Chief Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information in Edo state is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the latest Supreme Court judgment sacking David Lyon, the Bayelsa state governor-elect, the reconstitution of the party’s Reconciliation Committee and latest developments in his home state. Excerpts:
As a chieftain of the APC, what was your reaction when you received the news of the sacking of David Lyon by the Supreme Court less than 24 hours before his inauguration as governor?
I warned about this development some few weeks ago. I said that Oshiomhole is doing more harm than good for APC. I said he is too combative and a troublemaker who thinks he knows more than everybody. This is not Labour movement, this is politics. His recklessness is what is leading APC into this problem that is happening now. Why must we win elections and then lose it to the opposition? We lost Zamfara, Rivers and now Bayelsa through carelessness. The deputy governorship candidate of APC in Bayelsa has no certificate but because he was brought by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, anything goes. The party leadership led by Oshiomhole failed to do due diligence and background checks. Prof . Itse Sagay attacked him for being too troublesome and that his actions will kill the party but he blackmailed the old man saying he (Sagay) asked him to contest for presidency so as to present him in bad light to Buhari. Sagay had to say he asked him to contest against former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 and not against President Buhari. Now we have lost Bayelsa, if they like let them gamble with Edo. We are waiting for them.
President Muhammadu Buhari few days ago reconstituted the reconciliation committee of the APC. As a leader in Edo state where the reconciliation committee will have a lot of work to do, are you comfortable with the latest development?
I think it is a welcome development. Though I have my reservations about it but the governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki who is the party leader in the state has issued a statement that he is happy about it. I agree with him because someone leading others through the river knows where it is the deepest. The governor is our party leader and we abide by any position taken by him. If he said the newly reconstituted committee is fine, then it is okay by me even though like I said, I have my reservations about it.
Recently there has been report s of explosions in some parts of Benin, the Edo state capital ahead of the elections. What do you think is responsible for this and how can it be nipped in the bud?
I am not too comfortable hearing about explosions here and there but at the end of the day, I think it is something that is being done by a group of people to achieve an end which is to give a wrong impression about Edo state. We are not a violent people and there have never been political killings in any of our elections in this state. In legal terms, I think what is happening is what is called compelling action by intimidation. They are trying to intimidate the powers that be to do certain things. Opposition to Obaseki has never been this violent. The Edo People’s Movement (EPM) led by Adams Oshiomhole and his boys have always been there and it was clear ab initio that their aim is not to give Obaseki a second term ticket and they made it quite clear. Though they were abusing the governor and holding rallies, there was no violence. But the whole thing changed when a decampee from PDP joined the APC and that is Osagie Ize-Iyamu. The whole plot is to remove Obaseki at all cost. First of all, they tried the National Assembly to take over the functions of the Edo state House of Assembly but the Edo state government was able to get a court order stopping them. Then, 14 of the lawmakers-elect loyal to them have already been quarantined in Abuja as Internally Displaced Politicians (IDPs). Their hope was that if the national assembly is able to take over the House, these 14 lawmakers will come back to Edo state and impeach the speaker and later go after the governor. After that one failed, they started burning markets and so on. People may start asking, why is all these taking place? The whole idea is to force the federal government to declare state of emergency. That was why I used the word ‘compelling action by intimidation. But they have also failed in this aspect too.
For those of you supporting Governor Obaseki, some people have claimed that you are just egging him and on and will dump him by the time the election heat starts in Edo state. What is your reaction to that?
I stand like the Rock of Gilbratar behind Godwin Obaseki. Nothing will make me leave him. I support him. I am doing that because he is doing the right thing. People don’t like change. For you to make an omelette you must break the egg. Things must go very tidy before we get to the next level. I am convinced that Godwin Obaseki knows what he is doing because I have known him from the age of 11 years. I have said it on so many fora that my relationship with him is not politics. I was his senior at college. I was in Class 5 while he was in Class 1. He is not just somebody that I am just knowing. I knew him from home before he came to join us in college. You can be rest assured that I know the person that I am talking about. He knows what he is doing. He is very straight forward and focused. Nobody can bend him. I have tried all the tricks in the book. But it is what he wants to do that he does. What’s happening now is like a storm in a teapot. There is a no cause for alarm. Be rest assured. I know many of us are still standing between the line. But don’t be bothered, don’t be shaken. Obaseki must do his eight years. If anybody, by error, omission and commission stops him, APC is dead in Edo State.