•Says treasury looters behind insecurity to stop Buhari’s re-election
SIMON EBEGBULEM. BENIN CITY
Hon.Charles Idahosa, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress was the Political Adviser to the immediate past governor of Edo
state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for eight years. In this interview,Idahosa revealed how Oshiomhole turned the table against Chief Tom Ikimi who was already on his way to becoming the APC National Chairman and ensured Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was elected.
Idahosa also spoke about conspiracy by the looters to create insecurity in the country in order to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from being re-elected for second term and truncate the fight against corruption. Excerpts:
A lot has been happening in your party, the APC ahead the 2019 general elections, what is your reaction to the latest development as regards the national chairmanship of the APC?
I am happy that President Muhammadu Buhari is giving a strong leadership and direction to the party and those prophets of doom who said the party would die are disappointed today. I am aware that the President has endorsed Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the national chairmanship of the party, I am happy the party took the right decision. I worked with Adams Oshiomhole as his political Adviser for eight years after I served as Local Government Chairman and Commissioner in previous administrations. His choice will help the party because I know how he works. I believe that Oshiomhole will give all to the party and I want to urge our party members to work with him because this is a new life in the party. With Oshiomhole there, it will be fire for fire and I can tell you that the PDP is dead. I want to urge our party leaders to give him the desired support at the convention.
But some people are trying to read ethnic coloration to it, saying Oshiomhole who is from Edo North is trying to take the job of Chief Oyegun who is a Benin man?
That is rubbish. If they are saying that, then what do you want the people of Esan to say when Oshiomhole stopped Chief Tom Ikimi and supported Oyegun. Those making such comments don’t even know how Oyegun became the APC chairman. What has ethnicity got to do with the national chairmanship of the APC? Oshiomhole is an Edo man just like Oyegun. Long before now I was one of the party leaders who opposed Odigie-Oyegun, but I am a Benin man like Oyegun. The party was not growing well under him, I felt Oyegun did not do what he was supposed to do to keep the party together. So, this has nothing to do with tribe, if it is ethnicity I will be the first to support Oyegun. In 2014, myself and Oshiomhole played a very big role in the emergence of Oyegun but a lot of people did not know that. Chief Tom Ikimi was already coasting to victory as the unopposed candidate from Edo state. But I made the State Working Committee to reopen the agenda after we all agreed on Tom Ikimi and it was Oshiomhole who called me to say “please move the motion at the state Working Committee level, we want Oyegun. Please, Charles do it for me, we want Oyegun”. And I moved the motion which changed the state’s earlier support for Chief Ikimi in favour of Oyegun. Oshiomhole is from Edo North but why did he not say because Oyegun is from Benin, he would not support him? Oshiomhole is a detribalized Nigerian if you know him very well but I can understand that some persons were sponsoring some write ups which do not make sense against him.
However when Chief Oyegun got there as National Chairman, he was not putting the party together the way I expected and because I don’t hide my feelings I started attacking him. It does not mean I don’t respect him but he has tried his best and we need a change. I felt he was not doing what he was supposed to do as a national chairman of a ruling party and that is why we have crisis in the party today. I said sometimes ago that APC was in tatters and lamented that we were trying to make the sme mistake that the PDP made and people can now see it today. How can we be the ruling party and we are not in control of the National assembly while the National Assembly is now acting as the opposition to APC. That does not mean Oyegun is a bad man, he is a gentleman but I think he found himself in a terrain that is new to him. He is a civil servant he really does not know much about the tricks in politics. You cannot give what you don´t have, so we need that change. That is why I said Oshiomhole will do better and bring the party together because he knows the intricacies of politics and he will deliver. I do not have any fear as regards whether Oshiomhole will perform or not, he will perform because he is a team player and he will not allow his party to be destroyed because he particularly suffered under the PDP and will never allow the PDP to defeat the APC. And I can assure you that in 2019, the APC will not only win the election but we will win more states.
You sound so optimistic but there is this fear that the killings across the country may affect the chances of your party?
I feel very sad when Nigerians get confused and are misled. I recall when President Buhari visited London shortly after he was sworn in as President, he promised to release the list of looters immediately he got to Nigeria. But for strange reasons the party did not release the names then and that gave room for those looters and thieves to retreat and go planning. What we are witnessing today are not herdsmen, these are terrorists imported into this country by the looters to cause mayhem and create a situation of crisis in the country. Those who looted this country don’t want Buhari to come back, they want to create a situation of insecurity in the country so that he will not return and thereby frustrate the war against corruption. How do you explain a situation where some people went to a village and killed 73 people and you call them herdsmen. We grew up in this Benin, the herdsmen we knew carried stick and dagger but now you see them carrying AK47 to kill and you call them herdsmen so as to give Buhari a bad name. These are trained killers imported into this country by the PDP looters and that is how corruption is fighting back. These people know that if Buhari is re-elected, many of them will be in jail. A man is going for his second term that the constitution allows him, why do you want to stop him by all means. But as long as I am concerned, Nigerians know better. Let them continue to sponsor terrorists across our borders to be killing innocent people to create stupid impression. I read how they attacked a Catholic Church and killed the priest what message are they trying to pass across? They wanted reprisal attacks and cause a religious war in Nigeria but they will fail. As far as I am concerned Buhari is a great man, he has transformed this country.
There is a rumour that some APC leaders may dump the party before the 2019 elections, don’t you think it will affect the chances of your party?
I have heard the same rumour too but we are waiting for them to leave and if they leave the world will not come to an end. But sometimes some of these things are not true. Again it will be difficult for these parties to defeat APC. Even Secondus, the PDP National Chairman has said that PDP alone cannot wrestle power from the APC. We are watching them until they make the move. So, let’s see what happens but I don’t see any threat in 2019.