Oyegun: Edo voters know those who crippled their assets
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie Oyegun in this interview with journalists in Benin City, declared that the people are far more perceptive than is given them; and will return the APC to Edo Government House. Alemma- Ozioruva Aliu was there, reports.
• We Are Set For Transparent, Free Primary In Ondo
On APC’s Chances
Our campaign has been very good, there was a period of drama, but all that is behind us and the arguments are very clear irrespective of whatever individual issues there must be and there have been. The issue is simple, we have had the APC in government for seven years plus, before that we had PDP in government in Edo State for ten years and the little I have been around, you can hardly see anybody who can point to any single substantial development in the ten years of PDP, compared with the almost eight years of APC under Oshiomhole and that, in fact, decides the issue. When you ask people, what is your preference, do you want the good times to continue or do you want to revert to the bad old days, the issue becomes very clear and then you get a resounding let the good days continue and that is where the debate rests and the result has been very good. Yes, there was a bit of time when there were all sorts of discordant tunes as a result of group interests, personal interest but all that have been sorted out now. I think we are roaring down to a very substantial victory no doubt at all.
On possible upset by PDP
Again, we are back to the same odious comparison for most of the ten years Ize-Iyamu was at the heart of the mis-governance of this state. For a total period of eight out of the ten years of non performance, at a time also when funds from the excess crude account were being disbursed, there wasn’t a single, and I stand to be challenged in those eight years, one single item of solid development in Edo State in those eight years. He was one of the most powerful people in that administration. Now that times are hard, is that the kind of person anybody would want to bring back to manage the affairs of this state? The answer is clearly no.
Meanwhile you have a Godwin Obaseki, who has been at the heart of the management of the economy of this state throughout this hard time and everybody attests to that; that he was at the heart of the economic management of the state, the result is that out of the 36 states of the country over 22 are unable to pay salaries and Edo State is not one of them. Out of the 36 states of this nation, Edo State is one of those that are still continuing with development projects, Edo state has remained one of the fundamental ones that have tremendous development in the field of infrastructure and he was at the head. So what kind of man do we need to lead the state through this hard times, the person of-course is Obaseki, who was very successful in the private sector and then came to Edo State to help out and has distinguished himself by making Edo State one of the very few states that is keeping its obligation and at the same time continue to work in developing the economy.
So we are lucky that we have an Obaseki available for us in the state and my appeal has been clear, there is no choice at all apart from Obaseki. Ize-Iyamu, everybody will tell you, was even as influential as Igbinedion in that administration. They ran the state economy down, sold our industries to themselves, handed the treasury of this state to few leaders and in fact, crippled the entire asset of the state. So, is that the man you want for Edo people, no way.
On backlash from APC-led Federal Government
Again, if you stretch it down, it is the same argument. One thing that pleases me today is that Nigerians and the ordinary voter are more perceptive than we think. Yes the APC at the national level has been in office for one year plus but everybody knows that the problems we have today could not have been created in one day. We have come to fix the nation, to fix the problems otherwise, as a people, as a nation, we would have been going through a struggle for existence and a great challenge would have been confronting this nation. These were issues and challenges that were inflicted on this country by years of or a decade and a half of mis-governance at the national level. Unfortunately, as if that was not enough, we also took over at a time when the crude market collapsed from a $100 to sometimes $140 to a barrel to a time when sometimes we were managing to make $40. At some stage it was less than $30 per barrel; that is the reality and the people recognise this. It does not stop the fact that they are aching, it does not stop the fact that they in pains, that they are hungry, it does not stop the fact that they are hungry; but they know these are not the creation of the APC and that what the APC under Buhari is set to do is to ensure that the fundamental problem with the country; a mono-culture economy is solved once and for all. That this nation does not ever have to depend on one crop, one mineral or one source of major sustenance, that we have to go through these pains is unfortunate.
The determination of the APC is to ensure that this will never happen again and that from now on, a solid base must be created for this economy so that when in few years time we will be talking about growth, we will talk about growth that is solid, that is well based that will never again result in the kind of situation we have today. The light is there at the end of the tunnel but we have to pass through the tunnel. The people must know that this is not an APC problem but we have come to solve the problem.
Fear of thuggery and INEC’s preparation
There will not be thugs, there will not be anything like that, don’t forget that before our primaries, people were talking about thugs, about many other things. We are going to have a complete free, fair, violence free election. I expect same thing from INEC now that INEC has been removed from the shackles of influence. INEC do your job, follow the law, follow due process, decide according to what the rules say,
Situation in Ondo APC
THE party is not really boiling, I have to call them to Abuja just to tell them the difference between endorsement and imposition. Basically, anybody can endorse, just as it is anywhere and how you make that endorsement. You tell the people, you give the person support to move on. That is endorsement and people do it, but imposition is if the party itself now decides that it is a particular candidate that must be. No, the party will not do that, it will provide a level playing field for every one of them because all the aspirants are equally respected members of the family; so we had to get that difference clarified and cleared out so that you don’t think because an important member of the family has declared support for one of them it becomes the position of the party, no. That is not the case and they understood the situation, so we are prepared to go ahead with a transparent and free primary in Ondo State.
Request for emergency economic
Powers by the president
No not this President; the reality is that in spite of his military background, he is more democratic than a lot of us who never got near the military. He is a strictly due process person, strictly rule of law person. Like when you asked why INEC is declaring elections inconclusive, he will not take his phone and call INEC to declare for APC and let them go to court. He will ask you what does the law say, do it according to the prescription of the constitution or whatever relevant law there is so I have no fear about that at all. If anything needs a quick fix and he needs the powers to do it, that is how he will do it. Look at the cases of corruption, a lot of us have been asking for a quick fix process to fight the battle against the corrupt elements but he insists on the rule of law.
Challenges as party chairman
Basically, the job of a national chairman is to reconcile all the grating interests because there are so many interests in every party and you have to make sure that at all times, everybody must have a bit of the action and ensure that no one person becomes so dominant and will now feel he or she owns the party and of-course at every stage, you have to give policy direction so that everybody can subscribe to it; so that is a continuing challenge. The way we operate we don’t settle our issues in the pages of newspapers while the talkative ones are talking, we are busy getting to the nitty-gritty and settling the issues.