Why I stepped down for Obaseki
By Clifford Ndujihe
Ken Imasuagbon, a former governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in this interview speaks on the politics of Edo, why Governor Godwin Obaseki will be re-elected and how Edo Central will produce the governor in 2024.
On comments that Edo North is a battleground in the September 19 governorship election
That is correct. But the scenarios favour Governor Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is fighting a lost battle. You know Shaibu was a student union leader; Oshiomhole would not be on the ballot.
So, the people have more to gain from the deputy governor than Oshiomhole, who is neither here nor there, his era has ended. Obaseki will win with a landslide victory.
There is no basis for any right-thinking person to be talking about APC now. No, not with all that they have been doing. How would a right-thinking person talk of voting APC with what they did to Edo State? They depleted the state more than PDP left it. Oshiomhole didn’t allow Obaseki to work; he distracted the governor and put a spanner in his works.
But, thank God for democracy, it is time now for the people to speak. That is why I stepped down for Obaseki. I salute his courage and decision to dislodge the rampaging godfathers.
The massive votes APC got during the last presidential election were from Edo North but they cannot get that because Phillip Shaibu is their son. He will be in the ballot. They will prefer a younger generation of leaders to expired forces represented by Oshiomhole and APC.
Are there guarantees that Obaseki will not try to play godfather and are there compelling projects to underscore his reelection bid?
It is not possible. Obaseki is a God-fearing man, a gentleman, civilized, and educated.
Of course, in his second term, he will continue creating jobs for Edo people. He would improve on what he has done in the first term. He will not be distracted anymore. The money they wanted him to share, he will not share it.
Obaseki’s problems with the APC cabal started when he said he will not share the state’s money. In his second term, Edo people will have more value for their votes. He will certainly perform better. He will improve what he has done. Yes, because there will be no Oshiomhole or APC hyenas to distract him.
Do you understand? Obaseki is a purebred intellectual passionate about Edo. He was determined to bring about a change, but the evil men in the society could not allow him.
I was happy he stood up to them. He challenged them and he has defeated them because this election will be one way, this time around no Esan man or woman will vote for APC.
Moreover, there is no person from Edo South that will not vote for Obaseki and PDP. They cannot afford the failure of APC again. There’s no how an Edolite will contemplate voting for APC.
The few ones you see are political jobbers. This is not Kogi State; there would be no taa taa ta (gun trotting). They should just forget about writing results either. This is not Kano State, they should forget about writing result. It is not going to happen. We will all be there. We will vote and escort the ballot to be counted and results announced.
APC chieftains insist that Edo State has always voted progressives and will not play opposition politics…
Which opposition politics? Is there any person left in APC again? APC is an empty shell, a piece of carcass. The sepulcher is empty! The truth is that nine out of 10 voters in Edo want PDP. APC government of four years is wasted.
You saw the House of Assembly. One godfather in Abuja decided to hold everybody to ransom. People should learn that one day, they would drop all these siren and pepper soup and face God in judgment.
What is a political party and party politics all about? It is for the development of people, a community, or a race. Anything outside that, you are on your own. You are just a thief. We are tired of thieves in Edo now.
We are tired; we want real people to be in charge. Obaseki is sincere. He is passionate. He was distracted in his first four years by Oshiomhole and APC jobbers. We will meet them at the polls.
No INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) official should try to write fake results or rig. Nobody should try it.
Is the election going to be a referendum on Obaseki’s four years or referendum on the past four years of APC?
It will be a referendum on Oshiomhole’s years of failed influence. Oshiomhole and all his people did not allow Obaseki to work. That was what happened. The election is going to be a referendum to reject Oshiomhole and APC.
Pastor Ize-Íyamu has been a constant figure in Edo politics right from 1999 and has helped every other political inclination; this could work to his advantage…
This election would be a minus for him, he has to wait. He is my friend, I acknowledge those strengths, but the general view of Edo people is that Obaseki has done well. They are tired of the past. Between Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki, the electorate will prefer to put their bet on Obaseki going forward. And it is a good decision.
What conditions did you give Obaseki in exchange for your support and did you make any specific request?
Of course, I am a politician. Why will I not make a request? The point is that in 2024 my senatorial district will be supported to produce the next governor. Since 1999, no Esan man has been governor of Edo State. We are the only senatorial that has not produced a governor in Edo State. So, I told him to make a serious commitment to say that Esan would be supported to produce his successor.
Without even prompting, Obaseki declared that it was fair and just for Esan to produce the governor. That is what struck me. A governor is a God-fearing man. In fact, politics apart, Obaseki is a good man. If I see a good man, I know him. Obaseki is a good man.
I also know a con man if I see him. APC is a con party, they have conned Edo State these past 12 years, replacing chairmen and removing governor. Enough is enough. We will stop them by the power of our votes. No INEC official should come to Edo State and attempt to rig the election.
Nobody will accept that. This is not Osun State; nobody will accept that in Edo State. With COVID-19, and the way the world is going now, don’t we need the real people to lead our country? Don’t we need real people to lead our community and society, our family? Wherever we are we need patriotic and passionate individuals to develop our community.
Those who have held down development for four years in Edo, are they the ones the people want? In 12 years we have seen it, wasted years. They wasted Obaseki’s time and that of every Edo person. Nobody is interested in them. What we want is a demonstration of the power of democracy that after four years you do a referendum.
In fact, the Edo people have been punished with impunity. So nobody is going to accept any disruption or distortion. So this election is going to define democracy for Nigerians and Edo. We have made up our minds; we are going to reject APC. That’s why I stepped down. I was not forced to step down because we need to reject godfathers and stand with democracy. We need to reject oppression. We need to reject unemployment. We need to reject political jobbers, especially the frustration and hopelessness in the hearts of our people. That is what this election is going to be.
You said that there will be no ‘ta ta ta’ and all that, but you know that Edo State shares boundaries with Kogi, are there guarantees against violence?
There will be no violence. We will resist thuggery and the people will resist any attempt to use youths to levy violence. Parents should advise their children, nobody should give guns and cutlasses and tell them to come and carry ballot boxes. You should not.
They should tell their children to stay away. Let the politicians us their children to shoot the gun, not the children of the poor, the children of the farmers, the children of the mechanics, the children of the tailors, the children of the teachers. Let the politicians if they want to do ‘ taa taa ta’ bring their children to do the ‘taa taa ta’
On fears that COVID -19 causing voter apathy, which also gives room for manipulation
Well, I am worried there may be. But because people are tired of APC: youths are tired, women are tired, boys are tired, and the aged are tired. People will defy the COVID-19 pandemic to come and vote out APC.
We will vote against APC in Edo, you will see, they will know defeat in the 18 Local Governments. Is it my local government they want to win or where in Esan and were in Edo South. Even in Akodo, in Etsako West, Oshiomhole will lose out.
Do you know the pain in the heart of people? Do you know the frustration in their mind? Do you know the torture? Do you know how many people beg me just for N200 to eat in a day? Do you know there are people that cannot eat? Do you know how many people have died for the inability to even buy malaria medicine coupled with the pain of COVID-19? This election will be free and fair and peaceful because the people will vote, resist rigging and Obaseki will win.