Chief Charles Idahosa is a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state and political adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole. In this interview, speaks on why PDP may not win the Edo governorship election. Excerpts:
How has your campaign been and from what you’ve seen so far how positive are you of victory?
Talking about victory, I’m 130 per cent sure. Our campaign has been on course. We have been doing very well. Government Adams Oshiomole, like I have said earlier, is leading the campaign of Godwin Obaseki and I asked who is leading that of Ize Iyamu’s campaign. It’s so clear now that the person he worked for, the person whom he told the world he gathered his experience from is nowhere to be found. So, that speaks volumes. I am from Uhumwonde Local Government Area of the state. A few days ago, the Ize Iyamu’s campaign team came to my council area. I was shocked because they were less than 150 in number. But how they doctor things now, I think its camera work. When you see the crowd and the people you will think actually they have people. I think their campaign is non-existent. But you know, there is a little difference between ambition and obsession. What is happening to my younger brother Ize-Iyamu is obsession for the office of governor. He knows he is not doing well on the field. But if you see them, they will always boast. Ize-Iyamu’s campaign has been very pathetic because considering what they did to this state during the Igbinedion era, so they think that people can be stupid to allow PDP to return. That is not possible.
There is this fear that internal bickering may force some of your members to engage in anti-party activities that may rob you of victory?
I can tell you no. Let me tell you something. Those of us who are known and partisan politicians, who attend meetings, we are not up to about five per cent of the population. The remaining 95 per cent who are the voters don’t know if we are quarrelling or not. When it’s time for election they go on their own because they are seeing what the APC government led by Adams Oshiomhole has done.
Are you impressed with the campaign of your candidate so far?
Yes, Obaseki has learnt very fast because I keep monitoring what is going on. The first time he spoke in public you know what they were saying. The person you people brought cannot talk. I was just laughing. You think it’s easy to spend 30 years in a private sector and suddenly jump up and start addressing mammoth crowd. I said he will get used to it but I’m just seeing him dancing the different dance styles. He’s got used to it. He can deliver. He is a very brilliant young man. I have known the young man right from school. I was a couple of years ahead of him. For his age, he is very mature. He has a full grasp of what is happening. He’s a complete technocrat. He knows what he wants to do. I was reading something in one of the national papers where somebody went to criticise him with his political talks that he said he would create 200,000 jobs in four years. He said after all politicians run their mouths and that Oshiomhole could not create 100 jobs in the service. So, I called the number of the writer. The guy didn’t pick, so I sent him a text. I told him if you call yourself a columnist, you must do your research. He didn’t say he was going to recruit 200,000 people in his service. He said he was going to create employment in the Agric sector with investors that would come and in four years, I believe in him, he will do very well.
PDP sounds very optimistic of victory, what do you think they are banking on?
They are not banking on anything. They have always been like that. I came from PDP. It is very difficult for you to forget your old habit and they would say ‘don’t come here complaining, go and win the election anyhow you like and leave the rest to us.’ They are just talking trash. It is the last kick of a dying horse that you are seeing now. They will talk big on election day when we defeat them. You know what is confusing them? It is the last National Assembly election. In the last National Assembly election, a lot of people were not able to look at its outcome, break it down and analyse it.
In my village, there are over 40 Pentecostal churches. PDP gave them so much money. The churches believed the claim that if Buhari wins, he will Islamise Nigeria. So, if you look at the last election, Edo North, which is predominantly Muslim, voted pro-Muslim candidates. We won the entire National Assembly seat in that area including the presidential election. In Edo central, which is predominantly Christians, Goodluck Jonathan cleared it. Edo South that is predominantly Christians, PDP won too.
A week later, Edo people told them, ‘we know who is our man and we voted against Buhari because we are scared of Muslims that’s why we voted for Jonathan. This House of Assembly election is local, so we will vote APC.’ And they gave APC 21 House of Assembly members out of the 24. The only House of Representatives seat the PDP could not win in Edo South was Orhiomwon/Uhumwonde and that was because we were lucky the election held after Jonathan had lost. So, this was the simple pattern in the last election. All you need to do is to go round town. When I was coming to the village, my driver told me we should not take Ikpoba Hill and that we should take Upper mission road. When I saw what Oshiomhole built in Upper Mission road, I was shocked because I have not been there for a long time. It was like airport road. So, are you telling me the person in upper mission will vote PDP? You can imagine the PDP government then will open its mouth and tell Edo people that because there is Mammy water in an area, they can’t construct roads. I was in that government. PDP has no chance in this election. If its leaders are boasting, let them boast. Obaseki is the next governor for Edo. I don’t know what you mean by an edge. God has said it; He cannot allow evil people come back to steal again. They will lose more votes now than in 2012. Just go and mark it.
What about the factor that Ize-Iyamu’s APC connection?
Ize-Iyamu being in APC before cannot give him victory. We have heard all of this before. Pastor was in APC, there is nothing new about it. Yes, he was one of us but now he is not. So, do you think I will now call a meeting for example in my ward and say ‘let’s vote PDP.’ Most of all these stories are targeted at members within the APC against a particular member. So, how are you going to do it? You want to tell your people to vote against their party? I don’t believe in it. You need to see the speed with which people are defecting from PDP now. I don’t think PDP has a chance in the state. People say ‘change the change.’ They don’t do their research. What are you changing the change to? The looting before? You want to change to what happened to this state 10 years ago? I told some of their leaders during the campaign, don’t say Oshiomhole has not done anything. Just say what you can do. Nigerians based in Benin are seeing a walkway for the first time in their lives. They have never seen it before. You can only see it abroad but it is now in Benin. The people are not stupid. Unknown to them, the people in PDP are business men. They are very smart. They know how to deceive people; they know they are not going to win. But they see it as an opportunity to make money. They have said all kinds of things, but I just think that they are frustrated and there is nothing for them again. I will even like to find out who actually is their candidate because we have Pastor and Iduoriyekemwen. We don’t even know who our opponent will be. They are in disarray and they can never be in this competition.