A former deputy governor of Edo State, Reverend Peter Obadan spoke to journalists in Benin on the chances of the candidates of the main political parties in forthcoming governorship election in the state. HENDRIX OLIOMOGBE brings some excerpts:
SOME paeope have raised concewrning what they perceive as the decision of the erstwhile national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to bring Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2016 and now Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. What is your take on the debate?
Really, is he the one bringing Osagie ize-Iyamu? No. He’s not the one bringing him. The leadership of the party met and said we needed a change. Who then falls into that is a different issuee. And this time, he (Oshiomhole) said that people should go and sort it out because he didn’t want to be involved so that it will not be said that he brought X, Y and Z. Don’t forget that we have fantastic aspirants and they were all individually qualified to defeat Obaseki. But there were certain things we did put into consideration. We said the last time this man fought the election, and we were told he lost. But certain people claimed he won. And if that was the case, it was a sin for which you don’t only need forgiveness, you need restitution. So, it was on the strength of that, that we now turned our attention to him. And you know in God’s programme, delay is no denial. And when it happens at God’s own time, it’s sweeter. So, it was only delayed but he was not denied. To us therefore, Pastor Ize-Iyamu is coming at the right time and the people are going to find joy because when the righteous rules, the people rejoice. There is peace in the land; there is prosperity in the land. Look at the reign of Obaseki; it is one quarrel today, one problem tomorrow. Among the political class, we’ve never had peace. So, he’s become a problem; sowing seeds of discord.
What stands Ize-Iyamu out that you think will sway votes in his favour?
He doesn’t discriminate. And he had looked at it again across the state; we have, yes, other religions. You have the Muslim settlements here and there. There is need for this cooperation so that we can have peace. To build that foundation for peaceful co-existence, he decided to pick a Muslim as his deputy. So, he’s a planner; he’s not looking at today, he’s looking at tomorrow. So, he’s building a foundation for co-existence between the Muslims and the Christians.
But how about the need to disabuse people’s mind about the negative things Oshiomhole said about Ize-Iyamu in 2016?
Yes, it may not have left the minds of the people, but the good thing is that when they find Comrade Oshiomhole in association with Pastor Ize-Iyamu, I’m sure they will be keen to understand the game of politics. It’s a game of wit and you have to do everything to defeat the opponent. So, if I can talk to you to convince you in a manner that will cause you to vote for me, and vote against your opponent, I will. Nobody sermonises on the field of politics.
With his defection, Obaseki appears to have strengthened the PDP?
Strengthen the party? What about when Pastor Ize-Iyamu left the PDP; did that not weaken the PDP? It did! The PDP became non-existent when he left. So, he’s just gone into the PDP to pick the remnant that Ize-Iyamu left. And I can assure you that before the election, the governor will look back and will not find his followers. Those who are still making noise, who are still shouting Obaseki today, it is because they know he has some three or four months to go. So, before the election, they are going to say;‘wait a minute, we have nothing more to gain from this man; it’s time to take our decision.’
What is your view on the speculation that people of Edo Central senatorial zone have resolved to vote the Obaseki, with the expectation that after him, it would be their turn?
Yes, that is the deceit in Edo Central that when Obaseki finishes four years, an Ishan man will take over from him. What do they think Shaibu is gunning for? Obaseki has promised Shaibu that he is going to hand over to him. Let no Ishan man deceive himself. So, if Obaseki wins today and he hands over to Shaibu, Ishan is looking at 12 years before they can attempt to bring a governor. They will not even have a deputy during Shaibu’s time if it works for them because he’s going to pick a deputy from Benin, which Ogie, the Secretary to the Government is waiting for. So, they have arranged themselves. You know, certain people are being fooled to say oh, we want to be next after Obaseki. But Pastor Ize-Iyamu is a man of his words. He will be fair to the Ishans.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE