NO PACT FOR AUTOMATIC TICKET WITH OSHIOMHOLE â€“ OBAHIAGBON
Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon, represents Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. A new entrant to the Action Congress in Edo state, Obahiagbon who won election to the National Assembly on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) justifies his movement to the AC, as informed by the political reality in his constituency. He disagreed with Daily Sun that his political pilgrimage was informed by a deal that himself and few others allegedly sealed with Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole to move to the ruling party and secure automatic tickets for 2011 election.
Why did you decide to leave PDP for AC ; is it a case of joining the fray? My political adjustment from the PDP to the AC was a realistic and pragmatic strike of a delicate equipoise between the unfolding centrifugal and centripetal socio- political proclivities in my constituency. By that I mean, I was for a period in a conundrum, occasioned by the fact of a preponderant number of my constituent moving on a daily basis from the PDP to the AC .
I found myself in a situation where for a very long time now, when a PDP meeting is called in my ward, for example, the highest number of persons we have been able to get at a PDP ward meeting will not be more than 20 to 50, at best. But when the AC calls a similar meeting, in my ward, for a long period of time, the least number of persons that attends such meeting ranges from 300 to 400 persons.
So, you can see the movement that has taken place at that micro level in the politics of my ward. For a practical politician, therefore, who is conscious and sensitive to the political and spiritual forces of his constituent, it got to a stage where I had to ask myself the hard question : Can I remain in Abuja admiring the bridges, pretending to be oblivious of the realistic political configuration happening back at home?
It was a dilemma I needed to resolve and I had to resolve that dilemma on the side of a larger number of my constituent; I had to resolve that dilemma by being on the same age with my people; I had to resolve that dilemma by tilting the political pendulum on the side of democracy. For democracy is the government of the people by the people and for the people.
So, in a nutshell, my adjustment from the PDP to the AC has its source of origin in my desire to be on the same age, politically with the direction as dictated by my constituent. For like Plato said, the people must at all times be the philosopher king. I couldn't afford to harden my heart like the biblical Pharaoh.
But some of you could as well, stay back to salvage PDP?
Well, that's a fundamental question. For me, it isn't a question of salvaging PDP, or not salvaging PDP. For me, it was and remain a question of where are my people. Don't forget that members of a political party are less than 10 per cent of the voting population; those who vote for you to represent them in a representative capacity cuts across partisan and non-partisan cinematography and I say to you that after series of dialectic inter- face with my constituency, I don't know about any geo- political loci, after Oredo federal constituency. But for Oredo federal constituency, a preponderant number of those who were responsible for my political adventure to Abuja are just now members of the AC and democracy evolves. I thought it will just be share political naivety to drag in a different direction from the political trajectory of a larger number of my constituent.
But how would you react to insinuation that some of you are moving to join Oshiomhole moving train, because you know that to secure a fresh mandate in Edo could be in jeopardy, if you don't align with the sitting governor and ruling party?
That could only have been correct, if our movement to the AC automatically brings in its wake, an automatic ticket of AC . But you know, like I know that the Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole has become the driver of the political jurisprudence gaining momentum today in Nigeria, which jurisprudence is called, one- man- one- vote!
So, my adjustment to AC doesn't in itself confer on me an alacritous right to fly the ticket of AC. If I so decide to subject myself to the democratic process of the AC, with a view to seeking the imprimatur of AC constituent to fly the AC banner in the next election, then it is going to be through the democratic crucibles.
But we learnt that there is deal for an automatic ticket, once you defect
But if there is a sealed deal, I should be one of the parties to it and I should be able to tell you that there is a sealed deal or not. I say to you with all sense of responsibility, I say to you with all sense of history and I say to you with ecclesiastical and apocalyptic sincerity that there is no sealed deal, between us—myself and Hon. Samson, who adjusted to the AC with the comrade governor of Edo State as to the possibility of an automatic ticket. As I speak to you just now, my decision to subject myself to the democratic process of the AC primaries would become an end product of extensive consultations. I haven't even made up my mind, whether I am going to fly the AC banner, back to the House of Representatives. I haven't even made up my mind, whether that's what I want to do!
Consultations are going on and it would continue to go on. So, if I haven't made up my mind to come back to the House of Representatives. As I say to you, the question of a sealed deal with the comrade governor as a condition sine qua non, for my political adjustment falls flat on its head.
But like I tell everybody and like I have always tell the whole world, I, as Patrick Obahiagbon, I remain a robot in the hands of God.
Whether my political direction will depend like I have said, on series of consultations, both at terrestrial, extra- terrestrial, material and metaphysical levels. At the end of my material and cosmic consultations, then I would be able some day to announce to my teeming admirers, not only in Oredo federal constituency, but all over the world what next is my direction.
Do you think you have done enough to deserve a fresh mandate?
I think it would be an exercise of political narcissism, bordering on vacous and needless self-masturbation for me to begin to assess myself. Whether the fact of my representation in the House of Representatives is enviable to the extent of making me deservable of a second term is in the hands of the people and in the hands of God .
Can you assess Oshiomhole in terms of performance, because there are those who insist that he is just grandstanding, gallivanting all over the state, but nothing concrete on ground in terms of performance in Edo?
I say without fear of favour that in less than two years in the reign of governance in Edo Governor Oshiomhole has unleashed upon the state a developmental tsunami and that developmental tsunami has brought in its wake giant stride feat. The ancient city of Benin kingdom is transmitting into the modern city of Benin kingdom. We used to think that government is on permanent vacation in Edo, but today you can see the trappings of governance at work.
Constructional and rehabilitation of roads are going on across the three senatorial districts, all at the same time and in the same tempo. The marvel of it isn't just that roads are being constructed and redesigned across the three senatorial districts, but in juxtapose with these road construction are gigantic drainage work, going along with construction of roads, because the problem of road construction in Edo has to do with lack of adequate drainage system.
Is it the streetlight going on in Benin City and all over the state?
Is it the rehabilitation of schools going on ? It isn't an hyperbole for me to say that Edo is becoming a modern day Dubai, compared to where we were coming from. It isn't an hyperbole to say major roads in Benin City are becoming a mini- Las Vegas in US.
So, for me the comrade governor isn't just pontificating; the comrade isn't just an ideologue. There are pragmatic and practical dividends of democracy on ground that are audible to the deaf and visible to the blind. I dare say that the governor has set the benchmark upon which democratic believables shall be measured in a long time to come.
INEC has alerted the nation that it might be difficult for the electoral body to conform with the time- table it had earlier released for 2011 election.
There are those who are saying, it is all gimmick for tenure extension for the present administration?
It will be politically suicidal for the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to for whichever reason under the sky contemplate an extension of his tenure and I don't think that this is being contemplated by any government functionary at very high level. I agree, however, that there is the need to be more pro- active as it has to do with the seeming phlegmatic phase of the process of electoral reform and constitution review in the national assembly.
I agree with the save Nigeria Group, and all civil liberty organizations that have raised the alarm that there is an urgent need for those whose constitutional responsibilities it is to put the institutional frame work in place, to do so in good time for there to be a transparent, free and fair election.
What I think can not be feasible just now is for the set time stipulated by INEC in the proposed conduct of election: that is the January 2011 date. I sincerely don't think that it feasible just now, but I think that the April date is still feasible and in any case, it was as a result of the fact that Professor Iwu took into recognition the objective reality of the fact, that the process of constitution review and electoral review could be Herculean, that in the first instance two separate dates were suggested. I do think that, with the place of work going on in the National Assembly, the April date is feasible and realistic.