2015 PRESIDENCY: Why Nigeria needs an alternative platform, by Hon Obahiaghon
`’What Oshiomhole taught me during the campaigns’
He was recently appointed as the Chief of Staff to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, after the victory of his boss in the July 14, 2012 governorship election in Edo State. Patrick Obahiagbon (Igodomigodo), a former Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, became a national figure while representing the people of Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He is a man of bombast.. In this interview with SIMON EBEGBULEM, in his usual way of expressing himself, he speaks on his new job, the vision and mission of Oshiomole, as well as the 2015 election, among other issues.
There appeared to be an alteration between you and the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, at the Benin Airport, when the Sultan of Sokoto visited Benin City last weekend. Can you shed some light on what actually happened?
Did you say altercation? I beg I no know book oooo (I am not literate o). But let me asseverate (explain) that my brief from the comrade governor was very pellucid (clear) and it was an executive request to me to proceed to the Benin Airport and accord all the protocols to the Sultan of Sokoto. I was to lead him to the Government House as a guest of the governor. I was also copiously in the know against the backdrop of the concatenation of colloquy (discussions) between His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, and the comrade governor that there was a consensus between the Edo State government and His Eminence that the state government was to play host to the Sultan whilst he was in Edo State. I had no difficulty therefore in executing the governor’s request with clinical finish and political blitzkriegism (alacrity).
So how has it been transiting from a lawmaker to the Chief of Staff to the Governor?
It has it been interesting, challenging and quite titillating. Whereas the ambience (responsibility) of parliament was laisser-faire, it’s a different kettle of fish here in Osadebey Avenue. The comrade governor is an incredible workaholic who has no patience for indolence, hedonism or opportunistic razzmatazz. To a large extent, I would say he is a perfervid (incurable) perfectionist. You will understand therefore why we need to be in daily attunement (touch) with the cosmic forces to enable us keep pace with his boundless energy and stupendous verve.
The job of the Chief of Staff is, of course, quite more demanding in terms of the application of the regime of mental magnitude than when I was in parliament. You can choose when you go to parliament or not. In fact, some members of parliament really don’t even show up until pay day even though I can hardly remember a day I was not part of parliamentary sittings in my unbroken twelve years in the legislature. But as Chief of Staff, who are you not to be at work on a daily basis when you are working with a governor that is at work every day by 8am (or even before 8) and don’t get home from work until about 8pm,most times (or even much later)? Don’t forget that the office of the Chief of Staff is supposed to be the clearing house of government which means I have to be on my toes to catch up with the comrade’s burning desire to put Edo State on the indelible map of transformation. It would interest you to know that even on weekends, the comrade governor is at work and that is precisely the fundamental reason Edo State is working again.
You went through the length and breadth of the state during the campaigns. How was it?
The campaigns really afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the compassionate and down- to- earth side of the comrade governor. I was particularly touched most times when the governor eagerly entered the rain in a no-holds barred manner to address the people. On one occasion when he attended the passing out ceremony of Youth Corps members in Okada, it rained donkeys and cows (cats and dogs) but the governor got into the rain and addressed the Corps members for over one hour, drenched and, of course, myself and his security aides could not but stand in the rain with him and this happened most times in the course of the campaigns. This endeared him further to me as a man that had a date with history.
The campaigns also made me know that the comrade governor has a passion for coconut especially coconut water which re-energizes him for more action after every sip, and he passionately shared with me, his security aides and the television camera guy anything he ate or drank, especially the period of the campaigns when we did the helicopter round. These were emotional and touching moments indeed.
You people used helicopters during the campaigns; sometimes you flew into Benin at night even when the weather was not pleasant. Were you at any point scared that something unpleasant might happen?
Those were breathtaking moments when the pilot alone was in charge of our lives, but I had no fears for a second because I believed that there were the hands of God in the emergence of the comrade governor in the affairs of Edo State. Don’t forget that the way the governor emerged and took suzerainty of Edo’s political turf speaks volumes of the mysterious workings of divine providence and my mystical anchorage left me not in doubt that “as it is above, so it is below”. The good Lord of Hosts is always by those who give their all for the collective upliftment of the people. The governor himself, I must mention, also displayed a commendable sense of intrepidity (courage) even in the face of mercurial weather convulsions.
Some persons were shocked that you agreed to work with the campaign train even after you lost the House of Reps ticket in the ACN?
No doubt that most of my political fidus achates (associates) and PDP faithful endeavoured to capitalize on the fact that I did not get my ticket to get back to the House of Representatives as an intervention point to sway me back to the PDP, but they were those who did not know me well and have not followed my politics intimately. My political peregrination has had all the trappings of progressivism from my student union days; so, to me, coming to the ACN at the time I did was not all about the politics of political ticketocracy (of just getting ticket to contest election). The comrade governor is just a phenomenon in the politics of Edo State and I am delighted that he has offered me the opportunity to be part of his salubrious and revolutionary vision in taking Edo to the next level and, for that matter, from the epic piazza of his political sanctum sanctorum (inner recess).
But there is this fear in some quarters that the comrade governor may not perform in his second coming, like many second term governors?
Let me state emphatically that the comrade governor is not only aware that he was democratically invested with a pro- Edo mandate, he is also conscious of the historical and sociological responsibilities that such a leviathan mandate commands and he is consequently poised not only to consolidate on the gains of yesterday, but to also turn Edo into an agricultural hub and an industrial sub and super structure. I therefore urge all Edo citizens not to be in tenterhooks, but be ready to be in utilitarian cahoots with Mr. Governor as he takes Edo steadily and surely to the next level.