Why people must vote to change APC, by Ize-Iyamu
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), spoke to ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU on his mission to Osadebey Avenue and vision for Edo people. He also gave reasons for his involvement in politics.
You have a manifesto slogan call SIMPLE agenda; can you give an insight into it?
My plan is simple. It is called the SIMPLE agenda.Stands for Social Welfare and Security. We cannot expect to build a safe and secure State when we have not taken steps to create jobs for our young men and women. In the past eight years, all the Industries that used to provide jobs for our young men and women have been shut down by an insensitive government. Where is Edo Line? Where is Bendel Breweries? Where is Bendel Insurance? Where is Urhonigbe Rubber Factory? Where is Uromi Fertilizer Plant? Where is Ehor Fruit Juice Factory?
I believe and strongly so that Government must first take care of its responsibility towards the people before it can have the moral right to ask the people to take care of their responsibility toward the government. To this end, I hereby declare that we will review the excessive multiple taxation burden in this State and in consultation with the people, evolve a simple tax structure.
All 192 wards in the State will have a Social Welfare Officer whose job it will be, to be the first point of contact on issues of Maternal mortality, Infant mortality and balanced Child nutrition up till age 5. They will visit you in your home to ask you how the government can help you.I stands for Infrastructure. First, we must resolve to build the infrastructure of the mind and soul where brother cares for brother and sister cares for sister and we all care for our senior citizens. We cannot allow our senior citizens retire into penury.
On education infrastructure, first, we must train our teachers to be the best that they can be and then we must change the way we reward them so that they can change the way they teach. We must equip every school with a computer laboratory to enable our children function and compete with their counterparts across the world. Every Edo Student in tertiary institutions will be entitled to Bursary award.
Concerning road construction, we plan to evolve a system that makes our six dry months work for us like 12 months by introducing double shifts in road construction contracts; while for the health infrastructure, we propose to build a healthcare system that is second to none in Nigeria.M in my agenda stands for manpower development and training. We will equip the Edo youth to be the most productive youth in Nigeria. A society that trains its youth is a society that plans to succeed. Changes will be made to our educational curriculum such that every child would pick four different skills to learn from JSS1-JSS3. They would then be required to specialize in one skill from SS1 to SS3. When that child is ready to graduate from secondary school, they will have a WAEC certificate in one hand and a Trade Diploma in the other hand.
P is for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and I say the business community does not have a better friend. I aim to engage the private sector in the revitalization of all neglected industries in Edo State and in the establishment of new ones. We intend to build Industrial Clusters in each of the three Senatorial zones with ready to go Certificate of Occupancy and a Five-year tax holiday. Let the word go forth therefore to the four winds of Nigeria, North, South, East and West and beyond the shores of our great country – that Edo State is open and ready for business.
L is for Leadership by example. We plan to lead from the front. We will first do before we ask you to do.The E is for Employment Creation and Empowerment Scheme. There is no better, faster way to create employment than through agriculture. The idea is to build Agricultural Settlements in all three Senatorial zones and bring back Commodity Marketing Boards to buy produce from farmers. We plan to put 500,000 hectares under cultivation in the first four years, which will be allocated to 100,000 young farmers who will employ up to 10 people per hectare to address the scourge of unemployment, hunger and poverty in the land.
A pastor and a politician; this is a rare and unusual combination in Nigeria, why are you in politics?
The truth is that for a long time, there have been quite some wrong teachings among Christians. In the past, there was this wrong teaching about poverty, that rich men cannot make heaven only poor people will. So a lot of Christians will shun good jobs and say no, if I take that job, I will not make heaven. But later, they realised that there is no scriptural basis at all for such belief. When Jesus talked about how hard it will be for a rich man to make heaven, he was just referring to those who carry riches above the things of God, not that rich men couldn’t make heaven. Rich men can make heaven if they use their wealth in a manner that will please God. In fact, your riches can actually guarantee you heaven if it is well used.
So, that was one wrong teaching then. It is the same thing with politics. You say, ah, no, Christians should not be involved in politics but it is through politics that leaders emerge. Are you saying Christians should not be leaders and yet politics and the actions of the leaders affect our daily lives, then what are we talking about? It is true that in Nigeria, politics is seen to be very dirty. It is so because we have allowed the wrong people to be in it. When you have bad people in politics, the system will be bad.
What do you plan to do with the natural assets of the state as governor?
Edo State is rich in mineral and agricultural resources. Edo North for example is one of the richest Senatorial districts in terms of solid mineral deposits in the country with 18 known deposits including Gold, Marble, Limestone, Phosphate and several others. Edo State ought to be a land of plenty but we have in the last eight years had a government without vision. That is why I am appealing to every eligible voter in Edo state that they have the power to change the rules of the game on September 10th 2016. It is the power to change the change. Under the APC government, what we have had is a daily cycle in which we struggle to make a living. Cost of living has gone up. The people must vote to change the direction in which APC is leading us as Nigerians. This is our chance. We must seize the moment. The future is now!
How would you assess the outgoing government?
For the last eight years in this State, the government has never asked the people any question. They believe they know what you want. I believe that we must give the government back to the people. Giving the people the government will be in fulfillment of the dream by Abraham Lincoln when he declared at Gettysburg in the heat of the American Civil war, as brother killed brother that “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
As far away as we may be from the United States of America; As far back as 1863 when Abraham Lincoln spoke those words; he was speaking to a day, when a little boy born in Benin City; who went to Primary School in Benin City; who went to Secondary school in Benin City; who went to University in Benin City; who worked in Benin City, would grow up to aspire to lead his people with hope, with courage, with vision and with a plan. That is me. There is hunger in the land. There is chronic unemployment in the land. There is poverty in the land. When there is poverty in the land, our women bear the brunt. We must reverse this situation.