PDP Supervised Edo’s Destruction – Shaibu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Supervised Edo’s Destruction – Shaibu

Posted: Jul 21, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hon Philip Shaibu, a member of the House of Representatives represents Etsako Federal Constituency, Edo State. He was recently picked as the running mate to Godwin Obaseki, the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the September 10 governorship election. In this interview with FELIX IGBEKOYI, he spoke on the chances of his party in the forthcoming election in the state and other sundry issues. Excerpts:

You have been working round the clock for some time over the APC primary in Edo State and now you are fortunate to have come up as the running mate to the Governorship candidate, Godwin Obaseki. How do you feel?
I feel very elated and excited having been in the minds of the leaders of the party. If I am not in their mind, my names would not have featured at all but today; l am the running mate to the gubernatorial candidate of APC, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. I am very grateful to God. I thank the incumbent Governor and the leaders for the confidence they have in me and the confidence l will not betray them. It is just God, my life has been a life of testimony. l see it as a grace from God. Everything that went on is just miraculous, it is God that said it will be. If it is for strength, energy and struggle, l don’t think l would be one of those that would be nominated.

The battle is the main election coming up soon. How prepared are you and the party for the election?
In terms of the general election, it is only APC we have in Edo. We don’t have the PDP and why we know that PDP is not on ground is when you hear their utterances and where you have all those walking stick old men running round people that they have one time or the other abused. That shows the energy and the strength of the people. When people are resolved to deal with these mysterious human being, they don’t have a place.  Edo people were raised with the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole providing the leadership right from 2006 and 2007 to say enough is enough for them and they are completely down. Recently the oxygen mask that they were on in Abuja, Nigerians also took it up so they are completely down and out. So, in Edo State they don’t have a place. Even one of the factional running mates that they have picked is one of those that supervised the looting and destruction of our common heritage in Edo State. Edo people have not forgotten. In terms of electioneering, they have no place in Edo State.

You are one of the brains and foot soldiers of the Grace Group, No Man Is God. Now the leader of the group is on the other side of the divide. How are you managing it now?
Grace Group was my baby. I and Morrison wrote the mission statement of Grace Group before it was hijacked by Pastor lze Iyamu. The mission statement of Grace Group is not different from that of Edo In Safe Hands. Everything about it was the structure established by myself and Morrison and some few other leaders like Lawrence Okah that established Grace group. It is unfortunate that the mission was derailed after being hijacked for selfish ambition. At that time, there was a disagreement and that was why we split bat Grace group. What was Grace group all about? No man is god. Who was the god being talked about? It was Chief Anenih. That is why l said some people called others serpent and another one said if ‘l am serpent no man is god’. Both sides now are eating their vomit. So you can see how bunch of confused men they have become. That is why they are finding breath that had been taken away from them in Abuja. They don’t even have a unified candidate, they have factions. l can tell you that Grace group as far as l am concerned, metamorphosed into Edo In Safe Hands because the vision of Grace group was all about development and fighting against those characters that wanted to mortgage our collective heritage.  With the leadership of Governor Oshiomhole coming in, we saw that the vision we have in Grace Group was the same vision he decided and brought into politics. First and foremost, he came to rescue, beyond that he said, ‘let the people live’. That was the mission statement. I can tell you conveniently that grace Group is me, l am Grace Group. Morrison Ovia Ogunrobo, Lawrence Akah and Osarodion Ogie. Those are the founding members and have the vision to fix Edo State and make sure the ruling houses are brought down to their knees just like the Comrade Governor did.

There are some areas in Edo State that are seen as PDP stronghold. Places like Okpela believe development is uneven. What do think can be done to assuage the challenges?

Development of Edo state will take some time to get to the level the Comrade Governor envisioned it and all of us buy into it. PDP supervised the destruction and what Governor Oshiomhole did was to rescue us from the destruction and build a foundation. As we are today, it is just a foundation that we have built while the continuity is for us to build on the foundation. Characters that do not see the hospital as project but see the new central hospital as flower, characters that see the Benin Water Scheme as flower, Characters that see the dualisation of Ekpoma, Auchi, Oronighe, and all the axis, characters that see red roof schools all over Edo State as flowers do not see them as development can never build on the foundation that the comrade Governor has laid. The only way to continue with these developments is to get to those areas the Comrade Governor has not touched. That is why we are saying APC under our leadership should be able to do that and that is why we are seeking for votes. Ordinarily, if the job was finished, we would have not bothered but it is not completed. Edo State is work in progress and the only way the progress can be sustained as progressives is to continue to vote the progressives’ party into government and the progressives are those in APC. That is why with Godwin Obaseki and l, the future of Edo is secure. Obaseki has been the Economic Team Chairman for all these years, so he understands the areas that are left, ongoing and the next destination. Having this blueprint and one of those who masterminded the blueprint, a lot of axis are there that have not been touched, not only Okpella. If we have fund the way they had, Edo State would have gotten more than the level it is now but with the little resources, you would attest that Edo State is paying salary. You would remember the old days when families of pensioners were coming to Sapele road to carry dead bodies of their aged fathers, people have forgotten. Today they talk about areas, then it was nonpayment, nobody is talking about that now. And to make it worse, they were sacking the best brains in the civil service in the name of saving money meanwhile; they were looting the money to built individual estates, they were stealing the money to charter planes round the world in the name of celebrating birthdays. I can tell you that Edo people know better and l can tell you that most of this propaganda that they want to fly out is known to the people. No Edo man would want to return to Egypt. It is forward ever and backward never.

You are a member of the House of Representatives now you want to abandon that to become the Deputy Governor. Is that where you think you can serve the people most?

In terms of preference, it is what the people want from me. I can tell you that every position l have held is from the people; it is not directly from me moreso , when they know that if you put me anywhere l can do what they want and they have never pushed me to where they know l cannot deliver. I can tell you that the Deputy Governor of a thing came from them. As l speak to you, l am part of the government, part of the system and vision. Even as member of Edo State House of Assembly then, l did constituency projects, market, electricity, water in line with specification and vision of Comrade Oshiomhole, showing that beyond being  lawmakers, we are able to do projects in line with specification and standard of the executives. It shows that both the executive and legislature keyed into the vision to rescue Edo State from the underdevelopment to a developed state. So, the different now is that l am not making law but implementing. Most of those things we dealt with as lawmakers are things we are coming to meet and now implement. It is a familiar terrain that l am used to, the different is that l am now going to be bestowed with the responsibility of the executives not approving.

As a member of House Committee on Education, do you intend to introduce free education? Mother tongue is going into extinction; do you think there is need to reverse that and who do you blame for such extinction?
We should blame the parents not the children. I also blame myself because l also speak English. I am forcing myself now to make sure that greeting at home is restricted to the dialect.  For Edo, l share the idea that we should have one language.  One, it is easy for us. All of us can trace our origin to Benin, then we can adopt the Benin language, and when we adopt that we need to train our teachers and prepare them for that before we can change the curriculum to have Benin language for all our students. And for those who can afford it, get private teachers to train our children. There is unity in language; it has worked for me in many places. I was born in the north, l speak Yoruba, Hausa and that language barrier has helped me a lot. Free education matter is what all of us have to sit down and discuss, it is not what one man can sit down and say he wants to give free education or not as the view of the people should be the ultimate. There is need to hold a stakeholders meeting and agree on it and how we can move our education forward either to be free or affordable.

There is a move at the National Assembly for the Principal Officers to enjoy immunity like the President and Governor. As a member, what is your contribution to it?

l do not see why we are talking about immunity at this stage. The issue of immunity is controversial. I want to believe we should follow international standards in doing any legislation. Democracy that we practice today is tailored towards the American model and if the American model is what we are following, Paul Ryan does not have immunity that Obama has. So l do not see why we should be talking about immunity at this stage. I came back from a course in the parliament in the United States. I was led there by Hon. Shagari from Sokoto, as part of the committee to prepare manual for the National Assembly. We were simply told there when l asked a question about how their leadership is all about, whether a lawmaker from the Minority can become the Deputy Senate President or Deputy Speaker? They said it is not possible, that even during the mid-term election, if there is a change in majority of the party, if the majority party joins the minority, the Majority Leader has to resign and become minority. If the minority becomes majority the minority has to resign and take up the position of the majority. Without any election, he has to resign and take the position that shows they are minority or majority. If that is the model we are practising it shows that it is completely unacceptable to have an opposition as the Deputy Senate President. Another interesting thing that l learnt from the seminar is that Deputy Chairmen of Committees is only what Minority Party is entitled to. That Majority Party produce the ones that are Chairmen of all Committees except Public Account but any other Minority Party takes Vice Chairmen but not Chairmen; but in our own Parliament,  even the most sensitive of all are for the Minority. So you see where the contradictions are from. It is these contradictions in the national Assembly that are bringing the issue of immunity.