Thomas Sadoh, a journalist, is the governorship candidate of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) in Saturday’s election in Edo State. He speaks with BANJI ALUKO on his chance, plans for the state, among other issues. Excerpts:
HOW do you hope to overrun the big parties such as the APC and the PDP? Are you in this game for real?
People have asked me these questions and I want to say that I’m in this game for real. People have asked if I will collapse my structure for another candidate. Why should I collapse my structure for anyone? Journalism is my immediate constituency and I have many friends there. Instead of collapsing my structure for anyone, I rather will call my friends in the media and inform them that I am withdrawing from the race. The so-called big candidates are my friends and I have friends in their parties. If they think they can tie my relationship with them to anything, I’m sorry then. I’m here for real business and I’m not going to join forces with anybody. To answer your question about how I will contend with the so-called big parties, I want you to know that the size of the party will not determine the outcome of the election. We, on our side, are not looking at their sizes and we have not seen anything big about the big parties. The only thing we are praying for is that INEC, as they promised, should give us a level-playing field. Once that is done, many people will be surprised about the results of the election.
What structure has your party to challenge some of the established parties in Edo?
The ordinary man on the street is part of my structure. That civil servant, who has not received his salary for some months, is part of my structure. Those worker in Egor Local Government Area, who have not received salary in about 18 months, are all parts of my structure. The market women and unemployed youths are my structure too. Watch out, the so-called big parties will be shocked on Saturday.
Is it not correct to say that those components of your political structure that you talked about are not your exclusive preserve as some other candidates are also talking about them?
The faces you see in the so-called big parties have been there a long time ago. It is only in Nigeria that someone will write that he is a politician when asked to write his profession. Our people are tired of these people and they need a change, the real and positive change. That is what I stand for. I’m not talking about the kind of change that has brought hunger to the people.
What is your assessment of the present government in Edo State?
I think the governor has done is own and is about to leave office. I think things could become better. If he was really excellent so to say, I don’t think we will have the number of complaints that we are seeing today. I think if he is very popular, I will not have the huge number of people who are following me now. He has done his part, it is now left for people like me to pick it up from where he will be stopping.
What are the key components of your manifestos?
If you ask some candidates, they will tell you they have seven-point agenda, two-point agenda, and so on. I only have one agenda, which is to ensure that the lives of the Edo people are transformed for the better. I want to ensure that Edo man smiles. This could be done in different ways, but the point is to ensure a better life for Edo people. I want to start with the women.
I want to bring them to the system instead of the men telling what the system entails. Women empowerment, as it is being done now, cannot really take our women anywhere. I also want to get the youths off the streets into better ventures. It is not about putting youths in Ring Road and the parks that you are creating jobs; job creation is not about cutting tickets at Ring Road or New Benin. I want to train and empower the youths so that they can contribute to the development of the state.
What is your motivation for contesting this election; as a practicing journalist, did you just wake up one day and felt like the next thing to do was to contest for a governorship election?
I have interviewed the big names in the political system and I have since realised that they only make unrealistic promises; talking for talking sake. I’m a young man and I know what youths are going through. When it is time for elections, they are called youths and after elections they are called thugs. I am not comfortable with that. I know the pains of the youths, hence I’m interested in giving them quality lives.
It appears you do not believe in zoning since you are from the Edo and the outgoing governor is from the Edo North too?
This is one area I keep faulting the judgment of some people. The most important thing is what the candidate has to offer. We shouldn’t sacrifice meritocracy on the altar of zoning; it is not going to do us any good.