Exclusive interview with Mr Efe Igbinovia, a close aide of the PDP governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Chairman of the PDP New Media Campaign team. He speaks on the petition his principal and the party filed at the election petitions tribunal and their chances of victory as well X-rays the eight years tenure of former Edo state governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole sectorally, his leadership style, human relationship.
What is the present state of affairs at the Edo elections tribunal, where the PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu submitted a petition ?
Well, we have since petitioned the APC, Godwin Obaseki and the INEC over their conspiracy in overturning the mandate of the people freely expressed. given to Osagie Ize-Iyamu on the 28th of September 2016 and . I believe you are also aware how the APC which claimed they won the election dodged our petition for more than a week until we went to the court again to take an order for us to serve them on substituted names. This enabled us to paste the petition on the gate of their office complex without their notice. When it was now clear to the world that they were running away from being served, and people started expressing their disappointment in their action, they quickly went on air to say their office has been sold. But you are also aware that the same office they claimed had been sold is where they are using today. My brother, the bottom line is that they have finally replied to our petition and we are already on it preparing a super response because the reality is that the case of malpractice against them is too weighty and they won’t escape this.
At a time the public heard that APC and Mr Obaseki could not be served with copies of the petition as respondents. Some said this was a ploy to frustrate the petition. So you see these rigmarole affecting the petition in terms of the time available for justice delivery?
Not in any significant way and they cannot also frustrate the petition. They probably had two things in mind. One, they were not mentally ready to respond to the allegations having knew that it’s a weight one. Two, they needed to buy more time as they were still receiving materials from INEC to prepare their response. They knew time was of essence and they didn’t have it, so they were trying all the tricks in the book. No one should really be surprised about this as it is typical of APC. But what they didn’t know is that they would never have a perfect situation. We never had too but we worked as the materials came in gradually from INEC and by God’s grace with a team of dedicated workers, supervised by our principal we were able to meet up with the deadline with a super petition. They were afraid of the unknown or perhaps the known!
Why do you think the inspection of ballot papers as part of the documents used in the elections initially suffered a setback, when that of the voters’ register result sheets did not?
Well, it’s hard to tell why they were hell bent on frustrating that process. Honestly that really isn’t much of a big deal. The big deal is the result sheets and the voter register used on the day of the election which we already have gotten weeks after election. So I didn’t know why they were so bent on delaying the process even though we think that INEC and APC were trying hard to balance the books having conducted a very poor election and rigged it in a manner that left so many trails. Because how would one explain why INEC refused to allow us inspect the materials after receiving a court order to that effect, which they were also served. Your guess is as good as mine! What we saw at that time was unbelievable. INEC will sit in a meetin with us and begin to make a case for APC, explaining to us why we must wait for APC to join us in the inspection in the name of “administrative convenience” even though we were not joined together in the suit with APC. So again INEC clearly betrayed their neutrality and cofirmed the fact that they were in it together with APC during the election. They had to work together to be able to prove a point and be on the same page in the court. But you see, the trails are too much so much so that even if you give them six months or one year, they still won’t be able to clean up their mess. But I sympathise with them because of the disgrace that is about to befall them.
How optimistic are you in terms of getting justice at the tribunal looking at the crisis facing the judiciary across the country. As it were some say, we have cash and carry justice in Nigeria. Any hope that you will get justice?
We are very optimistic of our chances at the tribunal. Our judiciary is not as bad as people try to paint it. When you hear stories from other African countries, you will be appalled and encouraged. However, when you also compare our justice system to the ones obtainable in developed world, you would agree with me that we must do more than we are currently doing. In all of these, we have hope in the judiciary and our principal, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has reiterated this stand. We believe we will get justice because our case is not a frivolous one and our pettion was hinged on irregularities as captured in the electoral acts and not technicalities. So even if you bring 18 SANS together as we heard they are now doing, having a SAN in each local government to defend their fraudulent result and wasting tax payers money, they still won’t be able to undo the case against them. Honestly, we believe the judges will be fair minded and if they look critically at the case before them without bias, their work will be very easy. We have made it easy for them by pinpointing areas where there were electoral fruads in a very clear terms, it is now left for them to follow and give their judgement. By God’s grace, we believe we will get justice at the tribunal.
What message is there for eager and inquisitive Edo people who are in in a hurry , as it were over the tribunal doing the proper thing?
We want to first thank them for trusting us and giving us the Mandate, which we are fighting to regain. There is a big hope for us because we are not alone. The world saw the day light robbery organised by INEC and APC against the wishes of the people and they are with us in this. We are full of joy and hope because we have a very good case and we have done well to put it together very nicely. And even key APC chieftains have acknowledged in confidant that they are in trouble over the petition we submited. It’s going to be a long journey of about 10- 12 months but we will get to the promised land. We Must realise that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Remember, the story of the israelits where the Lord promised to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey. Although they thought it won’t be long before they got there but it took quite a while befor they got there and possessed the land. God has given us Edo state as our heritage to poasses but today, we have stangers in the land, we usurpers and upstarts. People whose ideology and belief sysytem is anti-progress. Surely the time will come, when the children of light will posses the land and tap into the milk and honey therin and make it flow to our people in order to bring restoration to the land and give them the much needed rest they deserve. That hour is already upon us, we want our people to raise their heads up and see that it’s already ours. However, we must go for it with hope and patient even as we remeber the scriptural admonition that says “do not be weary in well doing, for in due time you shall reap, if you do not loose hope.
What is your take on the leadership and human relationship style of the outgoing governor of Edo state?
Very poor. As a matter of fact, he is dictatorial, Intolerant and with a callous disregard for other people’s opinion and feelings. You are a journalist, I want to challenge you to investigate him and ask people who have served with him before or are still serving. You would be shocked what they will tell you, then you will realise that the comrade Adams Oshiomhole you see is a facade. They will tell you that he doesn’t entertain contary opinion as he begins a meeting and ends it. He doesn’t understand a thing about leadership and he doesn’t care to. His style is me, myself and I. If you. Oppose him, you will be silenced. He is dreaded by his followers like a god-king. They dare not correct him. Infact, he has the final say to every word. But we don’t fear him because we know him that he is not to be feared but to be dared and defeated, that was why we dared him during the election and defeated him. But in order to save his face he took the backdoor with the conivance of INEC and subverted the wishes of the people. However, It won’t be long and the mandate will be recovered. Very soon, the trumpet will sound and the children of light will reclaim their land and glory in the state and they shall shout Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!
Please look at the tenure of the former governor in terms of the economy of the state, health sector, standard of living and youth development etc?
It is a very sad and disappointing end. When Adams Oshiomhole first took the helm of office not many would have imagined him a colossal failure. People cheered wildly at his coming, thinking they had found a messiah, but little did they know that they brought an ant infested wood to their homes. In the very words of the famous media guru, Osa Director he said ” Oshiomhole is the biggest scam the media ever sold to Nigeria”and he was right. When we look at our lives, that is the standard of living, you don’t need to be told that the economy of the state is completely dead. Unemployment is at 70%. This is the highest in the history of this State despite receiving revenues to the tune of about two trillion in eight years. You will only appreciate my lamentation when we look at it sectorally. For instance in Agriculture, Oshiomhole cannot point to a grain, tubber or a seedling that we produce and export for commercial purpose. Even the farmers in the state have all relocated. One of the farmers told us during our campaign that he had to relocate to Taraba State when he heard that the state’s agricultural policy was favourable to farmers. How sad! Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation, Ewu Flour Mill, Warake Farms etc are all lying postrate. What about housing, the answer is zero. How can one imagined that a labour leader never built a single housing estate for civil servants! Eight years witout a single housing estate. Tourism is dead in the state despite being the cradle of black civilisation, rich in culture and heritage with so many wonders of the Benin Kingdom and indeed Edo State waiting to be explored. Trade and investment is zero. Absolutely nothing is happening there . Even the investment we have in the state have moved to neighbouring Ondo and Delta. For eight years, this government could not hold an investment summit neither did it create an Avenue to sell Edo to investors. The consequences of his inaction is hunger and starvation. What about the health sector. Virtually all the primary health care in the state are non existent. He preferes to squander money in a phantom health facility not accessible to the ordinary citizen like the one he brought President Buhari to commission, yet as we speak the emergency and accident wing of the hospital which he built is still not operational days after Buhari commissioned it for lack of furniture, medical personnel and facilities. Although we have been told that it’s a PPP initiative, yet no one in the state is aware of the private company neither did they make appearance at the commissioning. So health care is not accessible and people are still dying of Vaccine Preventable Diseases daily. What shall we say about education! This is a government that is so overtaken by mediocrity that it pride itself over putting red roof in some of our schools and painting them yet schools renovated in the 21st cenurry by a supposedly progressive governor does not have a hygenic toilet, no laboratory whether science, physics, chemistry, computer etc. No library and worst of all no teachers. In most cases, we have one teacher to a school. It is that bad. So when you drive past these schools, you see a red roof with a beautiful paint but it’s actually bereft of learning materials. This is the governor we had for eight years. A government that is fuelled by propaganda. Truth be told, Oshiomhole is overrated by many people but he is actually a self serving man and an empty vessel.
Some say that with a debt overhang of $300m and many abandoned projects across the state the man deserves to be invited for questioning by the EFCC. Thus is moreso as the monies Edo spent under him is less than the huge sums the state got as allocations, grants and from IGR?
There is no doubt about the fact that Oshiomhole will end up been prosecuted and eventually jailed if found wanting which we believe he will be. The preponderance of evidence against him is mind boggling. I believe you are aware that a group of NGOS in the state have officially petitioned the EFCC over serial cases of corrupt allegations against him. When you read the report, you would agree with me that he can’t escape been prosecuted. We would be very shocked if he is not invited to come and asnwer to the allagations of corruption against him. Like I said earlier, his government received almost 2trillion naira and borrowed over 300billion naira with nothing to show for it. So he sure have questions to answer. How can a man said he built a one room hostel for 10million naira. One room my brother. Haba! The money that can buy you a land and build you a bungalow is what someone said he built with one hostel room. Is this not laughable? How can someone build a 6.7kilometer road for 17billion? This is the most expensive road in the world. We read the other day that the Sokoto State government reconstrued a 3kilometer road leading to their airport for 300million. This is very reasonable but we don’t hear of cases like this in Edo. The primary school in my village at Okada which has about 10 block of rooms was renovated for about 600 million. This is mindless fleecing of our scarce resources. Something that ordinarily shouldn’t cost more than 10million. Take a look at the storm water project that has now been abandoned and has taken close to ten lives including a child, cost us 30billion without any result. This money was sourced from the capital market with his accomplice, Mr. Obaseki and the state is still paying for their cluelessness and greed till date. Or should we talk about the money that has been sunk into Edo University, Iyamho, most of which was never appropriated for? A place where the teaching hospital alone cost the government over 12billion to build. We aren’t talking about the whole university but just a teaching hospital within the university. Come on, nothing in this world will save Adams Oshiomhole if president Buhari is serious over his anti-corruption fight.
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