BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
Barrister Bisi Idaomi, was one of those dogged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state last year. The beautiful mother of two sons who is today a strong APC supporter has been campaigning with the governorship candidate of the party, Godwin Obaseki and his running mate Philip Shuaibu in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Incidentally, the Akoko Edo born beauty clocked 50 last Thursday, September 1, and Saturday Vanguard had this interesting encounter with this woman who has rubbed shoulders with men in the politics of Edo state.
You were in PDP for several years before joining the APC, what is your experience like?
A whole of difference. I have been in APC since December 19 and it has been a different party, different people. When I was in PDP it was good at the beginning, then I just came back from England and I had these ideas, but unfortunately our society was very different from where I was coming from.
At the beginning I believed the PDP had the interest of the country and the state at heart, though at some point they actually did but the leadership derailed and the party became a place that there was so much impunity, hard work no longer counted and it was all about the leaders, who control the party and were feeding from the purse of the people. It is a pity it took me such a long time to realize how damaged they have become.
Coming back to APC, they have a different style of leadership, you are allowed to express yourself without getting into trouble. I have not been in APC for too long but I can tell you I am a happier person. It is a party that rewards hardwork, you don’t have to know a god father to get anything. I am going to be here for a long time.
When I first joined the PDP, I had the belief that they were up to something good but unfortunately it was a very bad party. I was blinded by my consummate loyalty. If you look at the ten years they ruled in Edo state, we had no roads, no schools, governance was limited to very few powerful cabal, the party was being run like a cult, or their personal company. When you manage a political party like your private property it is bound to fail.
Governance is supposed to be for the people and not about a few greedy individuals. So you cannot compare PDP and APC. Edo state PDP never wanted a change, never wanted people like us to become decision makers and that is why most of us left them and moved to APC, which is a party that allowed the younger ones to have a voice. The more people are allowed to run the affairs of a state the more developmental strides you bring.
In the seven and half years of Comrade Oshiomhole he has done marvelously well in terms of infrastructural development, he demystified governance and that is why PDP is crying today. No more god fathers. He has achieved a lot and I believe that Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shuaibu will take the state to a higher level. There is no doubt that the APC government has worked and there is need to sustain this progress.
How do you see the forthcoming governorship Election in the state?
Listening to a faction of the PDP, I have only heard them complain about the last eight years, the sums of money that came into Edo, I have heard them conclude that they are going to win. For some reasons I was taken aback that they have not even apologized for the kind of government they ran and for them to bring somebody who was integral to that government is baffling and insulting to the people.
The people of Edo state have realized that despite the economic recession caused by the recklessness and brazen impunity of the past PDP administration, they have come to realize that good governance is all that matters and I believe come September 10, they will vote APC. PDP is just making noise spreading lies and rumours, but our people have seen the difference. You have heard our candidate, Obaseki saying he will create 200,000 jobs in the first four years and he will do it because he has the ideas how to attract investors but Ize-Iyamu lacks such contacts.
Obaseki knows how to create wealth, how to diversify our economy, how to empower our women and youths and he will do better than Oshiomhole. He is a man of few words, he is not as loquacious as the PDP factional candidate Ize-Iyamu, so he does not know how to tell lies like such people. September 10th is a day that Edo people will warn PDP never to contest elections any more in Edo. It is going to be an election that people will marvel, it is not going to be tough as the PDP propaganda machine wants people to believe to make themselves relevant in this election.
The PDP’s slogan is change the change, are you saying they are talking rubbish?
Not just rubbish but arrant nonsense. They are just being funny because Edo people had already changed what was not working, what was not good which is the PDP, and they have put something good in its place. If something has been changed and it is working, we now have to build on what has been changed, you cannot give what you don’t have. The PDP was given 16 years in the country but they failed us.
We gave them ten years in Edo, they brought poverty instead of prosperity so nobody wants them back. Today, Edo state has changed and the people are happy, they cannot afford to go back to Egypt. Things are so difficult now that you just don’t have to rely on allocation from Abuja, you have to look inwards and Obaseki has all it takes to do that. Before now, the PDP has been feeding on the taxes collected from the people and we never saw development.
But today people are paying taxes and they see the money in the streets. PDP is campaigning that people are being over taxed, but the question is, the tax they collected in ten years what did they do with it? If it were to be in a society where things work well, people like Ize-Iyamu can never come out for any position. He cannot stand where Obaseki is at all. So it is baffling when you hear him say people are being over taxed, suppose he becomes governor which he will never be, is he saying that he will not collect taxes, so how is he going to fund his projects? This is amusing.
Oshiomhole has done part one by laying a solid foundation for investors to come and develop the state so the state needs an Obaseki who has the ideas to continue and that is the truth not people who will take us back to the god father days.
That is why I am telling you that next Saturday’s election will be an overwhelming victory for APC. What is new that the PDP is bringing, nothing. Oshiomhole has been a very serious and prudent leader and that is why Edo has developed today. He may not have made individuals rich like the PDP but he has touched the lives of the generality of the people of Edo state which is more important. And that is why I say you don’t need to lose sleep about the next Saturday’s election, PDP will be beaten silly no doubt about that. Next Saturday will be final burial of PDP in Edo.
You don’t look 50, what’s the secret?
I feel happy that I am twenty years younger than my age, I am very happy to be 50. I have two sons, I work hard as a woman. I am a television addict, I don’t really socialize much, though I know I look like somebody who socializes. I am alone most times, I do a lot of reading, I like my food. Again I have learnt how treacherous people could be in politics so I have decided to take things the way I see them. I may not have all the money but I believe I have tried at my age. I have a free mind, I don’t plan any evil and that has kept me younger. I am a happy woman despite the ups and down, life is good