BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
Rev. Peter Obadan is the first civilian Deputy Governor of Edo State and was a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state until last week Friday, 27 April, 2012 when he resigned from the party. In this interview with Vanguard in Benin City, Obadan gave reasons why according to him the founding members of the party in the state decided to abandon the party for the former chairman Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih. Excerpts:
Can we know you resigned from the PDP?
Like I stated in my letter we had a lot of irreconcilable differences in PDP. You have those demagogues that will never let go. We want to hold on to power using their cronies without due process, with out democratic processes. There is no transparency in Edo PDP. Like I stated the PDP in Edo state has been gravely commercialized and privatized, you can see it as a one man business.
Where one man thinks he is the Alpha and Omega of politics in Edo state, then it is better to say to your tents oh Israel. I think they are without credibility, without conscience and I also believe that the PDP in the state has been totally eroded by the good works of the present governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
He has sold a seed in the hearts of men and women. It is obvious that he is delivering the dividends of democracy with the little the state has. I know there is no morality in politics to many people but too much lies are being told. And as a professional accountant I know that some of the lies we are pushing to the populace now, are things that are not workable.
For example, when the PDP says they will reduce taxation by 80 per cent, when the law is there and the operations of taxation is guided by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the fact that in the past these laws were not fully operated meant that some body at the helm of affairs was just not responsible.
But now the laws have been fully implemented as we have in other states and for one to deceive the public that taxation will be reduced by 80 per cent, he is playing on the intelligence of Edo people and I think we are more than that. For us to take a graphic work of design to say that the Governor is building N10 billion mansion, to incite the people?
These are not the ideas that the PDP with all the maturity should be selling. When they come up with ideas like this I wonder whether these fellows are actually educated. There are lots of issues that have affected both the common man and the Edo state PDP is not ready to address those issues.
I have nothing against the workings of the PDP at the National level, we are all working with President Jonathan because he is our son, but the National Working Committee (NWC) hitherto were so ineffective and inefficient that they believe all lies that have been told them about the PDP in Edo state. I think the PDP has actually been written off in Edo state and we all will wait to see the miracle that can up turn things.
It is unfortunate because Gen.Charles Airhiavbere (PDP candidate) is my very good friend, he worked under me, he is intelligent but he never lived in the state to understand the dynamics of Edo state politics. And a situation where the governor will have no say about the choice of his deputy, then there is a problem. A situation where a man will say this must be the deputy and whether a better candidate is presented or not the oracle has spoken.
These are issues that give one the type of administration that will emerge if you have Charles as Governor. But let me tell you simply, in the first place if Charles wins the election, which I know he will not, and tries to be his own man, the probability is that the deputy who has been fixed there will be used to impeach him.
I see the ultimate objective, is a situation where the deputy is the man that is actually being groomed to be governor not Charles, we have to be watchful. But however, there is no chance for PDP in Edo State. The Edo people are very happy with Adams Oshiomhole and he will get at least 80 per cent of the votes. No body is quarrelling with PDP at the center or President Jonathan. The mass resignation in Edo PDP to the ACN is because of the dictatorial tendences of Chief Tony Anenih.
But if Chief Anenih is that domineering; we have people like you, Dr Ogbemudia and Admiral Mike Akhigbe, why were you people unable to correct him?
The problem started from when Prof.Osunbor got into office and decided to be his own man. He meant well for the people of Edo state. He wanted a situation where truth, equity and justice will reign in the administration. Before he took his stand, he accepted twelve commissioners from the godfather and the rest of us had to nominate the other four of five commissioners.
A situation where 80 per cent of his SAs were lifted and given to him by one person. a situation where the list of Local Governments were handed over to him and it came to party structure he is incharge and they said he was put there to be seen and not to be heard. The Professor decided to take a stand and we all accepted and heaven was let loose and the next issue was Osunbor must go.
Even if justice prevailed in removing Osunbor from office, a seed of discord has already been sown by the Anenih led group. And what further compounded was when Oshiomhole came into office, they rejoiced at the down fall of their own son, they pumped Champagne and nominated Commissioners under Oshiomhole.
And I think they thought their game plan will work for Oshiomhole only for them to discover that Oshiomhole was not a puppet and they decided to fight Oshiomhole. These were the things that balkanized the PDP in Edo state. It got to a stage when we had two parallel bodies and we expected the national body to intervene and of course, Anenih had an over whelming influence on the national body that they were reluctant to see the truth. It became obvious to many of us that they were just not serious.
Attempts were made to bring the groups together, meetings were held, the last attempt was that encouraged by the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadohme in his house and we all felt that we had fully reconciled only for issues that were buried to manifest again. That was why I said irreconcilable differences. Why should Admiral Akhigbe who is from Edo North not be allowed to manage the affairs of the party in that area as a leader. Why should Edo North be dictated to.
We looked at those that are being used, in the South they were all Anenih’s boys in the North all Anenih’s boys, no right thinking person will want to continue along those lines. And the NWC fails to see the truth and act appropriately. You will find that of the three members of the Board of Trustees from Edo State, Edo North has none but there is one from the South in the person of Dr Ogbemudia, two from Edo Central Anenih and late Admiral Aikhomu. Is it that we have no responsible person from Edo North?
As a former Deputy Governor of Edo state, they will be considering picking some body from my own Local Government, but I will not even be consulted. You are invited to a meeting when a decision had actually been reached, they will now invite you and say come to leaders meeting, that is time wasting because you already know that they have already made their decision just to use you to legalize their illegality. My self and other leaders are quite happy to leave the PDP.
The July 14 governorship election is fast approaching, how do you think Edo people will vote?
Airhiavbere will loose 80 per cent of the votes in the South to Oshiomhole. The Oba of Benin is a man we all respect across the land, he is not an illiterate Oba, he is a former Permanent Secretary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He knows what development is all about, he is very articulate, he hardly make pronouncements and he does that after making consultations with his Chiefs and in this case he has spoken.
I am in the religious calling and I can tell you the very strong feelings of all the religious bodies, Christians and they have seen a man performing and I see all of them voting for Oshiomhole. The problem my friend Airhiavere will have in the South, is that even when he was in the army he was not regular at home. So he is not well known by his own Benin people. He has selected friends and not in touch with the grass root.
There was also nothing you can pinpoint in the South that he influenced. You have Generals in the Army that have done things for their people, he is my very good friend and I don’t see him becoming governor for now but I see him becoming governor in future. Because he is very cool and calculative.
Source: The Vanguard