Says Ikimi must apologise for anti-Oshiomhole’s comments
BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN – CITY
Charles Idahosa is one of the founding members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and currently the Political Adviser to Governor Adams Oshiomhole. In this interview, he criticises a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, over what he describes as derogatory comments he used against Oshiomhole. He responds to allegations made against the APC-led government in the state during the recent Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rally, asserting that the party is confused as to who between Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen will be facing Godwin Obaseki of the APC in the forthcoming governorship poll in the state.
I watched the rally. I have always wanted to remain calm with what has been happening because I have gone through it all before. I tried to be a senator; as I speak, my N1million is still with the PDP, but they gave the ticket to Daisy Danjuma. I wanted to be governor. I contested the primary with Oshiomhole, but later the ticket was given to him. And I have been his adviser since then. So you can imagine how I felt when Chief Ikimi opened his mouth to say Osagie Ize-Iyamu brought Oshiomhole to him. He claimed he did not know Oshiomhole. How can you say you gave Oshiomhole ticket and you didn’t know him, a man that was the President of the NLC and you said you were a Foreign Minister?
I want to put it on record that the primary election between myself and Oshiomhole was very comprehensive and Oshiomhole deserved the victory. Oshiomhole’s emergence was not an automatic declaration from Ikimi. So he never gave Oshiomhole governorship. I also heard him say that the current secretariat of the APC was provided by Osagie Ize-Iyamu, that is also not true. I ran that APC secretariat for two years, paying the salaries of workers, furnished the place. We rented that place and the owner said we should deposit N20million since it is a political party. But we said we didn’t have such money. Then the son of the owner, who is my friend, said we could use an individual’s name to acquire it.
Another thing he said was that himself and Ize-Iyamu formed APC. I was the first person from Edo to be drafted into the national body of the party to work with Ikimi when we were forming APC. While we were forming the party, Ize-Iyamu was Secretary to Edo State Government and he and others were in the PDP fighting Chief Anenih. So, how did he now form APC? Is he saying Ize-Iyamu was in PDP in the day time and ACD, as we were called then, at night? On May 29, 2007, when INEC declared that Oshiomhole lost the election before we went to court, when Lucky Igbinedion was handing over to Prof.Osunbor, Ize-Iyamu was standing beside him as Secretary to Government. He was SSG till 2007; so, at what point was he the leader of an opposition party that came to power later?
They were equally talking about Airport Road, that Oshiomhole has not done anything. Where the PDP is making a big mistake is this their talk always that Oshiomhole has not done anything. I have told some of their leaders who are my friends that they should change their tactics because they will be fooling themselves if they continue to say Oshiomhole has not done anything when people have seen that Edo has changed. They should be saying they will build flyover since Oshiomhole has built roads rather than saying he has not done anything. They are making a mockery of themselves. When Ikimi defected to the PDP after he did not get the chairmanship of APC, he said that he cooked the food and Oshiomhole removed the pot and the food. I wonder why he is always talking about food and cooking. He repeated it at their rally.
We decided to keep calm since because he has no electoral value; so we are not worried about him at all.
The other day Ikimi referred to Oshiomhole as a Kukuruku boy, trying to use derogatory comments against the governor. I am giving him seven days to apologize to Oshiomhole or else we will take action against him.
There is this insinuation that some of you may find it difficult to work against Ize-Iyamu as the PDP candidate due to his close relationship with some of you?
I find it difficult to attack him because he is my younger brother. But he should not run his mouth anyhow because, if he does, then I will have no option since we are not in the same party. My party, the APC, has a very good candidate in the person of Godwin Obaseki who is equally my brother. Obaseki happens to be an old boy of my school, Eghosa Anglican Grammar School. Edo College has produced governor before; we want Eghosa Anglican Grammar School too, to produce governor. Almost everybody in the race is close to me because I am old in this game. But another issue is that we don’t even know who Obaseki is going to face, whether it is Ize-Iyamu or Matthew Iduoriyekemwen. They have two candidates in the PDP; so we are confused as to who our candidate will meet. But we are watching and whoever eventually meets us will certainly be crushed.
But why is it also difficult for your party to pick a running mate for Obaseki?
Party leaders have been meeting and working hard on that. The issue will be resolved in the next few days. I heard that some people are saying this will cause crisis in APC, that was the same thing they said before the primary. But you can see that there was no crisis after the primary. So this one will also be resolved. Some of us have made our input on the matter and we believe that, at the end of the day, it will be resolved.
Ize-Iyamu no threat to APC
His emergence is not a threat to APC. The issue is that he is both a politician and a pastor. When pastors mount the pulpit to preach to you, you will donate your last kobo to the church. So they have this gift of the garb, they can convince you to even bring all your belongings to the church. He is good in making powerful speeches as a politician of so many years standing, so he has that capacity to convince his followers that he will win even when he knows that he will crash. If you watched the event when they kicked off their campaign at the Baptist ground, Chief Anenih did not talk, Esama did not speak also. You could see confusion on the faces of those who were there because they didn’t know who will be their candidate eventually.
But Ize-Iyamu is a smart politician, we are aware he is making moves to join another party if he ended up not becoming the authentic candidate of the PDP. We have heard stories about some of our members who may want to work with him and jeopardise our chances, but, let me tell you, registered party members are not up to five per cent of voters. 90 per cent of those who will vote that day are not party members, they will vote for APC government that has done so well for them. It is only we here in the urban areas that know Ize-Iyamu, most people who are in the rural areas know Oshiomhole and his candidate is the one they will vote for. PDP is dead here right now.
Nigerians are crying that the APC-led Federal Government is not doing enough to boost the economy. Don’t you think that may affect the APC in the election?
PDP was in government for 16 years and you expect a man who just came to power one year ago to perform magic overnight? Did Buhari tell us that he is a magician? One year is too early to judge him. Were militants blowing up pipelines when Jonathan was there? We know those doing it to cripple the economy and rubbish the government. Let me tell you, during this campaign, Oshiomhole will lead the campaign of Godwin Obaseki. Ize-Iyamu’s credentials are tied around Lucky Igbinedion. When Ize-Iyamu left university, he became the PA to Lucky Igbinedion, he became his Chief of Staff and then SSG. The question now is, will Lucky Igbinedion campaign with Ize-Iyamu now? When you mention Obaseki, you will tie him with Oshiomhole, but when you mention Ize-Iyamu, you tie him with Igbinedion because Ize-Iyamu is nothing without Lucky Igbinedion. Ize-Iyamu has not worked outside the Igbinedions. But Obaseki is a stock broker, a banker and financial expert. Now, he came to assist Oshiomhole and, for seven years, he has worked without collecting salary.
Obaseki is proud that Oshiomhole will lead his campaign. When the campaigns starts, we will know who will lead Ize-Iyamu’s campaign. It is even an insult that the name of a former governor was not in the campaign train of Ize-Iyamu. Has he abandoned Lucky?
So in this campaign, Oshiomhole is a good man, he is loved by many, it will be very easy to beat any PDP candidate because he will lead our campaign.