A CHIEFTAIN of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, in Edo State and former Senior Special Assistant to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Foreign Relations, Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma in this interview describes the present administration in the state as deceptive, dismissing as false the governor’s claims of having reduced Chief Tony Anenih to a community leader.
Are you not worried that people will begin to see you as a rebel, first you were in Gov Oshiomhole’s government and you stormed out and secondly, you are a member of the NRC Board and you spearheaded the revolt that led to the forced resignation of Alhaji Baraje as the Chairman of the Board?
I am not a rebel. Over the years, I have always spoken my mind. When I left Oshiomhole, I didn’t join the PDP, I went home to be doing my business. I even travelled out for months; I was not ready to join any political party. I didn’t resign because of any political party. I resigned because of the way that Oshiomhole was conducting himself to the people. He has no respect for anybody; there was deception in government and so, I couldn’t bear it any more. I said to myself: this is not the same Oshiomhole that I knew; this is not the same Oshiomhole that was very humble, fearless. You talk to people nicely, respect people, but all of a sudden, you change. So it was worrisome to me and I decided to leave because I did not want to be part of the bashing. I am a good son of my father; I was brought up by humble parents; I was raised in the village; I never knew there was light but today I have travelled far and wide, live in America for over 28 years, have been able to sit with presidents of various countries, and I know my onions.
I didn’t resign because I wanted to join the PDP; I resigned because of the failure of Oshiomhole to fulfill all the promises that he made to the people. Apart from that, I was called upon; PDP approached me; yes, I was one of the founding members of the PDP. In the beginning, myself and Chief John Odey ran the activities of a critical committee of the National Convention of the PDP in 2005; I had played many roles in PDP in the past.
Now talking about the Board of the NRC, yes I worked for PDP and they found me worthy and when the position came the Chairman of the PDP in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih and our great leader, Chief Tony Anenih as well as our leader in Edo South, Captain Hosa Okunbo and others said that they should give it to me. I didn’t leave Oshiomhole Government because of the NRC Board appointment, I was nominated and Mr President approved it.
On the resignation of the Chairman of the NRC, you know when you are given an opportunity to serve your country, you must serve it to the best of your knowledge; we were all given the opportunity; Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, having served as the National Secretary of our great Party, acting National Chairman of the Party, we found him very formidable to be our chairman at the NRC, but down the line, we didn’t know what was happening. Before he decided to go and join the new PDP, he never consulted with us; after a while, months gone, no Board meetings held, I placed calls to him to know the directions, he would never return my calls.
Would you say that the PDP is still relevant in the state?
The PDP is still very much on ground in Edo State and it is waxing stronger by the day. The people in Edo will attest to that reality. I am from Edo; I can tell you categorically what is on ground in the state as of today.
Edo today is nothing to write home about when you are talking about governance, never mind what you have been hearing on the radio and television or what you have been reading on the pages of newspapers. People in government tend to deploy the instrumentality of propaganda to hoodwink people living outside the state.
Indeed, PDP is on ground. At a time, the party had its downside; that was one of the reasons Oshiomhole came on the scene but you cannot tell me that as of 2013 that PDP is not on ground.
PDP is formidable and fully on ground because of what Oshiomhole has turned the so-called ACN that is now called APC into. Oshiomhole is a man who said “let the people lead,” but he is now the one leading the people. Edo state is comatose to the extent that in Benin city where I come from, there is nowhere you can see any road that is motorable apart from the Federal Roads that the governor is competing with the Federal Government for; he is doing the gutters when the Federal Government had already done the roads and is now praising himself that he has constructed roads!
But he has constructed the airport road in Benin. Is that not so?
Looking at the Airport road that he used almost N15 to N16 billion to construct, the road that is less than seven killometres, up till today, for almost four, five years or thereabout, the road is not completed.