Chris Nehikhare is the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo State. He spoke with OJIEVA EHIOSUN on the September 19 election.
The PDP is now in charge of Edo State. How can you convince the people to retain the party in power?
This is going to be the easiest election in terms of results for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State. It is easy because the indices used to measure good government are in favour of Governor Obaseki. He has done so well in the areas of pension reforms. This is the first time in the last 12 years that pensioners received their pensions as and when due. Pensioners do not go to the streets to protect. Civil servants receive their salaries even before the end of the month. The governor has done so well in infrastructure; roads are being built, abandoned office secretariats are completed and brought back to function as offices. In sports you can see the face- lift given to Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which is now one of the best in the country. So, Obaseki has done so many good projects within these few years in office to put Edo State forward.
How prepared is your party and the governor for the election?
Talking about our preparedness for the election, PDP is fully ready, but you remember the NCDC and the Federal Tax force on COVID-19 have warned against crowd gathering. So, we have put measures in place on how to go about our campaigns without going against the guidelines. With this in our minds, we have set up ways to reach our people. You might not see us on radio or television, but we are reaching our supporters one-on-one, selling our product for the election, that is Godwin Obaseki. We have told them that he has done well in the first term, and that he will do much more in the second term. The PDP is the only political party in the state where he will have the chance and freedom to work for the people of Edo, without any form of interference from godfathers. Won’t he face same issues in PDP? Of course, you know that PDD has no godfathers, so the issue of one party executive disturbing him would not be there. Obaseki will be free as air to work for the good people of Edo in his second term, particularly now that we have succeeded in freeing him from the cage of Adams Oshiomhole and his team.
Has PDP leaders fully received Obaseki into their fold?
For us to have given him our governorship ticket, that tells you that we received him wholeheartedly, because we believe in development for the majority of Edo people. What happened was that when he was being tossed around by the APC, many prominent Edo people, even market traders and ordinary people were putting pressure on PDP to allow him come into the PDP family, so that what he has started in Edo State can be completed. They saw the APC as a party whereby godfatherism was determining their fate, they said they want to take their future in hands; they want to vote and elect their leader by themselves. So we have unanimously welcomed him, we are united and are working in synergy to move Edo State to her pinnacle. Again we have been holding meetings, mapping out plans, campaigning from one LGA to the other ensuring that victory becomes ours on September 19th. Don’t forget that our Umbrella is so wide and can accommodate everybody. So for Obaseki and us, we are one united family, working to together to see how we can retain the Government House and keep Edo State moving.
Is it true that Obaseki paid heavily to buy PDP ticket? Don’t forget that Governor Nyeson Wike of Rivers State called PDP leaders tax collectors. You know in the process negotiation, things are said in anger. How do you buy PDP ticket? Who do you give the money to? Who gives receipt for such sales?
You see, these things are purely the handiwork of mischief makers in the APC. The same Obaseki was thrown away from APC for not giving them money, so how do you think that same man will come and throw money away to PDP? In fact, it was Governor Wike’s statement that helped to speed up the coming of Obaseki to PDP.
But it was rumoured that Obaseki paid each of the three aspirants that stepped down for him. Are you saying he did not pay one kobo to join PDP?
I say it categorically that Obaseki did not pay one kobo to anybody in PDP to join. So if anyone has document, let that person come out and prove me wrong. Now tell me, where would the money come from? How would he account for such funds?
With the use of federal might and all the forces of APC, do you see PDP winning the election?
For us in the PDP, we are certain that the September 19 election will send APC away from Edo State. We have taken back what belongs to us and APC won’t come near that Government House again in Edo State. Nobody, not even President Muhammadu Buhari, not Oshiomhole can stop Governor Obaseki from coming back. This election is about Edo State not about Federal Government. We are the people that will decide who governs us. Buhari and his APC team have failed this country. | src: NewTelegraph