Chris Nehikhare is the publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State and deputy chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation. In this interview by Banji Aluko, he expresses confidence that the PDP candidate, Ize-Iyamu will win the September 10 governorship election in the state and further speaks on the manifesto of the PDP candidate among other issues.
What are the plans of the PDP governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for Edo State?
Pastor Ize-Iyamu, unlike the other governorship candidate, has documented his plan for Edo State in a document called the Simple Agenda. In Simple Agenda, you have the campaign manifesto of the PDP candidate well documented and itemized. The Simple Agenda is the covenant between him and the Edo people. The material has been well circulated all over the state and has been well read by all and sundry. In the years to come, Edo people can pick up the printed material and see if he is keeping faith with what is contained in the Simple Agenda. The book makes assessment so simple unlike the other candidate, who has been mouthing his manifesto without any agreement with the people. The Simple Agenda is the agreement between Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the Edo people.
This revolutionary working programme is built on a holistic foundation that Pastor has consistently strengthened by his assurance that the people of Edo State and by extension the country at large should hold him responsible and vicariously liable for the implementation of the content therein if elected as governor on September 10, 2016. The Simple Agenda, which thousands Edolites are buying into, will bring about a new era of good governance, open up spaces hitherto hidden from the people and provide a human face that is dedicated to the overall welfare and uplift of the people. He will work together with the people with renewed vigour, tenacity of purpose for the benefit of all Edolites, without bias. Unlike the APC candidate, Pastor Ize-Iyamu is not tied to the apron strings of one puppeteer and the citizens of Edo State know this.
What do you mean by saying that someone is tied to the apron strings of one puppeteer?
Keen watchers of Edo politics know Governor Adams Oshiomhole is trying everything possible to make Godwin Obaseki his successor. Whereas Godwin Obaseki is the APC candidate, the campaign mode invented by Oshiomole has cast Obaseki as a political surrogate, proxy or stand-in for an Oshiomhole who is seen by an overwhelming majority of the electorate as seeking a third term through the back door or his anointed “brainbox”. The accelerated and frenetic pace of the Oshiomhole driven campaign mode is powered by fears that he has to cover his flanks preparatory to vacating office.
This new posture is accentuated by the discovery that the candidature of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu signposts the reality on the ground that Obaseki’s ambition to be the governor of Edo State is still-born and unrealisable. This discovery has prompted Adams Oshiomhole’s constant staple of laying all manners of accusations and blames on PDP and Pastor Ize-Iyamu. In spite of this deliberate recourse to lies and vile propaganda, the people of Edo State have begun to see the current government as symptomatic of crass pillage. This is one of the major factors that will rule the September 10 governorship elections in the state. What has baffled many Edolites is the fact that the governor and his crony, Obaseki, employ threats and insults instead of issues to run their joint campaigns and this has alienated a larger mass of the people.
Anyone that has had the “misfortune” of listening to the campaign tantrums and ribald ripostes of Oshiomhole, especially as he had assessed the waning acceptance and dwindling political capital of his Man Friday, Obaseki, may come away with the feeling that the “King Pago” of Edo politics is telling the people the truth considering his exalted office. Oshiomhole exudes lies wrapped in the shroud of the gospel truth. He interrogates the truth and shrink-wraps it with a film of hardly discernible lies. For effect, Oshiomhole embellishes them with unrelated matters or issues to drive his skewed point’s home.
Where is your confidence that the PDP will win the September 10 election coming from?
I have no doubt that the PDP will win the election. It is no gainsaying the fact that Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki are political and economic Siamese twins that introduced a draconian regime of harsh tax and other inhuman economic measures, that made many firms either to divest or instigate capital flight. A high percentage of market women, commercial drivers, owners of macro and micro enterprises and so many other businesses are labouring under a daily yoke of multiple taxation, levies and outright extortion through the numerous local and state demands on them to obtain tickets.
Despite the subterranean efforts of Oshiomhole to paper over the open wounds brought upon Edo by the programmed imposition of Obaseki as the APC governorship candidate, the concretisation of the intra-party feuds has affected the cohesion the party needs in an election of this magnitude and importance. The way and manner Oshiomhole imposed Obaseki with unequalled impunity, still rankles the other aspirants and their followers whose lot was further worsened with the attendant imposition of Philip Shaibu as Obaseki’s running mate.
One big factor that will determine where the pendulum will swing on September is the nagging issue of the governor’s disdain for the Esans (Edo Central), where his late wife hailed from. It is common knowledge that the Esans were deliberately shoved aside in the choice of Obaseki’s deputy, even when the PDP, in its wisdom, chose Hon. John Yakubu from Esan North East as running mate to Ize-Iyamu. The Esan people, for instance, are prepared to pay back by voting PDP.