Mathew Iduoriyekemwen, was one of the five aspirants at the Peoples Democratic Party governorship primaries, which produced Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd), as flagbearer. Iduoririkemwen, a former Edo State House of Assembly Majority Leader, in this interview withJAMES AZANIA, speaks on PDP’s loss at the poll among other issues
The belief in many quarters is that those asking for the removal of the Chief Dan Orbih-led PDP state executive council lack the moral ground to do so. Could you react to this?
What I know is that in the last election, the Action Congress of Nigeria won the election free and fair. Where I voted and where most of the leaders of the PDP voted, they all lost and that was the basis for which we said Dan Orbih cannot continue as chairman of the party. It is on record that Orbih did not cast his vote during the last election. A man who didn’t vote during the last election wants to remain as chairman of the party. For those who are talking, they are shameless. They all claim to be leaders in this party and they have no control anywhere. They have nobody that they are leading. We are the ones that can call them leaders but we have seen that their leadership has failed. Orbih’s tenure saw this party through five re-run elections to the House of Assembly, the party lost all. The same executive saw us through the last legislative election last year and except in Edo Central, the party lost in every part of the state. Now, the most crucial election, the governorship election, which would have been the election to reposition the party for future political gains in this state, we did not only lose the election, we lost it woefully. The path of honour for him to take is to lead by example by throwing in the towel, so that the party can be reorganised to contest other elections in future. Throwing accusations won’t help; what they don’t know is that they are living in the past. They think they are still in command and in control of people, but the truth is that people are already fed up with their leadership. They are sending letters to some of us to appear before disciplinary committee, I have written back to him and the committee on my position as it relates to Orbih’s continued stay as chairman of the party and my position is that he should take the path of honour and resign. It has nothing to do with my personal relationship with him or anybody; this is our party and we must build the party and the only way we can build the party is by putting people that have proven records of being able to win elections there. What is the essence of being in a political party when the party lacks the capacity to win elections?
A lot of people feel that you worked against your party; that you instructed your supporters to vote for the ACN because you are still bitter over what happened in the primaries. Is that correct?
They should also ask the people who are saying this whether they also instructed their supporters to work against the PDP since they all lost where they voted. I won’t take issues with them. The truth is that we had in place an executive that lacked a strategy for elections, they exhibited their best and their best result is public knowledge today. That was the most woeful defeat PDP has ever suffered in the entire country. Losing an election in 18 local government areas and then you still talk about going to challenge results! For me, I don’t see what is there to be challenged because the ACN won the election free and fair.
I don’t know their basis for contesting the election in the first place. From my perspective and with what I saw during the voting that took place in my locality, it was the first time I didn’t hear of ballot box stuffing or ballot box snatching, no single one; I don’t see why anyone wants to waste his time. What they should concentrate on now is to sit down as a group and see how we can rebuild this party to become strong again, while the executives that led us to this disaster should on their own resign. If they don’t resign, we will sack them.
What do you think should be Governor Adams Oshiomhole focus during his second tenure?
I don’t think that I am in a position to comment on that because I am not a member of the ACN but as an indigene of Edo State, I expect him to consolidate on the infrastructural development he is doing and then to also develop human capital. The mandate has been freely given to him in Edo and I think that whatever has made the whole Edo to speak with one voice in voting for him, he should build on it and let those that will come after him know that that is the barest minimum standard that Edo people will ever accept.
The governor has made overtures to the PDP to join hands with him in developing the state. Would you subscribe to such bipartisan arrangement?
I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, because even at the national level, when Olusegun Obasanjo became president, he made overtures to the opposition parties. We are now in a position when we can talk about building the state and if you identify people in other parties that can partner with you to take the state to the next level. I don’t see anything wrong in that.