Edo 2016: APC Not Campaigning Yet – Ojezua | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Edo 2016: APC Not Campaigning Yet – Ojezua

Posted: Jul 19, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Barrister Anslem Ojezua, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, in this interview with ISAAC OLAMIKAN, denies recent allegations against him while making some salient points about the party. Excerpts…

How has your party been able to manage its success at the last House of Assembly elections?

I will say that we have done very well since the wlast general elections, both at the national and the state levels. At the state level, we have been in control only now the control is more comprehensive. You can see now that with the majority that we have in the House of Assembly there is relative stability in the state. We are looking at more resources being made available to do more work. In the light of the All Progressives Congress (APC) been in control at the national level we expect that the stealing in Abuja would stop; the oil theft would stop etc. This will naturally translate to considerable increase in the allocation that comes to the state which, as you can see, must impact on our people in terms of projects and employment.

How is the party preparing for the 2016 governorship polls, especially as the polity is being heated up by those who are preparing to take over from the incumbent governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole?

At this point we do not want to subscribe to full blown campaigns. We believe that it’s premature. The reason is that we do not want anything that will distract the current developmental trend in governance. As you know very well in Nigeria, if not anywhere else, politics and governance, though they’re related, do not mix well. If we are playing politics governance takes the back burner. Now, it’s time for governance. The governor has in excess of one year to end his tenure and we believe that a lot can still be achieved during that period. Therefore, we have advised our party men, including those who are interested in the governorship contest, that they should keep their gun powder dry, at the appropriate time, when the party comes out with its guidelines, INEC comes out with its timetable, then, of course, the road would be made clear for aspirations to come up.

Talking about the party’s guidelines, would the zoning of the governorship position be part of it?

Well, I am not in a position to preempt the National Working Committee (NWC) or the National Executive Committee (NEC). As you know, under our constitution it’s the NWC that has the responsibility to conduct this exercise. They are the ones to formulate the guidelines which the NEC will ratify. Therefore, I am not in a position to preempt them.

Recently, your party withdrew the post that it earlier gave a lawmaker in the state house of assembly. What informed that action?

It was at the instance of the party leaders. It was not just my decision. I just had the responsibility to convey that decision. And, as you know, sometimes reasons are not adduced for such decisions.

What is the state chapter’s stance on the recent crisis rocking the national leadership of the party led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who is from the state?

I think a lot has been said about Chief John Oyegun. The only clear voice that I heard at the material time was that of one member in the national executive from Bayelsa State making that call. I think it was just a voice in the wilderness. Outside that, every other thing was mere speculation. We went for the NEC meeting where we went to ratify the constitution of the board of trustees and at that meeting we passed a vote of implicit confidence in both the president and the national chairman in the way they have conducted the affairs of the party thus far, having regards to the circumstances. There is no crisis. Sometimes the press tries to stimulate such things and it doesn’t quite work out the way you want it.

In recent times your name has been mentioned, especially to the effect that you are working against the defection of Barrister Kenneth Imansuangbon from the PDP to your party. What do you have to say about this?

There is no iota of truth in that. I have always believed that a serious party must be in a permanent state of mobilization. In which case we are open to receive new members from anywhere and at any time. Ken Imansuangbon is not an unknown person. I think he has a lot that he can add in terms of value to our party. Therefore, why would I want to stop him from moving into the party? He has come to see me and we have had very useful discussions. When we were ACN he was a member of our party. He contributed a lot to the development of the party. When he left he did so against our advice. When he returned we were happy to see him back. In any case, I came back from a short trip outside the country only to be told that we have a NEC meeting in Abuja. The meeting with the president, which was widely publicized, coincided with the day that Imansuangbon went to his ward people. I have said it before that any politician worth his salt, no matter how big he is, must go home to associate with his people with whom he has to relate, and that Imansuangbon has done. So, for anybody to suggest that I do not want to admit him stinks of mischief. Imansuangbon has called me and we have spoken. There is nothing negative between us. We are happy to have him with us and it’s our expectation that he will comply with our rules and culture.

There are allegations that you are working with somebody from the opposition party to scuttle the chances of your party. How would you react to this?

I am usually not interested in responding to anonymous our faceless statements. If people had the mind to release a statement of such gravity, you would have expected that they have the courage to disclose their identities. What surprised me most was that some respectable newspapers published it without giving the authorship some light. I don’t think that is ethical. Those allegations are products of minds that are unsound.