Exclusive: Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, the PDP two times serving member of Federal Housing of Representatives representing Oredo Federal Constituency with countless humanitarian strides and numerous laurels to himself, grant a mind-blowing elusive interview on his ambition to govern Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Exclusive: Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, the PDP two times serving member of Federal Housing of Representatives representing Oredo Federal Constituency with countless humanitarian strides and numerous laurels to himself, grant a mind-blowing elusive interview on his ambition to govern Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Exclusive: Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, the PDP two times serving member of Federal Housing of Representatives representing Oredo Federal Constituency with countless humanitarian strides and numerous laurels to himself, grant a mind-blowing elusive interview on his ambition to govern Edo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. 
Excerpt:


Q: You are the current serving House of Rep Member representing Oredo constituency in Edo State, presently you are taking a shot at the Governorship of the state having taking the nomination form for the election, how prepared are you for this election?


A: Very prepared for it. I think it’s high time we do things differently. At this point in time in a new decade, it is imperative that we take Edo people out of bondage, so I am very prepared.

Q: Within your political party, four persons including yourself are the ones contesting for the race, why do you think, what makes you believe that you are qualified as much as the other contestants and why do you think that you can win the primaries other than the other aspirants who are more experienced than you are?


A: Well I think first of all it is important to note that to become an aspirant qualified for any position after you pick up the nomination form of your party, to the best of my knowledge, I understand that it is about of us that have picked the nomination form. Without any doubt, I believe that anybody who comes out seriously to say he wants to run for governorship must have a plan and an idea. For my opponents within the party I think that they are also qualified but the question is; who is most qualified, who is actually ready for this job? So for me I come with experience, I come with exposure, I come with a sound educational background, I come with a proper upbringing, I come with ideas and innovations and also age; my youthfulness, my understanding of the bridge between the old and the young, all of these makes the difference. I think that I am very qualified and I think that the people of PDP will vote for the primaries and I am quite confident that I will come out victorious.


Q: You have done some good in terms of providing free buses for people at festivity like Christmas, New Year, Easter celebration and all of that including doing some other goods around, what is your political orientation and what is driving your ideology?
A: Well, first of all I think for example the free Buses is actually all year round, it is not for festive period, it is a way of taking one responsibility and task of my constituents. They don’t have to pay for transportation for one major end to another within the City. That takes the bill of them. Well for me I think that it’s about ideology, I see things from a very different perspective, I think that we should do things in a different manner, we can’t do things over and over again and expect a different result. If we have been using one strategy all these while and the schools are not any better and the quality and the quantitative learning has really not changed. Benin is still an ancient City but the roads are bad, the health care system is appalling, all of these has been the other of the day so things must be done differently. So I have a completely different ideology and orientation in terms of how I see politics and how my politics is, it’s about the people it’s not about me.


Q: So many of these aspirants who talked in their manifesto about education, about security, about urban renewal development, and then again about agriculture, health care delivery system and all of those, what would be your priority if you become the governor of the state?


A: Well I think the situation today requires priorities. The strategy will have to be pari-pasu strategy as much as we need to have our people educated, as much as education is a baseline for innovation, development both infrastructural and all other forms even human development. It will eradicate poverty, take off the joblessness and the unemployment rate and all of that as much as that is needed, a healthy man is the only one that can go to school as well. So for me a couple of priorities that must be looked into; education, health and we must actually live in a safe and secure environment for all these to thrive. So for me, security, education, health, revamping the economy, trying to make sure that people have the opportunities to work and earn a living, taking life back to what it was during the Ambrose Alli era, Ogbemudia era and all of that and also synergizing with the global world today, making sure that technology, ICT drives most of these processes and interconnected so that at the end of the day we can only achieve success. So I will say priorities not priority


Q: Talking about job creation, youth empowerment and women engagement, what are your specific plans or strategies are you going to adopt to ensure that there is job creation because there is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The present administration promised 200,000 jobs and nobody has seen anything like that. Why do you think your own promise to create jobs if you become the governor will not be hoaxed as much as we have now?


 A: Well thank you very much, when you mentioned manifesto earlier, it is easier to put in writing I will do this I will do that and at the end of the day none is done. 200,000 jobs promised but not even up to 20,000 jobs today. Our State today has one of the highest rate of unemployment, so our youths are actually not employed. I think I come with a different energy and a different vision. Why am I saying this? Antecedents will tell. In Oredo I made promises between 2015 and 2019 and I think that 100 percent of everything I promised constituent I will do I did them. So the people already know that with Ogbeide Ihama when he says he will do this before an election he does it after the election and in governing Edo State is not going to be any different if we want to create jobs, what strategy do we require to create these jobs. We are going to engage our youths, first of all, we are going to run back to giving the option of both finishing degrees, professionals in education and at the same time we are going to have technical schools, we are going to allow people to bring out the talents in them so you can fit in into any one then again we are going to drive ICT, software development. Our youths are ready to learn and that is another way we can drive that. We are going to attract industries, we are going to attract investment and all of these will create jobs. So we are going to open up the space which is one of the reasons which I said infrastructural development is key, health is key, security is key, all of these are all intertwined as one. So in terms of the strategies to create jobs is when you open up the space investors will come in, we are able to set up avenues were people can actually come out with their talents. It is not about saying it and not doing it. Smaller scale in Oredo we have been able to do exactly what we said and of course it will not be any different at least in a larger scale.


Q: Talking about security, the state is in turmoil in terms of cultism, banditry, arm robbery and all of those. When you were in Uniben the spat of cult activities has not got to this climatic state, what will you do specifically knowing that every politician has a cult member who prepares them to win election, what will you do to them, if you have a cult group or cult group has help you to get to power what will you do to them?


A: Well I think why I said earlier about going back and synergizing back in the days to the present global trend is one of the reasons I said so earlier. For me when I was in the university we only heard about cultism and of course there were a few violence somebody has been stabbed in Hall 4 and all of that but we never really knew who they were, what they were doing and all that. It was more of social clubs; there was PR, there was GQ and all of that and so it wasn’t something that was thriving at that time and one of the reasons I was once responsible for it today goes back to the same unemployment. You said earlier that “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” and these people are not working. I am a young man, I am a youth, I can imagine what it takes that woman or that man or both parents to bring up a child and at the end of the day the child is at home without job it because our leaders have failed in their responsibilities to provide basic amenities, enabling environment to engage these youths and get them employed. So I think that when my policies begin to run out and putting them in place more youths will be employed and that man who goes to work in the morning and comes in the evening and he is trying to bring forth added values to systems and procedures will not have time for cultism and to add to what you said that every politician has a cultist behind their election and all that, I think in Oredo here, yes you can go out and fill the purse of my electorate, my constituents. I have had two straight elections to the House of Reps successfully. In 2015, I won all 12 wards even though I was in opposition and my opponent at that time was the number 3 citizen of the State who was the Speaker. Four years later from opposition again I won practically all 12 wards again and my opponent was also the Chief-Whip of the House of Assembly and the present Governor was actually from my own local government constituent, so you can imagine such as opium task of being able to win every corner of Oredo in 2019, we didn’t have to use cultism, we didn’t have to use cultist. What happened was that the voters came out, voted and protected their votes. So I am not of the opinion that it is all politicians that use cultism if some do I am not aware but for me, I think that the women folds, the youths and as well as the men are my strong base because they proved it in every election and they will prove it in the next election.


Q: Chief Lucky Igbinedion built Stella Obasanjo Hospital, eight years after the governor that took over from him Comrade Adams Oshiomhole didn’t used that hospital and as at that time that hospital has some of the best facilities in Africa and as we speak that hospital is moribund. Again this governor just came and I heard his predecessor also built another hospital and there is no health facilities in the hospital. Now two things you are going to tell us; are you saying that you are going to build another hospital or you are going to go back to that hospital or what are you going to do concerning those our infrastructures that are moribund at the health sector?


A: Well thank you so much, I think that it is sad that we find ourselves in situations like this. I talk about how I will do thing differently, we must take our people out from this bondage. Now in my administration I don’t think I will play politics with development, I have never played politics with development. I have had to collaborate even with the present government in activities within my purview. National Sport Festival of Arts and Culture was hosted every year by the State Government I facilitated it. If you go to Iyekovia I still cannot pin-point any new school in Benin City built between the last eight to ten years that you can compare to that modern school in Iyekovia which I facilitated through UBE but today the school is not been put to use. It was done on a NEED Assessment. The people to the community don’t have any school within that region and I felt the need to facilitate it but today it is a hide out for hoodlums just because it is a PDP representative and cannot be put to use so it is not any different within the health sector. If Lucky Igbinedion built that Stella Obasanjo Hospital you need to go there and see the original intent and the next administration decided to leave it and it is to the detriment of our people and so I completely condemned that scenario as well as the scenario of Central Hospital. If infrastructures are done like in Central Hospital I read in the newspapers just a building no equipment and all that, I think government should be continued every government that has come in the past including this present government probably have their best intentions but unfortunately their intentions are not good enough that is why I am presenting myself to do things differently to catch up with what is happening in global trend, to turn Edo State around and at the turn of a new decade. So for me I think that existing infrastructures can be put in place and upgrade them just to make sure that they are in tandem with best practices and at the same time where they lack we are still going to make sure we provide them, we are not going to joke with health, our people are dying too much out of neglect. If you go to the Central Hospital now there are no Doctors, there are no Nurses. Our people don’t have access to basic health care especially the rural areas. I have facilitated a health centre in Amagba it is sitting there and another one in Inemoh on a NEED basis one on this axis of Iyekogba and the other one on the other axis and we don’t have Nurses, we don’t have Doctors deployed there because it’s a PDP that put it there. This is exactly what we will not condole, these are the things I want to come and change. If you put that to use people within that axis can have access to basic health care and should they need a specialist attention, there is a specialist hospital put up to standard. So those primary, secondary health care service and even tertiary will be available for everybody. How do you get there? Let me give you an example you can pick up your phone and book an uber through an app and uber comes right to your door and take you to your destination but today does Edo State have Ambulances, do they have health vehicles to pick people when they are in distress no they are not. They only ones that exist in my constituency was provided by me and was commissioned by the then Speaker, one for Iyekogba, one for Oredo East, one for Oredo West from Oredo Federal Constituency and there are call numbers you will call and they will come and pick you to the nearest hospital. Now these are the responsibilities of the State Government but they are not there. So what stops government from providing these vehicles that people can easily call even if it has to be at a charge afterwards, that person who is sick or distress or accident point must have opportunity to get to the hospital and in getting to that hospital, you must have Doctors, there must be attention for emergency, for ICU and all of these must be available for our people and they can actually live and be healthy but it’s just so unfortunate but I can assure you by the Grace of Almighty God that all of these will change.


Q: Agriculture and Sport used to be the mainstay for which the then Bendel State and currently Edo is known for, what will be your plan for agriculture vis-à-vis the fact that the President has said he will not import food for this year and next year for Nigerians to eat because we have been a nation that has been unable to feed ourselves, what will you do in agriculture and sporting invention?


A: Well, for agriculture I think it’s one key aspect that has actually serve as a mainstay for our economy. So it is total revamp for example what is the present state today to start from, were are we, were are we heading and what can we do differently. The present administration has talked about Hectares of farmland, production of this, production of that but never seen anywhere. That is why I said earlier on that it is easier to say prior to an election than implementing after an election. One of the reasons why you see that I am presenting myself humbly to the people of Edo is that enough is enough, we have to do things differently. For agriculture, I think first of all, it is embarrassing for all of us as a people that if you go up North with a very difficult terrain and soil they have, they feed the entire nation with vegetables, fruits, meat and all that. If you go out there you will have to buy Water Melon coming from the North, you will buy potatoes coming from the North and we are meant to be eating and living healthy all of this come from the North but what are we doing in the South. Now go round the State and see the land mass, we have untapped resources, we have a few farmers trying to farm and bringing their goods to the road side no. optical policies, expansion, expanding everything available, making agriculture attractive so that we can feed ourselves and begin to take out to be able to make money. So I think it is an aspect that has not really been tapped on and it is telling very negatively. So you begin to wonder while Northerners struggle and trying to make sure that Water Resources Ministry, Agricultural Ministry are there for them because they know exactly what is turning out for them, they are feeding us but their terrain is more difficult but they make it possible. Now it’s been raining and it rained yesterday, we have a very solid and fertile place for all of these but it’s not been done because the process is not driven and a few hands that are interested do not have the enabling environment, the equipment, the fertilizers and all of these to do it and at the same time there are no industries. There used to be a juice factory in Ehor, Cassavita Mill, all of these. More companies can come here you know we can decide to say as from Ehor all the way to Iruekpen if you look to the right and to the left is all available for farming and deep down available for farming, this is what we are doing in this axis, mechanized farming, organized farming and ensure that the end product because we will be feeding ourselves very well and our people will not be in hunger and at the same we will take all of these for export. We take them to the neighbouring state the way they bring in vegetables and all of these from the North and we begin to take to them. We can grow tomatoes, we can grow cassava; nothing we cannot grow now even water melon can be done here, all of these we will put in place and ensure that we can sustain ourselves in terms of food sustenance and I think that agriculture is one key area we are lacking in it and so in all of these aspect have given an insight of the present state and what should be and how I intend to do things differently. You talked about sport. You see another setback for us, if you remember when it was Bendel State and it became Edo State, we have always taken the frontline in terms of sporting activities. You know National Team as the time The Green Eagles eight out of eleven from this axis but today were are they? The infrastructures are not there. Ogbemudia set up with a plan and vision a massive sporting complex a village somewhere in Edo State, what are we doing there today. If you go all the way to Limit Road, Ugbor Road, you are going to see another huge sport facility but what are they doing today? Now you are renovating Ogbe Stadium, you are expanding to the road, houses are all around there, where have a sporting facility you must have an ambience. You can’t pass stadium road today, imagine if we are going to watch a match, look at where the long tennis and indoor hall is. These things were done at a time to suit the population and scenario at that time, today how many people can play on that court, go and look at the swimming pool. So it is total waste of time and money to find out that so much money is been pumped into that structure. Just after Limit road all the way we have spaces to come up with infrastructures. We can get our people train them and let them use these facilities and they will become world stars and when they are making the money they end up bringing it back here but what are we doing nothing. Everything we are doing today started from Ogbemudia to Ambrose Alli, common we need to do things differently.


Q: Okay two question but firstly, the current governor is popularly called an MoU governor because of the fact that he signs seemingly so many agreements but at the end of the day they are not seen and he told us while he was campaigning that he is going to use his international connection and all of that. You are also internationally connected, what are you going to do differently not to have the same MoU governor? Secondly, the Royal father the Omo No Oba Ne Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Eware the II heard a meeting with all the Enigies about how the herdsmen has been invading all the forest in Edo State, unfortunately nothing is being down about that direction, right now no farming and nothing, we also knew that Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State stood in to conquer but today we don’t have such security problem in Ekiti State so what will you do?


A: Well thank you very much, I said it earlier that despite the very best intention of the present and the very recent past government, their best is not good enough and that is why I said enough is enough, we have to do things differently. MoU to my understanding mean memorandum of understanding and it is step forward in terms of agreement, term and condition by which the objectives stated in those MoU are meant. So I don’t think it’s a bad intention to have these MoU in place but inability to carry out to implementation stage is what the problem is. So I don’t think I will shy away from MoU when I talked about attracting foreign investors, opening up of our economy even partnering on security aspects, health aspects and all of these, they required MoUs but the difference will be that those MoUs will be carried to the latter, implementation will take place. This administration, looking at the last two years, unfortunately the APC have decided to take everybody for granted having internal rancor, it’s disgraceful, appalling and sad that as I speak to you today more than half of Edo indigenes are residents in Edo do not have a voice in the legislative arm of the government of the State and nobody is speaking. We have people that have been elected and are not able to speak for the Edo people, that unacceptable because of internal party rancor. So this is time for APC to actually excuse us, excuse the State for serious minded people to come and do things differently and that is why I am running for the Governor of the State. Talking of the herdsmen, well it falls under my security plan, it is a major component that must be trashed. Nigerians have the right to live by the constitution wherever they which to live and I think our Muslim brothers and sisters are not aliens in our society but the policies of the state government does not put people in track and it is not weighty enough to be able to protect the citizens and indigenes of Edo, I think that’s where the problem is. Under my administration, I think that farmers can have their database because Edo residents and indigenes will all come under database. We are going to know those that are farmers and we are going to be able to know those that hide under farming and they are kidnappers and all of these. So because we are going to be interested in farmlands because of the agriculture turnaround strategy, government is still going to be a stakeholder. So there will be no hiding place for criminals under the auspices that they are herdsmen and all of that no. our policies and the implementation of all of those policies will naturally eliminate all of these.
Q: As an Edo man sir, you talked about opening up the economy, what are you going to do about the Gelegele seaport?


A: Well I think that if you actually go back and check the books, the Gelegele seaport is a process you have to tie federal government. The issue has come up on the floor of the house, so I have a very deep detail about it. Any state government that stands up to say I am going to set-up a seaport and all that has really not looked at the books. Under Ports and Harbour they are analyzed. So you must partner with federal government to be able to see that a seaport comes to your domain. So Gelegele seaport will open it up but the difference again is like I said earlier the intents are there and carrying it to implementation stage either the strategies are not in place or the process are not right. I will partner with federal government, federal government must give consent to certain things under our laws and that should be any different so that Gelegele seaport will actually see the light of the day and not a process of manifesto.


Q: On a final note, how deep is your pocket because given that this political terrain is the era of vote buying, how deep is your pocket to be able to win the primary and that of the major election?


A: Well I will still go back to where we started from that with Ogbeide Ihama things are going to happen differently. I told I won election to the House of Reps in 2015 under Oshiomhole administration as a governor, I told you my opponent was the then sitting Speaker. What kind of pocket will I have when I am on the other side and the ruling party is in government house and the sitting speaker is my opponent but we were able to make the people know that it is not about your N5,000, N3,000 or N2,000 on election day and that is what you want to suffer for four years and they bought into the idea. So we didn’t have to buy votes, they can out, they voted and I won and at the end of the day the dividends are there. Today the markets in Oredo are lit up, schools have been renovated, schools are built, health centre empowerment, women are getting grants for SMEs for small scale business and our youths are getting engaged, scholarships for the best performing students, all of these have been able to wrap up within a period of 5 years. So in this election I can tell you it is going to be more of doing things differently and we can take us out of the wilderness than buying votes. So I do not have the kind of pocket, PDP is not in government in the national, PDP is not in government in the state but I will go out there to speak to everybody and tell them that in health sector that woman who watched her husband died because the Doctor is not on seat, that child who have been deprived education that is a vital right to every citizen will have the opportunity to be in school in a conducive environment and as well as the teachers that are very well trained will be able to inculcate in them best practices following educational standards today, that road that is bad will be fixed and maintenance culture will come back, we will know ourselves as security issues will be addressed, I know my neighbor and my neighbor knows me. All of these are what I am bringing to the table and I think the people have suffered enough, compare Edo to every other State in the South-South. At this time I don’t think anybody will gamble their vote for even N20,000 it’s not going to work.


Q: You are the current serving House of Rep Member representing Oredo constituency in Edo State, presently you are taking a shot at the Governorship of the State having taking the nomination form for the election, how prepared are you for this election?


A: Very prepared for it. I think it’s high time we do things differently. At this point in time in a new decade, it is imperative that we take Edo people out of bondage, so I am very prepared.


Q: Within your political party, four persons including yourself are the ones contesting for the race,  what makes you believe that you are qualified as much as the other contestants and why do you think that you can win the primaries other than the other aspirants who are more experienced than you are?


A: Well I think first of all it is important to note that to become an aspirant qualified for any position after you pick up the nomination form of your party, to the best of my knowledge, I understand that it is about four of us that have picked the nomination form. Without any doubt, I believe that anybody who comes out seriously to say he wants to run for governorship must have a plan and an idea. For my opponents within the party I think that they are also qualified but the question is; who is most qualified, who is actually ready for this job? So for me I come with experience, I come with exposure, I come with a sound educational background, I come with a proper upbringing, I come with ideas and innovations and also age; my youthfulness, my understanding of the bridge between the old and the young, all of these makes the difference. I think that I am very qualified and I think that the people of PDP will vote for the primaries and I am quite confident that I will come out victorious.


Q: You have done some good in terms of providing free buses for people at festivity like Christmas, New Year, Easter celebration and all of that including doing some other goods around, what is your political orientation and what is driving your ideology?


A: Well, first of all I think for example the free Buses is actually all year round, it is not for festive period, it is a way of taking one responsibility and task of my constituents. They don’t have to pay for transportation from one major end to another within the City. That takes the bill of them. Well for me I think that it’s about ideology, I see things from a very different perspective, I think that we should do things in a different manner, we can’t do things over and over again and expect a different result. If we have been using one strategy all these while and the schools are not any better and the quality and the quantitative learning has really not changed. Benin is still an ancient City but the roads are bad, the health care system is appalling, all of these has been the other of the day so things must be done differently. So I have a completely different ideology and orientation in terms of how I see politics and how my politics is, it’s about the people it’s not about me.


Q: So many of these aspirants who talked in their manifesto about education, about security, about urban renewal development, and then again about agriculture, health care delivery system and all of those, what would be your priority if you become the Governor of the State?


A: Well I think the situation today requires priorities. The strategy will have to be pari-pasu strategy as much as we need to have our people educated, as much as education is a baseline for innovation, development both infrastructural and all other forms even human development. It will eradicate poverty, take off the joblessness and the unemployment rate and all of that as much as that is needed, a healthy man is the only one that can go to school as well. So for me a couple of priorities that must be looked into; education, health and we must actually live in a safe and secure environment for all these to thrive. So for me, security, education, health, revamping the economy, trying to make sure that people have the opportunities to work and earn a living, taking life back to what it was during the Ambrose Alli era, Ogbemudia era and all of that and also synergizing with the global world today, making sure that technology, ICT drives most of these processes and interconnected so that at the end of the day we can only achieve success. So I will say priorities not priority.

Q: Talking about job creation, youth empowerment and women engagement, what are your specific plans or strategies are you going to adopt to ensure that there is job creation because there is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The present administration promised 200,000 jobs and nobody has seen anything like that. Why do you think your own promise to create jobs if you become the Governor will not be hoaxed as much as we have now?


 A: Well thank you very much, when you mentioned manifesto earlier, it is easier to put in writing I will do this I will do that and at the end of the day none is done. 200,000 jobs promised but not even up to 20,000 jobs today. Our State today has one of the highest rate of unemployment, so our youths are actually not employed. I think I come with a different energy and a different vision. Why am I saying this? Antecedents will tell. In Oredo I made promises between 2015 and 2019 and I think that 100 percent of everything I promised constituent I will do I did them. So the people already know that with Ogbeide Ihama when he says he will do this before an election he does it after the election and in governing Edo State is not going to be any different if we want to create jobs, what strategy do we require to create these jobs. We are going to engage our youths, first of all, we are going to run back to giving the option of both finishing degrees, professionals in education and at the same time we are going to have technical schools, we are going to allow people to bring out the talents in them so you can fit in into any one then again we are going to drive ICT, software development. Our youths are ready to learn and that is another way we can drive that. We are going to attract industries, we are going to attract investment and all of these will create jobs. So we are going to open up the space which is one of the reasons which I said infrastructural development is key, health is key, security is key, all of these are all intertwined as one. So in terms of the strategies to create jobs is when you open up the space investors will come in, we are able to set up avenues were people can actually come out with their talents. It is not about saying it and not doing it. Smaller scale in Oredo we have been able to do exactly what we said and of course it will not be any different at least in a larger scale.

Q: Talking about security, the State is in turmoil in terms of cultism, banditry, arm robbery and all of those. When you were in Uniben the spat of cult activities has not got to this climatic state, what will you do specifically knowing that every politician has a cult member who prepares them to win election, what will you do to them, if you have a cult group or cult group has help you to get to power what will you do to them?
A: Well I think what I said earlier about going back and synergizing back in the days to the present global trend is one of the reasons I said so earlier. For me when I was in the university we only heard about cultism and of course there were a few violence somebody has been stabbed in Hall 4 and all of that but we never really knew who they were, what they were doing and all that. It was more of social clubs; there was PR, there was GQ and all of that and so it wasn’t something that was thriving at that time and one of the reasons that was  responsible for it today goes back to the same unemployment. You said earlier that “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” and these people are not working. I am a young man, I am a youth, I can imagine what it takes that woman or that man or both parents to bring up a child and at the end of the day the child is at home without job it because our leaders have failed in their responsibilities to provide basic amenities, enabling environment to engage these youths and get them employed. So I think that when my policies begin to run out and putting them in place more youths will be employed and that man who goes to work in the morning and comes in the evening and he is trying to bring forth added values to systems and procedures will not have time for cultism and to add to what you said that every politician has a cultist behind their election and all that, I think in Oredo here, yes you can go out and fill the purse of my electorate, my constituents. I have had two straight elections to the House of Reps successfully. In 2015, I won all 12 wards even though I was in opposition and my opponent at that time was the number 3 citizen of the State who was the Speaker. Four years later from opposition again I won practically all 12 wards again and my opponent was also the Chief-Whip of the House of Assembly and the present Governor was actually from my own local government constituent, so you can imagine such as opium task of being able to win every corner of Oredo in 2019, we didn’t have to use cultism, we didn’t have to use cultist. What happened was that the voters came out, voted and protected their votes. So I am not of the opinion that it is all politicians that use cultism if some do I am not aware but for me, I think that the women folds, the youths and as well as the men are my strong base because they proved it in every election and they will prove it in the next election.

Q: Chief Lucky Igbinedion built Stella Obasanjo Hospital, eight years after the Governor that took over from him Comrade Adams Oshiomhole didn’t use that hospital and as at that time that hospital has some of the best facilities in Africa and as we speak that hospital is moribund. Again this Governor just came and I heard his predecessor also built another hospital and there is no health facilities in the hospital. Now two things you are going to tell us; are you saying that you are going to build another hospital or you are going to go back to that hospital or what are you going to do concerning those our infrastructures that are moribund at the health sector?


A: Well thank you so much, I think that it is sad that we find ourselves in situations like this. I talk about how I will do things differently, we must take our people out from this bondage. Now in my administration I don’t think I will play politics with development, I have never played politics with development. I have had to collaborate even with the present government in activities within my purview. National Sport Festival of Arts and Culture was hosted this year by the State Government I facilitated it. If you go to Iyekogba I still cannot pin-point any new school in Benin City built between in the last eight to ten years that you can compare to that modern school in Iyekogba which I facilitated through UBE but today the school is not been put to used. It was done on a NEED Assessment. The people of the community don’t have any school within that region and I felt the need to facilitate it but today it is a hide out for hoodlums just because it is a PDP representative and cannot be put to use so it is not any different within the health sector. If Lucky Igbinedion built that Stella Obasanjo Hospital you need to go there and see the original intent and the next administration decided to leave it and it is to the detriment of our people and so I completely condemned that scenario as well as the scenario of Central Hospital. If infrastructures are done like in Central Hospital I read in the newspapers just a building no equipment and all that, I think government should be continued every government that has come in the past including this present government probably have their best intentions but unfortunately their intentions are not good enough that is why I am presenting myself to do things differently to catch up with what is happening in global trend, to turn Edo State around and at the turn of a new decade. So for me I think that existing infrastructures can be put in place and upgrade them just to make sure that they are in tandem with best practices and at the same time where they lack we are still going to make sure we provide them, we are not going to joke with health, our people are dying too much out of neglect. If you go to the Central Hospital now there are no Doctors, there are no Nurses. Our people don’t have access to basic health care especially the rural areas. I have facilitated a health centre in Amagba it is sitting there and another one in ulemon on a NEED basis one on this axis of Iyekogba and the other one on the other axis and we don’t have Nurses, we don’t have Doctors deployed there because it’s a PDP that put it there. This is exactly what we will not condone, these are the things I want to come and change. If you put that to use people within that axis can have access to basic health care and should they need a specialist attention, there is a specialist hospital put up to standard. So those primary, secondary health care service and even tertiary will be available for everybody. How do you get there? Let me give you an example you can pick up your phone and book an uber through an app and uber comes right to your door and take you to your destination but today does Edo State have Ambulances, do they have health vehicles to pick people when they are in distress no they are not. They only ones that exist in my constituency was provided by me and was commissioned by the then Speaker, one for Iyekogba, one for Oredo East, one for Oredo West from Oredo Federal Constituency and there are call numbers you will call and they will come and pick you to the nearest hospital. Now these are the responsibilities of the State Government but they are not there. So what stops government from providing these vehicles that people can easily call even if it has to be at a charge afterwards, that person who is sick or distress or accident point must have opportunity to get to the hospital and in getting to that hospital, you must have Doctors, there must be attention for emergency, for ICU and all of these must be available for our people and they can actually live and be healthy but it’s just so unfortunate but I can assure you by the Grace of Almighty God that all of these will change.


Q: Agriculture and Sports used to be the mainstay for which the then Bendel State and currently Edo is known for, what will be your plan for agriculture vis-à-vis the fact that the President has said he will not import food for this year and next year for Nigerians to eat because we have been a nation that has been unable to feed ourselves, what will you do in agriculture and sporting invention?


A: Well, for agriculture I think it’s one key aspect that has actually serve as a mainstay for our economy. So it is total revamp for example what is the present state today to start from,   are we heading and what can we do differently. The present administration has talked about Hectares of farmland, production of this, production of that but never seen anywhere. That is why I said earlier on that it is easier to say prior to an election than implementing after an election. One of the reasons why you see that I am presenting myself humbly to the people of Edo is that enough is enough, we have to do things differently. For agriculture, I think first of all, it is embarrassing for all of us as a people that if you go up North with a very difficult terrain and soil , they feed the entire nation with vegetables, fruits, meat and all that. If you go out there you will have to buy Water Melon coming from the North, you will buy potatoes coming from the North and we are meant to be eating and living healthy all of this come from the North but what are we doing in the South. Now go round the State and see the land mass, we have untapped resources, we have a few farmers trying to farm and bringing their goods to the road side no. optical policies, expansion, expanding everything available, making agriculture attractive so that we can feed ourselves and begin to take out to be able to make money. So I think it is an aspect that has not really been tapped on and it is telling very negatively. So you begin to wonder while Northerners struggle and trying to make sure that Water Resources Ministry, Agricultural Ministry are there for them because they know exactly what is turning out for them, they are feeding us but their terrain is more difficult but they make it possible. Now it’s been raining and it rained yesterday, we have a very solid and fertile place for all of these but it’s not being done because the process is not driven and a few hands that are interested do not have the enabling environment, the equipment, the fertilizers and all of these to do it and at the same time there are no industries. There used to be a juice factory in Ehor, Cassavita Mill, all of these. More companies can come here you know we can decide to say as from Ehor all the way to Iruekpen if you look to the right and to the left is all available for farming and deep down available for farming, this is what we are doing in this axis, mechanized farming, organized farming and ensure that the end product because we will be feeding ourselves very well and our people will not be in hunger and at the same we will take all of these for export. We take them to the neighbouring state the way they bring in vegetables and all of these from the North and we begin to take to them. We can grow tomatoes, we can grow cassava; nothing we cannot grow now even water melon can be done here, all of these we will put in place and ensure that we can sustain ourselves in terms of food sustenance and I think that agriculture is one key area we are lacking in it and so in all of these aspect have given an insight of the present state and what should be and how I intend to do things differently. You talked about sport. You see another setback for us, if you remember when it was Bendel State and it became Edo State, we have always taken the frontline in terms of sporting activities. You know National Team as the time The Green Eagles eight out of eleven from this axis but today were are they? The infrastructures are not there. Ogbemudia set up with a plan and vision a massive sporting complex a village somewhere in Edo State, what are we doing there today. If you go all the way to Limit Road, Ugbor Road, you are going to see another huge sport facility but what are they doing today? Now you are renovating Ogbe Stadium, you are expanding to the road, houses are all around there, where have a sporting facility you must have an ambience. You can’t pass stadium road today, imagine if we are going to watch a match, look at where the long tennis and indoor hall is. These things were done at a time to suit the population and scenario at that time, today how many people can play on that court, go and look at the swimming pool. So it is total waste of time and money to find out that so much money is been pumped into that structure. Just after Limit road all the way we have spaces to come up with infrastructures. We can get our people train them and let them use these facilities and they will become world stars and when they are making the money they end up bringing it back here but what are we doing nothing. Everything we are doing today started from Ogbemudia to Ambrose Alli, common we need to do things differently.


Q: Okay two question but firstly, the current governor is popularly called an MoU governor because of the fact that he signs seemingly so many agreements but at the end of the day they are not seen and he told us while he was campaigning that he is going to use his international connection and all of that. You are also internationally connected, what are you going to do differently not to have the same MoU governor? Secondly, the Royal father the Omo No Oba Ne Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Eware the II held a meeting with all the Enigies about how the herdsmen has been invaded the forest in Edo State, unfortunately nothing is being down about that direction, right now no farming and nothing, we also knew that Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State stood in to conquer but today we don’t have such security problem in Ekiti State so what will you do?


A: Well thank you very much, I said it earlier that despite the very best intention of the present and the very recent past government, their best is not good enough and that is why I said enough is enough, we have to do things differently. MoU to my understanding mean memorandum of understanding and it is step forward in terms of agreement, term and condition by which the objectives stated in those MoU are meant. So I don’t think it’s a bad intention to have these MoU in place but inability to carry out to implementation stage is what the problem is. So I don’t think I will shy away from MoU when I talked about attracting foreign investors, opening up of our economy even partnering on security aspects, health aspects and all of these, they required MoUs but the difference will be that those MoUs will be carried to the latter, implementation will take place. This administration, looking at the last two years, unfortunately the APC have decided to take everybody for granted having internal rancor, it’s disgraceful, appalling and sad that as I speak to you today more than half of Edo indigenes are residents in Edo do not have a voice in the legislative arm of the government of the State and nobody is speaking. We have people that have been elected and are not able to speak for the Edo people, that unacceptable because of internal party rancor. So this is time for APC to actually excuse us, excuse the State for serious minded people to come and do things differently and that is why I am running for the Governor of the State. Talking of the herdsmen, well it falls under my security plan, it is a major component that must be trashed. Nigerians have the right to live by the constitution wherever they which to live and I think our Muslim brothers and sisters are not aliens in our society but the policies of the state government does not put people in track and it is not weighty enough to be able to protect the citizens and indigenes of Edo, I think that’s where the problem is. Under my administration, I think that farmers can have their database because Edo residents and indigenes will all come under database. We are going to know those that are farmers and we are going to be able to know those that hide under farming and they are kidnappers and all of these. So because we are going to be interested in farmlands because of the agriculture turnaround strategy, government is still going to be a stakeholder. So there will be no hiding place for criminals under the auspices that they are herdsmen and all of that no. our policies and the implementation of all of those policies will naturally eliminate all of these.
Q: As an Edo man sir, you talked about opening up the economy, what are you going to do about the Gelegele seaport?
A: Well I think that if you actually go back and check the books, the Gelegele seaport is a process you have to tie with   federal government. The issue has come up on the floor of the house, so I have a very deep detail about it. Any state government that stands up to say I am going to set-up a seaport and all that has really not looked at the books. Under Ports and Harbour they are analyzed. So you must partner with federal government to be able to see that a seaport comes to your domain. So Gelegele seaport will open it up but the difference again is like I said earlier the intents are there and carrying it to implementation stage either the strategies are not in place or the process are not right. I will partner with federal government, federal government must give consent to certain things under our laws and that should be any different so that Gelegele seaport will actually see the light of the day and not a process of manifesto.


Q: On a final note, how deep is your pocket because given that this political terrain is the era of vote buying, how deep is your pocket to be able to win the primary and that of the major election?


A: Well I will still go back to where we started from that with Ogbeide Ihama things are going to happen differently. I told you i won election to the House of Reps in 2015 under Oshiomhole administration as a governor, I told you my opponent was the then sitting Speaker. What kind of pocket will I have when I am on the other side and the ruling party is in government house and the sitting speaker is my opponent but we were able to make the people know that it is not about your N5,000, N3,000 or N2,000 on election day and that is what you want to suffer for four years and they bought into the idea. So we didn’t have to buy votes, they can out, they voted and I won and at the end of the day the dividends are there. Today the markets in Oredo are lit up, schools have been renovated, schools are built, health centre empowerment, women are getting grants for SMEs for small scale business and our youths are getting engaged, scholarships for the best performing students, all of these have been able to wrap up within a period of 5 years. So in this election I can tell you it is going to be more of doing things differently and we can take us out of the wilderness than buying votes. So I do not have the kind of pocket, PDP is not in government in the national, PDP is not in government in the state but I will go out there to speak to everybody and tell them that in health sector that woman who watched her husband died because the Doctor is not on seat, that child who have been deprived education that is a vital right to every citizen will have the opportunity to be in school in a conducive environment and as well as the teachers that are very well trained will be able to inculcate in them best practices following educational standards today, that road that is bad will be fixed and maintenance culture will come back, we will know ourselves as security issues will be addressed, I know my neighbor and my neighbor knows me. All of these are what I am bringing to the table and I think the people have suffered enough, compare Edo to every other State in the South-South. At this time I don’t think anybody will gamble their vote for even N20,000. It’s not going to work.

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