365 days after: Why Oshiomhole, Edo lawmakers were initially at loggerheads – Minority whip
By SIMON EBEGBULEM Benin city
Mr. Philip Shuaibu is the minority whip of Edo State House of Assembly and associate of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. In this interview, the former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) reviews the one-year administration of Oshiomhole and the relationship between the House and the executive. Excerpts:
RECENTLY, the formerÂ governorship aspirant of the Action Congress, Ken Imasuagbon, who left the AC for the PDP, threatened to sue Governor Oshiomhole for attacking Chief Anenih at the AC rally.Â What is your reaction?
Seriously, these people do not mean well for Edo people and, by the grace of God, we have a committed governor that will bring Edo out of the pit they led it to.
Let me tell you, the rally at Ewohinmi is one of the rallies to show that he still has links with Edo State. And that is why after the rally, he took the tape to NTA Channel 5 Abuja to be shown to the world. What relevance has what happened in Ewohinmi got to do with a local station in Abuja?
These are one of those fake moves to show that he is relevant in Edo State when he is not. Ken is one person that I know politically is not relevant. Ken was never in Action Congress, he was a member of ACD and a gubernatorial aspirant of ACD not AC. He was never an aspirant in AC. So his claim that he was a member of AC is one of those lies that they like telling.
The bashing that Chief Anenih received at that rally started because they went to Ewohinmi to insult comrade governor. If that rally had not taken place, the respect the governor has for him (Anenih) would still have remained.
The governor even taught us that we should never insult Chief Anenih, that we should respect him; one, as an Edo indigene, second, as an old man. The governor got to the peak of his career as NLC president, so he does not need anybodyâ€™s help politically.
I think Ken should go and face his Pacesetter School and leave politics because, even in his house, he cannot win an election. Ken said he belongs to the school of thought of Chief Anenih; this same Ken, in 2005 and 2006, was saying that Chief Anenih was not God. That no man is God.
Now the same Ken is saying that he belongs to the school of thought of Chief Anenih. I expect Ken, as a young man, to belong to the new mass movement. What we have in Edo is a mass movement and the earlier he joins the mass movement the better for him.
As the Oshiomhole administration turns one year, the opposition PDP says nothing has been achieved, that all the people have seen is demolition and planting of flowers at Ring Road?
The people are saying all that has been achieved is planting of flowers and demolition, that will tell you the level they have reached in terms of governance.
One, they have never seen beautification before, they only see it on television. But they never believed it will happen in their state, now it is happening, every where is being opened up.
Demolishing those structures alone, each time you pass those areas now, though the roads have not been reconstructed yet, you will see the beauty of Edo, the way Edo looked like in the time of Ogbemudia. The state is returning to how it used to be.
In terms of road network, Benin City has the best road network in the country. It is only in Benin City that traffic cannot hold you anywhere, you will always have an exit route. But the PDP underdeveloped the state to a level that even touts were now building structures in the center of the road. But the governor is clearing all these things now and, if you look at Ring Road, you will envisage what Edo will look like in the next four years.
If you look at Sakponba Road and Oba Market Road, you will see what the state will look like in the next four years. The governor is committed to turning Ugbowo Road to six lanes, it is not a political statement. And what you are seeing now is just a tip of the iceberge.
The major things we will do will take place this dry season. We now have walk ways in Edo State, it has never happened before. No part of Edo State had a walk way. In terms of infrastructural development, the governor is committed to it and, in one year of his government, our IGR increased to almost N1billion; people now believe in themselves and pay their tax.
When the people pay tax, they have that right and commitment to ask their governor what he is doing with their money and that is the first part of democracy that has been lacking. People are now free to go to Government House with placards on a daily basis to protest and their needs are being met.