Whether APC Or PDP, Next President Will Come From the North-Charles Idahosa
Author :OJIEVA EHIOSUN
Hon. Charles Idahosa is a former political adviser to exgovernor of Edo State Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former Commissioner for Information. In this Interview with OJIEVA EHIOSUN, he spoke on the crisis currently rocking the PDP, the issue of land grabbers in Edo State, and why another Northerner will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. Excerpts…
The crisis in PDP at the national level is getting more intense over who controls the structure. Don’t you think it will have adverse effect in the 2023 General Elections?
Definitely, I’m so sad about the level of crisis rocking the PDP in almost all the states. In fact the one in APC is worse. You see people seem to be counting my days in PDP when I followed Governor Godwin Obaseki no, I’m a founding member of the PDP. I was in Jos for the convention that produced ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. We worked for Obasanjo. But the PDP I’m seeing now is strange.I can’t even function in the party anymore. But I had to go back to PDP because I left there in 2004 when there was this kind of problems of dictators trying g to hold the party as if it is their father’s property. In Edo State we just finished the war against godfatherism, where the comrade Governor Adam’s Oshiomhole tried to muscle everybody just because he supported Obaseki to be governor.You don’t do things like that. Governor Nyesom Wike and Uche Secondus are friends, so they should settle their differences amicably. Wike is a young man, so it’s godfather and son’s fight that we are seeing in Rivers State. But unfortunately it is affecting the National because Wike seems to have a grip of the party. The National Working Committee is divided, governors are divided so there is no way it won’t affect the party.In the October National Convention, Wike has an ambition, so he knows who he is going to project that will protect his political interest So the intrigues are still there. Edo has succeeded in uprooting our own godfather, so Rivets State should follow suit. No matter the issue now. I still give credit to Governor Wike and Secondus because they played a major role in saving Obaseki, when they discovered that Oshiomhole was going to rubbish him. So personally I still owe them gratitude. My advice now is that they should look for a way to settle because they are close friends.But unfortunately too the APC is not better, the crisis there is worse than the one in PDP. So we are still watching closely because I still see myself as part and parcel of the APC because we formed it but because of circumstances we left them and it’s just unfortunate.
What is the way out; do you see Secondus retaining his position during the convention?
I just pray that the October convention will see the light of day. As you can see, there is no state in the country that you don’t have one political crisis or the others. In Edo State now, those of us that followed Obaseki are being regarded as second class PDP; can you imagine that we can’t even say anything anymore as party leaders, but I feel very sorry for the younger ones, because I am not going for any political position again in my life. I ran for governorship primaries against Oshiomhole, I was rigged out.I ran for Senate there was no election at all, I have held various positions as a politician in the state, I have paid my dues politically, so I’m nearing retirement now. The only election I was given an opportunity to contest and I won was the local government council election.That is why I still remain graceful to the late General Sani Abacha. There was no imposition, no manipulation, no godfatherism. I just picked form, went for election and won. Every other election after that became impossible because of the way our political leaders take it. Because they feel that Charles Idahosa is too wise and stubborn he won’t listen to them.So they denied me all other election I ran for in the state. In the Senatorial election I ran for we just sat down in the siting room of one of the leaders and he just said we have given the position to somebody the rest of you can go. The funniest thing is that the one million I paid is still with them, they did not deem if fit to return one kobo to me.
Do you advice Goodluck Jonathan to join the APC and run for presidency again judging from the current rumours in that regard?
I don’t really know, I do not see where the two political parties are heading to be frank with you. Yes, I have a feeling that Goodluck Jonathan is up to something, he would like to right the wrong because of the way he came and how he left. I think if he is given the opportunity he would come. But I see the two political parties fielding a Northern candidate because there’s no political South, there is a political North. And the average Southerner underrates the Northern, anytime I say this some people don’t like it that the average Northerners are more politically aware than the Southerners. In the South we are divided, but in the North they are one when it comes to political matters; they are speak Hausa, but here the Igbo man is different, the Yoruba man is different, the Ijaw man is different, likewise the Edo man. When they created Mid-West, the Edo man wanted to stay in Ibadan but they drove them away saying Akpata is not Apata Ayomide is not Ayomide and all of that. But in the North the Emir then made sure that everyone spoke Hausa Language, but in West they did not allow us to speak Yoruba. The Ikwere man speaks Ikwere language he will not speak Igbo meanwhile he is Igbo. In fact a good example is Jonathan, is he an Ijaw man when you look at his name he is an Igbo man. Jonathan Ebele Azikiwe. So at the end of the day, I’m seeing the two political parties going up North to pick their candidate. So if Jonathan decides to run the Northerners will try to convince their people but it will be very difficult because if APC brings someone from the North, and PDP does the same, the North will win. Because no matter how poor an Hausa security man is, he must afford to buy a radio and listen to BBC Hausa Service. They hear information much more than our people even at our level of education. We think they don’t have sense but they are in charge. So if Jonathan comes out for presidency, they will deceive him and he will be beaten hands down. He should keep his dignity as is it now rather than going to mess up the good name he has built. So in 2023, I see President Muhammadu Buhari handling over to another Northerner, I can stake my money on it. Whether it is APC or PDP, the next Nigerian President will come from the North, quote me.
Former military Head of State Ibrahim Babangida in his recently interview said the corruption under PMB is worse than previous governments in the country. Do you agree with him?
No I do not agree with that, Babangida started corruption in this country, he is the genesis of all these things happening now. He was the one that started bribing Army officers with cars to avoid coups. I listened to him in that interview, how can he say that corruption is more pronounced under PMB? Does he know the meaning of corruption, the value of the naira at that time, the world economy as at that time is not what it is today. Things were better in his time and life was a little bit easier that doesn’t mean that the present leadership is bad. I think he should just stay in his mansion in Minna and stop saying things that are not. President Muhammadu Buhari is doing his best, it’s just that the world economy is bad and things are generally tough globally.
As a senior citizen of Edo, are you not worried by the nefarious activities of the Okaegheles (Land Grabbers) a situation that has resulted in killings and crisis particularly in communities around Benin City?
Thank you very much. First and foremost I must congratulate the State governor for been very proactive about this issue. Most well-to-do people in Edo State are all victims of this land issue. You struggle hard to buy a plot of land, the next day you go there you see hundreds of youths wanting to know why you are developing it, they will tell you if you must develop, you must pay huge sums of money amounting to two or three hundred thousand. Next day you will see another person on your land claiming ownership of the land you bought. So we have all experienced it. But I think the governor has moved in the right direction nipping it in the bud. He set up a board to look into the matter, and they are also going to set up a special court to try those who indulge in such criminal acts. I think by the time they start people will learn their lesson because as far as they are concerned it is still a joke to them. The people doing these things are still on it simply because nobody has been convicted. His Royal Majesty the Oba of Benin has tried his best making sure that such things don’t happen again in Benin Kingdom. His Majesty brought in a former IG to come and preside over the matter of CDA, but the people went and started to operate under the guide of Okaeghele, becoming lord in their various communities, selling lands to people, collecting people’s properties forcefully and so on. I think they are yet to know the power of the law, so by the time it dawns on them it would have become too late. It is really worrisome that people can no longer buy lands in Benin and develop without troubles from these boys. But all that will soon be a thing of the past.
Will the ban place on CDA activities by the government help solve the problem?
Yes it will go a long way. The State House of Assembly has passed it into law; the monarch has also thrown his weight behind it; so I think they had done the right thing. What governments needs to do now is to pick one or two persons and use them as examples then everybody will know that it is no longer business as usual.Just recently, Edo people lost an illustrious son, Captain Hosa Okunbo, how did you feel on hearing the news of his death?I feel greatly devastated, I feel pained, I feel very bad. He was my younger brother from the same local government area; he was from Orhua, I’m from Ehor a walking distance. His father was my teacher, I was a class monitor so I had the privilege of carrying teacher’s books and bag to their house. I’m older than him with about six years. So it was a very big loss to me. He was a very generous man, nice person, he respected me a lot. I don’t want to go into details, but any time I became controversial in politics he would call me and say ‘edionewan’ you have started again… I had the opportunity of visiting him in his house in London, we talked about so many things, and I advised him to be very careful about politics that it’s a dangerous game because with the kind of money he had, people are bound to tell him all sorts of things. It’s very sad, he helped so many people, but I think a lot of people deceived him. We thank God for the life he lived. I am very happy that the family came out and made public what killed him. So nobody will say he died as a result of this or that. I feel so sorry for the mother who is still alive; it’s very painful but we can’t question God. May his soul rest in the bosom of the Lord.