‘Jonathan will win Edo fair and square’
Matthew Urhoghide, a Pharmacist and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is eyeing the Edo South Senatorial District seat in the coming elections. He spoke to
Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu on his bid.
How has the campaign been so far?
IT has been very interesting and challenging. The postponement of the election gave us the opportunity as a party to do more in getting to the electorate and intimate them about our programmes and our intentions. I want to say that I am particularly excited because of the wide range of issues that I have been putting across to them. I have been receiving positive attention. The electorate equally are quite excited with the ideas I have come up with. It has been very good. And I pray that with the promises made on both sides, from my side and from the side of the electorate, we will be able to find common grounds that will make us achieve positive growths at the end of the day.
There is a lot of criticism about the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Are you confident that the body can give Nigerians credible elections?
Before the postponement of the election, I didn’t have any inkling about the preparation for the election, until some of the issues came up, especially the issue of security. For the Permanent Voters Card, which was very obvious because of the large number of Nigerians yet to collect their own, I was really bothered. If it is true that ballot papers and other sensitive material were not ready and INEC now has six more weeks to prepare, it is a good development and I am confident that INEC will give a good account of itself at the end of the day.
Your opponent from the All Progressive Congress (APC) has raised some issues, the most recent being allegations that there is a plan to attack him by your group. How do you react to this?
This is an obvious case of a man running when nobody is pursuing him. You know my pedigree and I am proud to flaunt it. I am a Christian and I do not pretend about it. And of course, violence is not in my agenda at all. If I have any ounce of it, nobody would have been able to cheat me in politics. What happened in the then ACN last time over my nomination could not have been dared by anybody if I am violent. So, for my APC opponent, to allege that means that they don’t know me. But if they think of any evil in my direction, I will drag them to the law courts. I will never take the law into my hands. So the only thing I want to say is that my opponent cannot set an agenda for me in this campaign. They are only trying to distract me from spreading my message of salvation to the people of the South. He has represented them all this while, and this is the first time I think he is facing a tough election and if he has anything to offer, let him come out and tell the people. Let them come and talk about good governance and not about violence, cutlass and guns. All these cannot scare me.
President Goodluck Jonathan won the South-South in 2011. Do you think he can repeat the same feat now?
Let me take it from the issue of the Edo State governor who is probably deceiving himself that he is as popular as he used to be. The result of the coming election will surprise him. I want to say that ten of this present governor cannot stop the president from winning this state. The president has won this state before in a free and fair election. If anybody ascribes the victory of the president in this state to himself, it is false because Edo people love the president and everybody is working day and night to ensure victory for the president. I am not afraid of the election coming up on the28th of March, President Goodluck Jonathan will win free and fair by even a larger margin from what he got during the 2011election.
What is your message to your People?
I have said that I have three statutorily functions to perform and I have given them a vow that I am going to make laws for good governance of this country, I am going to carry out oversight functions that will ensure the maximum functionality of different national institutions and I am going to represent my constituency very well. For the first time, I am going to make them have participatory role in governance. All the unfairness, inequity and invisibility of the Benin nation in national politics are going to be redressed so that people will know that somebody is representing them there at the Senate. My focus is education, youth empowerment and development, women development and employment. The message which I have been putting across is a message of hope that never again will it happen that Edo people particularly the Binis will be under-represented and invisible in national politics. I want to steer the ship of state for them to go back to national prominence and relevance to reflect our numbers and of course our quality as a people. I am going to devote my allowances to the children of the poor, to enhance women, develop skills and businesses and other forms of trade they engage in.