By SIMON EBEGBULEM
Chief Dan Osi Orbih is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State. In this interview, he speaks on Governor Adams Oshiomholeâ€™s attacks on Chief Tony Anenih and the happenings in Edo PDP.
There was a statement recently by the Dr Ogbemudia-led PDP in the state, warning you and other members of your executive against flouting court orders. Are you heeding the warning?
First and foremost, I want to say that I do not have any court case as chairman of PDP in Edo State. Nobody ever went to court to challenge my election as chairman of PDP in Edo State. The only person who had a problem with the congress was Mr Sado who was also claiming the same position with me in another congress that was held at Ogbe Stadium. But as a committed and dedicated party man, he has since gone to court to withdraw the suit. So I can tell you authoritatively that, as at today, there is no case before any court in Nigeria , where my election as PDP chairman in Edo State is in question.
And again, I am not aware of any group in Edo PDP. What I know is that we have one PDP in Edo State under my chairmanship. Of course, under that umbrella, there are different leaders in the state who we acknowledge as our leaders. My chairmanship is recognized by all at the national secretariat in Abuja and the country as a whole. Of course Dr Ogbemudia is our leader, Chief Anenih is our leader, so all those talks about division are being created by the weakened AC in Edo State.
But thousands of your members are decamping everyday to the AC and majority of them accused Chief Tony Anenih of alleged dictatorial tendencies.
The only thing I will like to say is that most of the members decamping are saying what Governor Oshiomhole is asking them to say. That has no effect. It has nothing to do with our determination to win back the state. Let me tell you very loud and clear, each time Adams opens his mouth to talk about PDP, he says a lot of evil things about Chief Anenih and I am amused because those who formed the AC were PDP members including most of his commissioners. Most of them were commissioners in the PDP government under lucky Igbinedion.
So whenever he is abusing the PDP government, he is indirectly abusing those who are working with him and it has nothing to do with us. And you will also watch him receiving members of the PDP that he never hesitates to abuse. I have watched few of those televised programmes of Adams and each time I watch them I pity those who are with him because onÂ most of those occasions he becomes the chairman of the party who receives the decampees, he becomes the secretary and the publicity secretary.
So which party does he belong? Why have they (AC leaders) never responded to comments from us when we come out with our informed positions on issues regarding his government? We only see the governor reacting to our statement or his aides reacting to political issues by a political party. Have you ever asked yourself who are the leaders of AC in the state.
That is why I said what he is operating in the state is a government party and that is why nobody knows the officials of the party in the state. On his abusing of Chief Anenih and other PDP leaders, I keep saying that his government will not be judged by the amount of abuses he rains on Chief Anenih. So if he decides to waste valuable time calling Chief Anenihâ€™s names, that is his business.
We can only commend Chief Anenih for his dignified silence and we all have a lot to learn from his political wisdom. In your last Sunday interview with the governor, one of the interesting things that I read there was that he claims that Chief Anenih can never be his father. My reaction to that is simple. I have had several interactions with Chief Anenih and he has made it clear to me that he is satisfied with the children God has given to him.
I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that Chief Anenih will not wish to have Oshiomhole as a son because he has shown a lot of indiscipline. There are certain attributes Chief Anenih will want to see in his children, respect for elders. The issues are quite clear; where did Chief AnenihÂ go wrong.
He asked Oshiomhole to concentrate on governance which he has been entrusted to do by the judiciary. I do not see anything wrong with that. So Oshiomhole should allow development of the state to speak for him. I want to say it here again that somebody should tell Adams that Anenih was never a governor of Edo State.
So when he abuses past governments in Edo State, the picture that comes to my mind is Lucky Igbinedion because it was Lucky Igbinedion who was governor for eight years not Anenih. And if actually these attacks are directed at Luckyâ€™s government, I must say it is unfortunate, it is a mark of political betrayal and back stabbing. All the people who worked with Adams, that brought him into government were people who worked with Lucky Igbinedion and I wonder how he feels embarrassing Igbinedion.
I have taken pains to look at Igbinedionâ€™s government and his associates and they have told me that there was never a time Adams offered any good advice to Lucky Igbinedion. Our governor was dining and wining with Igbinedion then and now he is turning around to castigate Luckyâ€™s government. Today, most of Luckyâ€™s associates are in his government yet he attacks the administration of Igbinedion.
He should forget about what Lucky did in government and concentrate on his own government because very soon we will start looking at his own government and we will judge him according to what he has done. Osunbor was there very briefly, though he hardly talks about Osunbor. But I feel pained that he always abuses Lucky, why? But I challenge Lucky to come and say that Chief Anenih dictated all he did while he was in government. He is the only competent person to speak on the matter not Governor Oshiomhole.
Anenihâ€™s role on the passage of the 2009 budget
The issue of the budget, I want to say that I am very satisfied with the detailed account by the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon,Zakawanu Garuba, who that it was Oshiomhole who dragged them to Chief Anenih on the budget issue and that is the truth. I do not want people to get confused to say that because he is governor anything he says is the truth. It was Oshiomhole who pleaded with Chief Anenih to help him solve the budget issue when he refused to take advice from the Speaker. He took all of them to Chief Anenihâ€™s house in Abuja and as a statesman that wants peace in his state, he helped to resolve the issue. So accusing Anenih now is unfortunate.Anenih is too big for Oshiomhole to rubbish and he knows.
Assessing Oshiomholeâ€™s developmental strides I have said over and over again that all I have seen so far is minimal effort towards road development While we appreciate there is need to do roads, his strategy and plans of execution we have a lot of issues with. Before now, what he achieved in his one year in office was to plant flowers, we came out heavily to criticize him and our position was reinforced with what happened on the day of his one year in office.
A lot of people came to witness the event, but it dawned on him that apart from abusing Chief Anenih, he had nothing to show. That is how he quickly went to town to invite people like Professor Wole Soyinka to come and give lectures because there were no projects to show. It was just lectures all through. He could not commission one single project after one year in office.
Recently, when it was becoming clear that there was no action in the state, he said he wanted to expand Airport road and other roads in the state. Bu apart from the Airport road, what are we going to gain from the additional road? The cost of the expansion of Airport Road , those resources would have been channeled into rehabilitating several roads in Benin City that are not motorable.
A lot of peopleâ€™s properties have been destroyed and it took our personal effort and campaign, for him to realize that there is need to compensate these people. Our fear is this, how do you put a value on those properties that are no longer in existence. Now, when you factor the huge amount of money he is going to pay as compensation, you will ask, is that the right direction for us? That road is an existing road that leads to Ogba zoo.
If he has taken pains to concentrate on those adjoining roads, he would have done justice to the roads in Benin . And it is fraudulent for Oshiomhole to always accuse Osunbor of executing substandard jobs, if he has concrete evidence about that, he would have taken Osunbor to the EFCC. He is just making unfounded statements and it is part of his campaigns to rubbish PDP in this state.
The true leaders of the PDP are still in the party, none of them has decamped. He is just intimidating the councilors and chairmen of councils to join AC. The most disturbing aspect of his administration is his penchant for borrowing money. When he came, he met a debt of N4.4billion.From the time he took over to date, we are now indebted to the tune of over N40billion.
In the next fifty years, we will be paying off his debts if he continues this way. On the rumour that some National Assembly members will be leaving the party soon because of Chief Anenih, it has never been the practice of Chief Anenih to decide who gets what in each senatorial district, it is the leaders. For example, I do not think Chief Anenih participated on the emergence of Senator Uzamere.
The decision to nominate Uzamere was taken by the leaders in the South senatorial district. And the same thing happened in the nomination of Senator Yisa Braimoh and that of Odion Ugbesia. And let me tell you, none of our National Assembly members has s
aid he is leaving and I believe them because AC is not better than the PDP.