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Posted: Jun 7, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Professor Fred Ebegue Amadasun, a leading aspirant for the Edo State governorship ticket on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform, has promised to go a step further in delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state. In this chat with Isaac Olamikan,  he also spoke about other sundry issues. Excerpts:

It’s known that this is not the first time that you will seek to govern Edo State. What is the driving force behind this desire and what do you have that you feel others do not have?

The driving force is that I intend to do those things that some people seem to overlook or do not think about. As I have said time and time again, I want to make Edo State independent of federal revenue. I want to make Edo State self-sustaining economically. I want to make Edo State not only to succeed but to thrive. If this has been achieved by successive leaders before now, I will just sit back and enjoy the results of such efforts. But year in, year out, I just keep wishing that we get it right. We’re yet to and hence, I have decided to put myself up for service. That’s the driving force.

People are expressing concern your local government area, Orhionmwon, has three aspirants, which is about the highest among the 18 local government areas of the state. Are you not worried by this?

I don’t think the issue of zoning has been discussed formally at any forum. Orhionmwon having multiple aspirants is not novel and should not induce any excitement. In actual fact, Orhionmwon does not have the highest number of aspirants in the race. Oredo actually has. Oredo has up to four aspirants. We are only just three from Orhionmwon. Nobody talks about Oredo aspirants crowding the scene. The number of aspirants from Orhionmwon should not be an issue at all. We are not even the highest in number.

During your first attempt to govern the state, you were a member of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) which was considered a leftist party. Will you still stick to those leftist ideals if you emerge governor?

If you recall, SDP (Social Democratic Party) and NRC (National Republican Convention) were brain children of the military administration. I still remember watching television the night General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) announced. He said one a little to the right the other a little to the left. By the right, he meant the NRC which means it ought to have a conservative hue. By the left, he meant the SDP that should  have some progressive or liberal hue. Let’s not talk of socialist hue. I naturally gravitated towards the SDP. I won’t say I am a socialist but I have compassion on those who need the assistance of government, of society to be able to compete effectively. In other words, the government that should help the not so endowed, the not so privileged and the not so opportuned. Let’s say the lesser ones of the societies because perhaps, we say that conservatism or capitalism is everybody for himself and God for us all. But it can’t be so. We all don’t have the same opportunities, the same privileges and the same background. Government needs to be there for some others so that they can aspire to where others hope to. That’s why I find myself in the Social Democratic Party and today the party that I am in the All Progressives Congress (APC) is more or less like the old SDP. If you take a look at the APC manifesto, if you were to describe it, it’s like a welfarist or liberal party. That’s just a description of compassion for the less privileged. That’s where I have always tended to naturally in life. It’s not an accident I am where I am.

What are those things that are presently lacking in the state that you intend to address when you become the governor?

I have said it several times that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is doing well. But government is a continuum. When he leaves should his legacy become aborted? Should the developmental journey come to an end? I say no. My main aim is to maintain the laudable objective of the Oshiomhole administration and build on it. In other words, continue that developmental trajectory. Let developmental train keep moving. Our politicians are often accused of saying things they cannot do. But I don’t think it’s true. I think it’s more of the will rather than the ability. If you look at some other places you’ll find that what others have failed to do some others have done. Yet the resources at their disposal are not too different. So, it’s more of the will than the ability. For me, I want to build on the legacies of the Adams Oshiomhole administration. In doing this, I quite recognise that I may not have the kind of funds he had at my disposal. Of course, oil revenue is now dwindling; whatever is coming from the federal purse is on the decline. Therefore, there is got to be very fresh ideas of how to generate revenue even surpass what Adams Oshiomhole was able to get. I have said it in several for a that one of the legacies of Adams Oshiomhole is growing the internally generated revenue (IGR) between 750 percent to 1000 percent. Before he came it was N200 million a month. Since he came it has oscillated between N1.5billion to N2billion. That is between 750 percent to 1000 percent. I have that I will grow the IGR from the N1.5billion that Oshiomhole will leave it to N15million. To some doubting Thomases it looks easier said than done. It looks unrealistic, and unachievable. But I will do it.

Don’t you think you are working against the tide in your desire to become governor of the state on the platform of the APC considering that the governor of the state, who is also the leader of the party in the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole already has an anointed candidate?

Almost all reporters have asked me this question and my answer has remained the same. The constitution of our party does not empower anybody to anoint a candidate. But it’s only a natural phenomenon that you have preference for somebody over another. Oshiomhole is human, he can have preference for one aspirant over the others. But neither the constitution of the party or even the natural forces of operation permits anyone to say this is it and so it must be. As long as we all have access to the delegates, we are all permitted to go and lobby them.