By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin City
Mr Patrick Obahiagbon, popularly known as Igodomigo, is one of the most outspoken lawmakers in the just concluded sixth Assembly. He represented Oredo Federal Constituency of Edo State but was unable to pick the ticket for re-election under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which he joined after he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in July last year. In this interview, Igodomigo shares his experiences in the National Assembly, the recent bomb blast, and other national issues.
You dumped the PDP for the ACN and it was widely believed that you will receive the support the of the people to go back to the National Assembly. What happened?
The political colloquim that climaxed my adjustment from the PDP to the can had anchorage on the renewal of my mandate. True, there was a fundamental breach, there was a last minute betrayal of an accord concordiale. The betrayal was unconscionable and purulently dripped with all the trappings of an Entebbe raid. Some political high priests have even gone to town with a gait of fanfaronadism congratulating themselves as to what in their warped and megalomaniacal view amounts to the nunc di mitis of Igodomigodo. Let me say that nothing happens to a student of mysticism by chance or accident.
The biblical story of Joseph should teach a lesson to man. The brothers of Joseph sold him as a slave to slave traders but we know what happened at the end of the day which shows that in the eyes of the cosmic,your intended slavery could even be your divine vehicle for the realisation of your manifest destiny. Such is the mysterious workings of divine providence and such is my reverential faith in the laws of the Great Grand Architect of the Universe.
As for my experience so far, lawmaking can be a very exciting and jejune canvas, at the same time depending on whether your premium mobile verges on rapacious mercantilism or you are actuated with a pro bono pu blico predilection.
It appears to me that we must have in the various legislative houses across the length and breath of Nigeria and especially at the National Assembly men and women who refuse to be political halleluyah boys;men and women who can stand before executive demagogues and damn their canal prodigalities. From this point of view, my experience in parliament for twelve years both at the state and national platform has been one of mixed feelings. There are so so many legislative invertebrates who just don’t have any business in the legislature.
But we learnt that Governor Adams Oshiomhole wanted to compensate you with commissionership but you rejected the offer.
How did you know I was to be appointed a commissioner? (laughs out loud).That was supposed to be a matter between me and the governor of Edo State. Am maniacally bewildered that it is in the public domain. I do not sincerely think that I should discuss here what happened between me and my governor on the issue of a suggested political appointment and my reaction thereto. I plead with your understanding that we should leave it at that, at least for now.
What is your take on the way and manner in which the present leadership of the House of Representatives emerged despite the position of the ruling PDP as regards zoning?
Let me start by congratulating the leadership of the seventh National Assembly particularly the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal for the onerous and yet noble duty history has thrust upon their shoulders just now to assist Mr President in navigating the ship of state from eschewable icebergs, cataracts and ox-bow lakes. I expect that they should of course continue to make robust laws that are dialectically salubrious and, more particularly, they should deepen our electoral infrastructure by tinkering further with the constitution and electoral law.
We must return to the Justice Uwais recommendations. I have always held the view, however, that we are already surfeit with a cornucopia of legal ceramics. What we really need is to ensure caboodle compliance with the rule of law and this is where the oversight responsibility of the National Assembly is of the quiddity.
If the leadership of the seventh National Assembly brings about a regime of fearless oversight functions,then they would have hit the legislative ball running. And on how Tambuwal emerged, it is the beauty of democracy and I think everyone should take it that way. It is the wish of the Almighty. I wish them well.
But what do you expect from President Goodluck Jonathan now that he has the full mandate of the people?
Mr President has no excuse not to live up to his billings, if for nothing but the fact that he was elected as president with a lot of goodwill and Nigerians got him habilimented with a pan Nigerian toga.
He must get it right on power, good roads, security,an efficacious health care delivery system. Nobody needs to ascend mountain Olympus now to know that Nigerians would idolize any president that has the will power to cleanse the Augean stable of corruption and he must go beyond vacuous sloganeering and selective political vendetta on the anti-corruption war. The preparedness of Mr President for making history would be measured when he submits his ministerial list to the Senate. We are watching because the quality of men he picks will decide his performance.
What is your reaction to the recent bomb blasts at the police headquarters in Abuja?
That there can be a bomb detonation at our police headquarters verges on a scandalum magnatum and speaks volumes of our parlous state of insecurity. In sane societies, the inspector general of police would have since tendered his letter of resignation.It was and indeed remains a big embarrassment for the country. What are CIA agents coming to do? That is medicine after death.What we need now is a more pro-active security apparatus than a reactionary one locking the stable door only after the horse has bolted.