Odaro Ize Omoregie is one the APC leaders in Edo State. He speaks with BANJI ALUKO on how former Governor Adams Oshiomhole and some others destroyed godfatherism in the state and some other issues.
It appears all is not over with the conduct of Edo State governorship election as the PDP has gone to court. Do you have any fear and is it true that your party tried to avoid being served necessary tribunal papers?
Edo State at the moment needs to move on. We need to consolidate on what we have achieved over time. OsagieIze-Iyamu was part of the ACN and APC governments and knows what has been achieved by these governments. I find it very disturbing that instead of accepting defeat and looking beyond certain interests, they are pushing a case at the tribunal. Is it not funny that Ize-Iyamu and the PDP are saying that election was rigged in the 13 local government areas won by the APC and that everything was okay in the five local government areas presumably won by them. These are not serious prayers one could demand from a tribunal. I would have expected them to say that the election in the entire state should be looked at. Going to the tribunal may not be the way forward. As a true son of Edo State that he is, he should have commended the victor and take it in the spirit of sportsmanship.
On the court papers, I find it funny that some people said the APC and Obaseki avoided being served court papers. It is absurd and a mere propaganda. PDP has always survived on propaganda, well calculated propaganda unlike the APC that is in for governance. The governor-elect is a focused man, who will not want to be distracted by cheap lies.
Are you saying the APC did not lock its secretariat so as not to be served court papers?
It is not correct, because the secretariat has been long sold by the owners and the APC is at the verge of relocation and building a modern secretariat. It is an outright propaganda and falsehood. APC would not for one minute blink over PDP’s case at the tribunal. These people know where to find Godwin Obaseki if they wanted to serve him any paper.
Now that the papers have been served, it appears the APC have no choice than to appear at the tribunal.
It is not a matter of not having a choice; I think it is high time we stopped propaganda and cheap publicity.
Legal fireworks will now commence…
Legal fireworks over which election? Have they got any locus standi to be in the court in the first place. No, because if you look at the Ondo State issue, the judgement of Justice OkonAbang has been enforced by INEC. Edo and Ondo state issues came up on the same 30 June, 2016, and Justice Abang made it clear that the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP is the authentic one. It was made clear that only the ModuSheriffgroup could produce governorship candidates in both Edo and Ondo states. So, I don’t know why anyone should be talking about legal fireworks at the tribunal. PDP should accept defeat and allow Edo people to enjoin the dividends of democracy, which Governor Oshiomhole has laid a solid foundation to grow.
So, you are saying that Pastor Ize-Iyamu has no locus standi to challenge the victory handed to Godwin Obaseki?
With the unfolding judgement over the Ondo case, I think so. I will sincerely advise him to focus on his good work as a pastor of the Redeemed Church instead of taking Edo State through this hullabaloo.
Is it the responsibility of the APC to determine who the candidate of the PDP was in the election?
We as citizens of this country have the right to comment on issues as they unfold. I think whatever affects the APC or the PDP, as a microcosm of the Nigerian state, will reflect on the efficacy of governance. The PDP leaders, as you know, considered Nigeria as an extension of their party. I think the candidate that came out of the ModuSheriff group should be allowed to have his say.
You were involved in the election of President MuhammaduBuhari and one would expect you to be given an appointment as a compensation for what some of you did. Are you not bothered that nothing seems forthcoming?
What we did was actually a nationalistic work to remove the PDP from power. Of course, here and in many parts of the world, you often get rewarded with appointments or in some other ways. It is not surprising that those who were in the trenches to ensure that Mr President got to where he is now are still on the street. I, however, still believe that opportunities still lie ahead. We shouldn’t forget that President Buhari met an empty treasury. He also promised to maintain a small government.
Some people have said that Governor Oshiomhole, while dislodging political godfathers, succeeded in turning himself to a godfather and that he might be calling the shots after leaving office, because he installed the governor and his deputy.
The emergence of Godwin Obaseki as governor and Phillip Shuaibu as deputy governor had the support of the majority of the members of the APC in Edo State. Don’t forget that a free and fair primary election was conducted. Before now, we had someone who was decided who got what in the state. This was what someone like Charles Idahosa, who resigned from the Lucky Igbinedion administration, confronted. He resigned from office and gave an expose of how the state was run. Eventually, Oshiomhole and the like of Charles Idahosa joined forces to ensure that these godfathers were put aside.