My fears for Edo governorship election — Onolememen
…obligations INEC on loose, honest and credible polls
…Says Edo election litmus test for 2023
…Why Federal may won’t be an problem
Through Chris Ochayi
Former Minister of nation for Defence and on the spot past Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen is a technocrat, flesh presser and businessman. In this interview with vanguard, Onolememen bares his mind on the country of the state, specially the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo country among different problems.
On out of doors government workplace
I’ve constantly regarded that there’s existence after workplace. It’s miles best folks who are out of truth a good way to suppose that when in public workplace, it’s going to preserve for all time. There may be time for the whole thing.
And that i had no trouble with settling right down to everyday life after protecting public office. Before I became Minister of nation for Defence (2007) and later, Minister of Works (2011), i used to be a practising Architect/consultant. Therefore, I had no problem settling all the way down to non-public life. It wasn’t a problem at all and i experience what I do.
How has it been being in opposition in Edo country all these years?
Being in opposition in my kingdom, Edo kingdom, had now not been a palatable one, thinking about the situations.If you go down reminiscence lane, you’ll find that in 1999 at the advent of the Fourth Republic, Edo state become overwhelmingly PDP. Our birthday party changed into the dominant celebration, when chief fortunate Igbinedion gained the gubernatorial election in 1999 and in 2003, whilst he won the re-election. And it become the PDP that had an awesome majority within the house of assembly. Like they are saying, the thief came inside the night time and stole the governorship, and given that then, we have been in limbo.
At every election due to the fact that 2007, we attempted to get the governorship back to to our birthday celebration. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, electioneering has received a infamous dimension to the quantity that sanctity of votes isn’t assured. No way to useless acts of litigation. This has been the bane of Edo nation politics.
How would you rating the years of APC governance in Edo kingdom?
It has been a blended grill; we have visible low moments in addition to high moments, each overlaying 12 years.
All of us knows that we ran an unusual government in Edo nation, especially inside the first eight years of the 12 years of APC management. Simply positioned, it turned into in large part a government of deceit, complete of noise and missing in substance.
Governance and activism are various things. The philosophy in the back of activism is so distinct from the philosophy behind governance. Governance is a critical commercial enterprise with the humans that elected it inside the first region. It isn’t always a simple schedule, as a few assume. In governance, some thing you do, it must be inside the not unusual hobby of every person in the nation or entity. Regrettably, we had an APC government that came in given that 2007 as much as 2015 that believed that they might do whatever they desired; which include attempts to disclaim certain tribes and nearby governments wanted amenities as well as put off them from the mainstream in Edo kingdom. Those 8 years were years of the locusts in Edo nation.
Proper enough, since 2016 until this point, we’ve had an APC government that is familiar with the idea of governance for the common correct of citizens and has been capable of do a number of human beings-orientated tasks throughout the nation with out discrimination, and via so doing, became capable of give each tribe within the state a sense of belonging. And that is why i’m able to no longer categorically say the APC failed for 12 years.
You’re talking approximately giving everybody a sense of belonging, Governor Godwin Obaseki refused to inaugurate 14 individuals of residence of meeting, leading to disaster in the residence…
I don’t think it’s far the Governor’s obligation to swear-in participants of the house of meeting. I’m aware that the residence of meeting become inaugurated, and individuals of the residence who were gift were sworn-in.
I’m conscious that there are other elected legislators who were voted in, but decided to take commands from their godfather on how to function without considering the hobby of their constituents, who voted them into legislative workplace. I don’t understand how they time-honored to be herded into some locations they should as an alternative no longer be.
They should be within the house of meeting, and now not in a few conclave. And that crisis has been on and it’s miles a pity that quite a number of the constituencies have no longer been well represented inside the house of assembly. However it’s far the handiwork of those who need to play God; and to be seen because the closing godfather when in reality they allegedly fought towards godfatherism in Edo state. It’s far a pity; a real leader must at all times, walk his talk. So you can’t on one hand combat godfatherism and then again, need to grow to be the ultimate godfather.
On growing anxiety in Edo beforehand of the governorship poll
Edo state politics has in no way recognised this sort of gangsterism that is showing itself in recent times. It has in no way been like that in Edo nation.
From the time of the second one Republic, when Alhaji Shehu Shagari became President of Nigeria and Bendel kingdom was managed by using team spirit celebration of Nigeria, UPN, Professor Ambrose Alli of blessed memory became the Governor of the country.
There has been peace and progress; and notably, there has been improvement in the state. Professor Ambrose Alli handiest spent 4 years in office and in terms of achievements in workplace, till today, he has dwarfed every other governor that has come to Edo nation whether or not it’s miles PDP or APC, in particular the ones of them that have finished two phrases of eight years.
Ambrose Ali most effective spent four years, and he mounted many secondary colleges, he gave bursary to all tertiary students of Edo nation extraction, he built general hospitals in the neighborhood authorities areas, college of nursing, masses of industries, and provided gainful employment for Edo people. And the type of sources that had been available to him on the time have been restrained as compared to what the current governors get hold of. So that you start to ask your self, what has long gone incorrect?.
Why have people who were voted to look after the interest of the human beings of the kingdom departed from that responsibility?
During Professor Ambrose Alli’s regime, I don’t forget thoroughly that the hospital management board turned into very effective and working. The overall hospitals in maximum of the local government aeas were well funded and catered for. The college of nursing become education nurses and setting them in hospitals. But inside the beyond 12 years, that has no longer been the case, particularly the eight years following the courtroom of attraction’s elimination of Professor Osunbor from workplace. In essence, Edo state residents were short-modified.
It became only about four years ago we began to see the light at the cease of the tunnel whilst Governor Obaseki become voted into workplace in 2016. Obaseki targeted on governance, and nowadays anywhere you move in Edo country, you spot proof of good governance with projects dotting the diverse components of the kingdom.
Beyond that, you will also see that the authorities is being attentive to human development in such regions as education, fitness care, welfare of residents, be it in form of schooling, and provision of extension offerings in agriculture.
And you see a governor who has taken upon himself to make certain that residents of the state specially the youths are geared up with special capabilities. And he has commenced reconstructing, rebuilding the moribund Technical faculties across the nation. That is some thing to be proud of. You had to come to Edo state 8 or five years ago and spot how dilapidated what was the country secretariat and other governance infrastructure seemed like. Those governance infrastructure today, are sporting a brand new appearance. Edo country now boasts of one of the great kingdom authorities’s secretariats inside the united states.
And this is the handiwork of Godwin Obaseki. Twelve years ago, no city tasks were embarked upon by the then APC authorities. Even when i was Minister of Works, apart from Federal street projects inclusive of urban alignment of federal roads in Benin region, you rarely see road infrastructure the state authorities did.
Instead, what you see is antagonism to the Federal authorities. Distinct levels of government need to collaborate together within the hobby of the citizens. That is the most effective way citizens can revel in dividends of democracy beneath democratic governance.
Thank goodness, today the narrative is exceptional, city infrastructures are being evolved across the Edo by way of Godwiin Obaseki
The success recorded by using Governor Obaseki in his first time period is what gave our party contributors the courage to vote him as our birthday party’s candidate in the approaching gubernatorial election.
Birthday celebration contributors in Edo country are glad to marketing campaign for Obaseki/Shuaibu’s price tag at the strength of their achievements in their first time period.
I am positive that PDP will win the governorship election decisively.
How might you describe the current violent conflict among the PDP and APC supporters on the Palace of Oba of Benin?
The incident that took place on the Palace of the Oba of Benin changed into very unfortunate. And i assume first and primary, it turned into very shameful, and disrespectful to the Crown of the Benin kingdom. And i simply desire that in some unspecified time in the future the safety groups will get to the basis of the matter and fish out all people who had been answerable for it and mete out suitable punishments to the culprits.
The PDP is now contesting the governorship election against APC, which shaped authorities on the centre, what do you reflect onconsideration on fears through some political observers on the use of Federal would possibly?
Once I hear such things as that, I feel very unhappy. The President of Nigeria is president of all Nigerians no matter your political persuasion. In order that shouldn’t come into attention in any respect because we don’t have a Federal election.
All we have is a country election. So, to that quantity, it is a local election. So, the Federal authorities truly, aside from making sure the protection of lives of residents who might be voting and shielding the residences of citizens, they don’t have any function to play in the election. The independent country wide Electoral fee, INEC, is the statutory body charged with the obligation of conducting this election.
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And all we count on of INEC is to conduct a good election so that it will make certain that the votes of the voters will matter due to the fact as a rustic we ought to haven’t any excuse. We have emerge as a giggling stock inside the comity of nations in Africa and the world today because of our incapacity to do matters proper. We was an example in Africa. But inside the past few years we’ve got no longer been capable of deliver credible election.
I’m the usage of this opportunity to urge INEC to behavior a loose and truthful election, and make Nigeria proud. And that i want to endorse that it is in the interest of posterity for them to get Edo right due to the fact Edo election goes to be a litmus take a look at for the 2023 elections. It’s far critical that the citizens of this u . S . Begin to trust in the electoral umpire again after the sorry past wherein polling cubicles for the duration of elections had been was taking pictures grounds.
I trust that INEC has a duty to conduct a unfastened and fair election; in the event that they do this and the residents begin to see that INEC is now capable of behavior a unfastened and fair election, extra residents might be interested by collaborating within the political method and our usa can be higher for it. The greater participation inside the democratic process, the higher for the gadget because that is possibly to throw up politicians who understand their onions and who’re geared up to certainly serve the humans.
The drawing close coming Edo country governorship election, is a stand by myself election, policemen, squaddies, NSCDC employees and other paramilitary companies would be deployed in numbers, may want to free and honest election be guaranteed underneath one of these state of affairs?
It is going to be a disgrace to this country if the Federal government that supervise the security businesses and INEC can not assure a free and honest election in a stand-by myself election, then we want to re-take a look at the basis of our statehood. As the charter places it, the safety of lives and assets is the number one obligation of presidency. So, government can not shy away from any such number one however cardinal duty.
As soon as this is carried out and the votesof the electorate rely, i will assure you that Governor Obaseki of the PDP will win the election decisively.
In 2016 Edo governorship election, you supported Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s candidacy below PDP towards APC’s Godwin Obaseki, but, nowadays you are backing Obaseki’s re-election bid. What informed your selection?
Well in politics matters show up. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu become PDP candidate in 2016 and all PDP leaders and members campaigned and labored for his achievement, which includes my humble self. There has been not anything I did no longer do to ensure that he won my neighborhood government maximally. What does that tell you? That genuinely says I’m a celebration man, and i canvassed for him on the time due to the fact he became our candidate. However inside the election of 2020, Ize-Iyamu is the candidate of the APC, and he’s no longer my candidate.
Gov. Obaseki is now the PDP candidate, and as a real party man, i have a obligation to speak and marketing campaign for him. That is the difference. So we look at the structures; I belong to the PDP, and so, it has not anything to do with persona due to the fact I’m a celebration man and that is how it must be.
So, what are your fears for this Edo 2020 election?
I’m able to mission INEC to conduct a reputable gubernatorial election and write their names in the sands of time.
Edo election like I said once more may be a litmus test and i pray for INEC that they succeed in this hard project.
What’s your recommendation to the stakeholders inside the Edo election?
I need to recommendation the stakeholders within the election, both PDP and APC adherents to stick to the policies the electoral umpire has provided. Don’t pass out of doors the guidelines, and don’t inn to self help due to the fact the security companies are there for all. Simply do your bit, comport yourself on the polling unit, get authorized, vote, watch for your vote to count, ensure that the votes are nicely counted and whoever wins ought to include the loser and congratulate every different. Tomorrow may be for the loser.
So that is why it shouldn’t be a do-or- die affair, they have to put off all styles of shenanigans that positioned hammer in the works of this election. Let us have a peaceful election in Edo kingdom and whoever emerges thru this sort of system permit all people come around the individual in the more interest of the welfare of Edo residents.