• We have successfully liberated Edo from shackles of godfatherism
Former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Charles Idahosa, in this interview, speaks on the outcome of last Saturday’s governorship election in the state, why Governor Godwin Obaseki and the implication of his victory among others.
His assessment of the governorship election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP
The governor’s victory in the election is my biggest birthday gift ever. I said so because this is a project I am a major stakeholder in. I have never fought any political battle and lost and I’m glad that we have been able to prove that nobody can take the people of Edo State as slaves.
We have proven to Adams Oshiomhole and his likes that Edo is not Lagos. I have always said that Edo may go the way of the opposition given the impunity with which Oshiomhole was running the affairs of APC as national chairman. I have said it severally that only Obaseki can win the governorship election for APC and any attempt to replace him will spell doom for the party. I also said if by omission or commission Obaseki was forced out of the party, APC is dead. I also said we will go anywhere he goes. When Oshiomhole masterminded the disqualification of the governor from participating in the APC primary, I knew that was the end of my stay in the party. When Obaseki moved to the PDP, I also moved with my supporters with him to PDP. We knew we were going to win by a landslide because we control the structures in the state. We are closer to the grassroots unlike those who went to bring someone from Lagos with bullion vans, thinking that they can buy the people of Edo with money. So, I am very happy with the victory of Governor Obaseki and the PDP, especially on my 67th birthday. We have successfully liberated Edo from the shackles of godfatherism. Our next port of call is Lagos.
On whether the election was free and fair
The election was free and fair. The people of Edo have spoken and their voices were reflected in the outcome of the election. I want to specially thank President Muhammadu Buhari for rising above party politics and providing an avenue for free and fair election.
I had to go to my village with fear because they withdrew all the police. All the policemen attached to VIPs were removed. Even Government House was devoid of policemen except three or four that were attached to the governor. They did all this to show that the security agents will be neutral and the election will be free and fair.
In all, I feel so sorry for Oshiomhole that he had to end his career this way. He was privileged to become president of NLC and later governor. I contested against him in 2007 during the AC primary. They rigged the primary for him saying because he was already popular. They said I should be his running mate but I rejected it saying deputy governor is not what I wanted. I said I knew what I wanted and I would do it at my own time, in my own way. I later accepted to be his Political Adviser for eight years and he knew what I did for him. All the battles against godfatherism in Edo, we fought them together. We fought the biggest godfathers that ever existed in this state.
With the victory of PDP, what becomes the fate of Adams Oshiomhole in Edo politics?
Oshiomhole tried everything in the books but he couldn’t succeed. This election was the last card for him and everybody could see that everything he did was like the last kick of a dying horse. Oshiomhole refused to believe that he is finished politically. He is politically finished and there is nothing he can do about that. He was removed as national chairman after two years and two days. He instigated 14 lawmakers to come and be living with him in Abuja so that he could put a rope around the governor’s neck.
He instigated 42 appointees against Governor Godwin Obaseki and they left the government because they fell for Oshiomhole’s lies. I just looked at them with pity because they failed to realise that money is not everything. Despite all their boasting in my local government that Samson Osagie, former Minority Whip would win, he lost his unit and ward. Since 1999, it was PDP all the way.
In 2007, we moved to form Action Congress (AC) and we fielded Oshiomhole as governorship candidate. From 2007 till date, APC has been winning my local government until I turned it around for PDP now with my supporters. We are now back to PDP. All these commissioners, Special Advisers who resigned and are making noise in the media are creation of party leaders who are silent operators. The leaders are the ones in the villages who control what happens at the grassroots.
All of the 14 lawmakers who were making noise alongside the multi-billionaire who was saying he would spend his last kobo to ensure Obaseki was removed, none of them won their wards. I read a news analysis where they said Obaseki would lose because the 14 lawmakers would get sympathy votes from their constituency. No one sympathised with them and they lost because they were not on ground.