By SIMON EBEGBULEM
PHARMACIST Matthew Urhoghide is the Edo state Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview, he reviews the three year administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, declaring that nothing fantastic has been achieved so far. Excerpts:
MEMBERS of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led government say you lack the moral standing to review the Adams Oshiomhole led ACN government. Do you agree?
This accusation that the PDP did not do anything in 10 years is a misplaced accusation on the part of the ACN-led government in Edo State because the truth is that the present ACN leadership today was part and parcel of the government of Edo State between 1999-2007. The current state chairman of the ACN, Thomas Okosun was Speaker during the administration of Lucky Igbinedion; a PDP government.
The state secretary of the party, Chief Osaro Idah was General Manager of Bendel Brewery under the administration of Igbinedion and they ran that place aground. One of the leaders of the party in Edo South Senatorial District, Chief Osunbor was Chief Executive in Edo Line and they contributed to the death of Edo Line today.
The Vice-Chairman South South of ACN, Pastor Ize-Iyamu was the SSG during Igbinedion’s administration. Charles Idahosa is today the Special Adviser to the Governor, he was also a commissioner during that administration. So when they say PDP destroyed this state, I laugh because the same people who destroyed the state then are all in ACN today and in government.
You will also recall that the same PDP government brought in Oshiomhole to run for the governorship. They sponsored him and in fact the deputy Governor now, Dr Pius Odubu was in the House of Reps for eight years under the PDP. Frank Erewele was Commissioner in that government; today he is a leader of ACN. So it is an irony to find out that the same people who were part and parcel of that government will say that the PDP destroyed the state.
Today no person in the PDP Exco in Edo State was a principal player in that government. None! And there is no person today who is in the ACN government in Edo State that was not part of that government. They should be the one to hide in shame. It is equally noteworthy to say that even some of them who even sat and got patronage from Osunbor’s government are equally saying that PDP government was bad.
Today the present leadership of the PDP in the state, none of us committed any crime against the people of Edo State because we were never part of that government. And it is equally on record that none of the governments, either that of Igbinedion or Osunbor gave any contract to Chief Anenih to suggest that he was part and parcel of those who killed the government of Igbinedion. None of those governors can say that Anenih made them to fail.
So I will challenge them to come and say how Chief Anenih stopped them from giving the dividends of democracy to the people. It is on record that since Oshiomhole’s administration came into existence he has never indicted the name of Chief Lucky Igbinedion in any way. And the question is why? So, there is the challenge or does he think that Edo people are fools? Edo people are aware that all of them who ruined this state are all in the ACN and we challenge them to stand before Edo people and speak out.
What ius your take on the governor’s acclaimed developmental strides ?
Let me start with the Tax law and its execution in Edo State. The National tax law is universal. What obtains in state A must be obtainable in state B. The percentage of income to be taxed for an individual, corporate establishment or institution is very clear in the law.
But in Edo State today where there is adherence to this law, it is only for taxable adults who are in the employment of government under the PAYE system. All other persons who are taxable, establishments and institutions, organized and unorganized private sector, private businesses are arbitrarily taxed without any information about their incomes or assumed incomes.
That is why you notice that most of the schools, their enrolments have dropped while hospitals and clinics and other health institutions are closing down because they are arbitrarily over taxed without government taking into considerations their real earnings. Consequently, government has created unemployment in these areas because some of these institutions have relocated outside the state. School enrolments for primary and secondary schools have gone down.
It is not to say that government has developed the infrastructure and the pre-requisite infrastructure and man power in health and educational sectors to meet to the challenges of qualitative education and robust health care delivery. Because it is on record that when the Comrade Governor came into power November 2008, he said that he was going to take attention and patronage of the people from private health and educational institutions in Edo state by developing public institutions. But he has not achieved that yet.