Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon (aka Igodomigodo) is the Chief of Staff to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. In this interview, Obahiagbon assesses the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. He also speaks on some issues affecting Edo, asserting that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stands no chance in the guber election scheduled to be held in the state in 2016.
You ran in the senatorial primary of the APC for Edo South ahead of the 2015 polls but lost to Hon. Samson Osagie. How were you able to move on?
Moving on was nothing of a quagmire at all and that is because as a student of mysticism and hermeticism,I hold the view very tenaciously that “as above so below”, meaning that nothing happens in the life of a student of light by accident. I gave it all my best and vicariously yearned again for another parliamentary lacuna to use parliament as a pizza for social engineering and legislative dialectics, but when it did not happen, it just meant that the cosmic keyboard was vibrating at its own rhythm and harmonics according to the law of the cycles which is itself an immutable divine law.
Some Nigerians believe that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been sluggish. Do you share that sentiment?
President Buhari has left no one in doubt-except of course incorrigible political Philistines and revanchists-that he has set his hands on the plough and no political Jupiter can stop him now from cleansing the Augean stable and navigating the ship of the Nigerian state from Bermuda Triangle. He has demonstrated a diaphanous commitment to pulverize the monster of corruption by not just vacuous sloganeering as it was in the past, but has announced a willingness to begin an epic prosecution of economic vandals. The constitution of a Presidential Advisory Committee against corruption, headed by the fiery and no nonsense Professor Itse Sagay, is a further demonstration of his commitment.
I simply don’t understand what they mean by sluggishness. Mr President met a country in a state of economic phlebotomy, social anomie, moral putrescence and political erebusism. Was he supposed to have, against this background, begin to take precipitate steps bordering on the harum scarum just to satiate the dramatic proclivities of those who lightly cogitate that Nigeria is a political cinematography? No no no.
Fixing the Nigerian economy just now requires systematic methodology,a sangfroid disposition and a calculative mind as cool as cucumber. His shuttle diplomacy to rally Nigeria’s neighbours and the international community at regional and global levels are already paying off in the war against Boko Haram. His spartan discipline and respect for the rule of law, especially on fiscal matters, are already yielding positive mileage for the economy. Nigerians are used to theatrics and histrionics but President Buhari is not a man of theatre and drama.He is a man of few words but much action.
The PDP in Edo recently kicked against the approval of the National Assembly of the World Bank loan being negotiated by the state government. What is your take on the argument that it will further plunge the state into debt?
The objurgations of the PDP in Edo State against the loan deal, as you call it, before the National Assembly is sheer jejune political polyphony and sciamachy. The World Bank, as you know, would not indulge anybody who plays ducks and drakes on financial matters and, in any case,the laudable achievements of Edo State government is palpably visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.These are facts too gargantuan and irrefutable to be contested except and save those habilimented in astigmatic political monocles. The Edo PDP Chairman is a comedian; any time he wants to act, he beckons on journalists to tell them to come. We are not bothered about their criticisms. As you can see, Edo is working. Once Edo people are happy with the Comrade Governor, Orbih and his cohorts are inconsequential.
But are you not worried that with the achievement of the PDP in Edo South in the National Assembly elections, it might replicate that success come 2016 governorship election?
What were the results achieved by the PDP in the last elections? They simply latched in on the South/South sentiments and the Christian/Muslim stratagem during the presidential election and, even at that, the final results were a photo finish and, of course, when the House of Assembly election took place, when the issues were now local and internal to Edo, was it not now conspicuously demonstrated that APC owns papa’s land, going by the outcome of the elections? If anything has changed since then it’s that the people of Edo are now more attracted to the APC and the Comrade Governor, especially with the non-performance of the PDP also at the federal level and their eventual defeat.So what is the tension? Edo is APC state anytime, any day and come rain, come sun. 2016 will come and go and I can tell you that it will be wishful thinking for the PDP to dream of winning the governorship in Edo, not now and not in the nearest future.
But the agitation by some people in Edo South that they should be allowed to produce Oshiomhole’s successor and not the governor, don’t you think it might lead to crisis in your party?
I laugh and shudder when I hear views such as this and, that is because if you like, it will be an ignis fatuus to ever think that it would ever be possible at anytime for there to be unanimity of opinion among Edo South leaders of APC as to its choice of a gubernatorial candidate, when that time comes. In any case, who says the governor is not also from Edo South as he is also from Edo Central and Edo North respectively?
The governor is a democrat who will not impose any candidate. Did the governor impose me on the people as his Chief of Staff during the senatorial nominations? Did he impose Prof.Julius Ihonvbere, the Secretary to Edo State Government on the people of Edo North, when he ran for the Senate? But we must all be conscious of the fact that the achievements of APC today in Edo have made us rise above twelve feet tall and driven by Mr Governor.
We must all be conscious of the fact that Mr Governor is the face of APC in Edo..We must all be conscious of the fact that Mr Governor will be leading the campaign in 2016 and would provide himself as APCs political battle axe.We must all be conscious of the fact that Mr Governor shall both be the political mine layer and mine sweeper for the election.I think the Comrade Governor will consult with the National Chairman of our party who is an eminent son of Edo and in whom we are all proud and thereafter consult with other stakeholders from the state and, that is because whoever will wear the crown is going to be Governor of Edo state and not governor of Edo South assuming the gubernatorial cap tilts along the senatorial trajectory of Edo South.
But there is this fear that the party may be engulfed in crisis if some aspirants feel cheated?
I don’t foresee any crisis arising from our primary. Some of us have lost out in party primaries and we have remained in the party and worked for the candidates that emerged and the party realizing that, in a political contestation, only one aspirant will emerge. I have looked at all my brothers across the state who are gubernatorial aspirants and they are all men of integrity, rectitude and honour.I would be surprised and shocked if anyone of them turns his back at the electoral fortunes of the party simply because he did not get the gubernatorial ticket of the APC. None of them strikes me and comes across as capable of that kind of a decision.