it is the result of the devaluation, which across the divide, the establishment economists have argued that the naira should be devalued. Because they argued and I believe correctly that because of the huge gap between your in-flow of forex and your out flow, your in-flow has dropped considerably, not only courtesy of the drop in oil price but compounded by the sabotage of our pipelines, which affects not just the price, but also your volume. When your foreign earnings is far less than your import, there is a lot of pressure on the exchange rate and if you refuse to devalue and you allocate dollars to bankers, the bankers simply sells the dollar at the black market rate. So in bowing to this public pressure from various economists of both side of the divide, the naira went into a fluctuating regime, which has led to huge devaluation and, of course, the consequence is that anything you import the price goes up to the extent of the devaluation.
But that is not PDP’s problem?
You cannot but locate the foundation of this problem from the looting, which even these same people had pointed out. Sanusi raised alarm about billions of dollars that were never accounted for under the PDP. And you know for raising that alarm he was punished and was removed as CBN governor. What Sanusi did not know then was that money was taken from CBN directly to the NSA’s office and shared to PDP leaders and they are all confessing today. So we are explaining to the people – and this is the truth – that the PDP created this problem with their looting.