Honourable Pius Alile is the Director of Planning and Logistics in the Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation. He spoke on the Edo governorship election. Excerpts…
How are you preparing for the election?
So far, so good, it has been an interesting political game. As you are aware, our programmes are everywhere in the 192 wards in the state. We have held the primary; Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu emerged as the candidate for the 2020 gubernatorial election in the state. It is no longer news that Governor Godwin Obaseki was disqualified by the NWC screening committee, and that drove him to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You will recall that this was a man who prevented POI from coming to the All Progressives Congress (APC) a year ago. The same man went into a party and became a member, and under five days, he won the party’s ticket. If I may ask; is that not absurdity and corruption in its peak? Remember that this was a man who called APC leaders all manner of names, saying that he won’t spent the state’s fund to service political leaders.
What are you implying?
In this present administration, there are certain things you cannot justify; APC rejected Obaseki because he failed to deliver on his election promises. He came into power on the basis of continuity, but he did not continue with the projects of his predecessor, instead, he went into his own personal voyage and you can see where it has landed him now. I want right thinking Edo people to take a critical look at all the projects he said he has done, evaluate and come out with their own judgment, you will discover that the man was just painting buildings that were built by past administrators. In governance, we access leaders with their performance. All the things Obaseki promised Edo people in 2016, he did not fulfill any and yet some blind people are saying he has done well. Look at all our higher institutions in Edo State, they have all been closed down, and you are talking of education in a place where there is no electricity. How many of our villagers are Internet compliant? When you close down schools, the economy of that community suffers greatly.
Don’t you think the removal of Oshiomhole as APC National Chairman has affected the fortunes of the party?
The former National Chairman is a man Edo people respect so much. As a governor for eight years, Oshiomhole did marvelously well; believe it or not, Oshiomhole brought political light to the people of Edo State. And today, whether he is the APC chairman or not, Edo people still have a lots of respect for him. He is our number one political leader and voice, both at the federal level and in the state. If you look at Benin City, most of the things you see here are things done by him. Is not about being a national chairman, it is about being two-time governor of the state. He went the extra mile to do most of the projects you are seeing in Edo today. In fact when he was the governor of the state, he delivered all he promised the good people of the state. Being the national chairman or not is inconsequential because Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is a tough political tactician, who is also well loved in the three senatorial districts of the state with good political structure in all the 192 political wards. The present governor is not a politician and does not have structure, he is relying on incumbency factor, but I’m sorry he would be disappointed on September 19. I can bet with anybody he would be so defeated, we are talking about overwhelming defeat. He would not get one local government in Edo. The PDP he has gone to, when POI left PDP, he depleted PDP and let me tell you, people are still leaving PDP till date to support POI, because a real politician knows where the pendulum will swing. Let us not be deceived, tell me one notable politician in the Edo State that went with him to PDP.
Don’t you think that those who did not go with him are planted to play the spoiler’s role?
It doesn’t work like that, this is politics, and if that was his intension, we would see, when the chips are down. Those of them that are eating and drinking champaign with him now, will dump him on that day, mark my words. There are too many hidden things in politics that people don’t seem to know or understand. You cannot be in your party and work against your party. We know what we are doing, you want me to give you our strategic plan, no, I won’t do it. Look it is not possible for them to execute the agenda of Obaseki, because if they continue, even before the election, they would be expired. You can see the calibre of men in the committee for the Edo 2020 election; it tells you that APC means serious business. And again, if you look at the composition, it is a reconciliation committee of different interests coming together. POI will also set up his own campaign committee. For Chief John Odigie Oyegun and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to be in a committee to deliver Edo State, it means that we know what we are doing.
Why are you so sure that PDP won’t win the election?
They don’t have what it takes to win the 2020 election. Forget about the crowd you saw at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, most people you saw there are POI’s men. I say it again and again; Obaseki and his team would be overwhelmingly defeated on September 19. We know those that are politicians in Edo State and they know what we are capable of doing. We will deliver Edo State to the President as they have given us the mandate to do it. The Edo 2020 election will be very peaceful, Edo people should not be afraid because POI is a peace-loving citizen of Edo State and he has what it takes to deliver democratic dividends to the electorate.