Defectors From Edo PDP Are Patronage-Seekers – Edebiri | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Defectors From Edo PDP Are Patronage-Seekers – Edebiri

Posted: May 31, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of those interested in governing the state, starting from November 2016 when the incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, will have vacated office. In this interview with ISAAC OLAMIKAN, he discusses his political ambition for 2015. Excerpts…



Soon the race to the Edo State Government House will commence. In the last couple of years you have made attempts to become governor of the state will you still participate in the race this time around?

Very well. I am absolutely interested. The project is on course. I believe this is the time for Edo people to choose the right candidate that will lead them aright.

What would you say went wrong in your previous attempts?

The last governorship election that was held in the state in 2012 we did our best. Unfortunately, the incumbency factor worked against us and we accepted it in good faith. But in this coming election there will not be an incumbency factor. The Comrade Governor (Adams Oshiomhole) would not be contesting as he would have completed his second tenure in office. So, all those who would be flying the flag of the different political parties would be contesting on a level playing ground. Like I said earlier I tried my best in the 2012 polls with a very strong structure that I set up to contest the poll but like you know in Nigeria the incumbent has so much state resources at his disposal and he can use it as much as he requires. That was what accounted for my losing the election.

A lot of people now describe you as the ‘General Muhammadu Buhari’ of Edo politics. What have you got to say about this?

If the people are seeing me as the ‘General Muhammadu Buhari’ of Edo State politics it means that I am about to win the elections because Buhari just won the presidential election. He tried a couple of times, people did not agree with his style but this year he won clearly. People have come to appreciate the fact that he is the person we need to steer our ship to safe ground. Buhari is the man we all need. So, if people see me as the Buhari of Edo State politics then it goes to confirm that the 2016 governorship election will be won by me. What I need to do is to get the support and understanding of the people so as to come out victorious. I also need to reassure the people that on coming on board I will check all the ills happening in the state. It is good to liken the situation here to the Buhari situation. Yes, I am the ‘Buhari’ of Edo State.

As the ‘Buhari’ of Edo State what are those things that should be expected from you if you eventually become governor of the state?

I have a two-pronged approach to the governance of the state. The approach is to provide infrastructure and to develop human capacity. That is all I want to do. If we do these things our state will be opened to tourists, foreign investors, FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) and indirect investments. It will be a gateway to a lot of investments in the state. So, I can assure you that for us our focus is human capacity development and infrastructural development. They must go hand in glove otherwise we cannot buttress the beauty of one particular area.

There is the argument that you have a lot of your investments outside the state.

That is not true. In the first place, I am an oil field expert and my work is majorly based in Port Harcourt. I don’t have work in Benin. So, it is natural that my office should be where I get business from. I have never done any contract in Benin. Even the NPDC that is in Benin I don’t get contract from them. I have not done one contract for the state government. All my work has been with mainly multinational companies like Shell, Chevron, Mobil. Let anybody in Edo State show me where we have Chevron, Shell or Mobil working or exploiting in the state to make me come and set up an office. There is nothing like that. So, my office is located based on the service that I render. However, when I saw an opportunity I brought it to Edo State. The National Centre of Excellence for Welding Engineering Technology is sited in the state – in Obayantor. I brought it to the state. People can look at that and say ‘how did this happen?’

Sometime ago you brought up a project tagged RITA, not much has been heard about it since then.

The project is on. What happened is that we pulled back a little to re-strategise, redesign the website and recruit new volunteers. Most of the volunteers passed out and they did not pass on to new ones. So we are in the process of recruiting new volunteers because RITA is managed by volunteers. RITA is not managed by paid staff. So we are in the process of recruiting new volunteers that will take the RITA message to all the nooks and crannies of the state.

What does RITA stand for?

RITA simply means Responsibility, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability. It shows that for whatever you do or say you must think RITA. You must think in a responsible manner; you must act in a responsible manner; you must show integrity in whatever you do; you must show integrity in whatever you do; there must be transparency in whatever you do and there must be accountability in whatever you do. That is the RITA philosophy and that philosophy is something that we expect every home and office to imbibe. The general belief is that RITA is your way of capturing the minds of some section of the society so that they vote for you during elections RITA is a philosophy of mine. It actually represents what I believe in and also expects others to believe in. So, if people see me as aproponent of RITA and want to imbibe the philosophy and also decide to vote for me then so be it. That is appreciated. But the RITA philosophy is part of the many philosophies I have about governance. RITA came up as a driving force. If you must act well, if you must deliver, then you must do it with integrity. You must be responsible about it. If you are a messenger RITA says you must be responsible. Show integrity in the way you carry your files about.  Then don’t compromise. You should be transparent in the way you deal with issues. RITA is based on the change philosophy that will alter the individual’s way of life for the better.

As we speak now there is a lot of defection from your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) don’t you think this will affect your chances of winning the 2016 governorship poll?

How many people decamped? The number of people that have decamped from the PDP as of today are not up to five. Charles (Airhiavbere) decamped. Yes. Chris (Ogiemwonyi) left a long time ago. West (Idahosa) left before the presidential election. So, which other big name has decamped since after the election? ***********And don’t forget that those that are decamping do not control the party’s delegates. These are people whose infrastructure depend on government patronage***********. For them to succeed there must belong to the government in power and that is why they left. PDP is stronger now than ever before. At the last stakeholders’ meeting there was a concrete resolve by members to ensure that PDP becomes stronger, takeover Nigeria in 2019, takeover Edo State in 2016 and other states where there is election between now and 2016. PDP is alive and stronger.

You’re known to have a good rapport with youths; so, in this your quest for governorship what plans do you have for them?

Whatever philosophy and principle of governance that I am enacting will favour the youth. When we create industries it is the youth that will benefit. No matter what no society can grow without industries. Our first policy to favour youth is to create opportunities for them to work. Once that is done they will not be asking for money to buy a plate of food. We want to eliminate that. That is what extreme poverty causes. It must stop. For the students of the state origin in institutions of higher learning we’ll be paying them compulsory bursary allowance

What of market women?

These are people who are aware that without a good government they cannot thrive. In that case they should support a man who will build a new market for them; bring the old market down and replace it with an ultra-modern market.