July 20, 2024

Edo 2024: No Sane Government will Demolish Hospital for Museum – Igbinedion



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Barrister Dele Igninedion is an aspirant for the Edo 2024 Governorship election on the platform of Labour Party. He shared his thoughts on wide range of issues, exclusively with our Correspondent, Ikhili Ebalu

You are in the race for be voted as Governor of Edo State, what would you do better?

Well if you ask me what is not going well in Edo, then I will tell you that everything is not going well. First of all, unfortunately, we do not have a government that understands Governance.

Government in a democracy is supposed to be about the people, it is supposed to be for the people. Every policy of government must be people friendly, people oriented, people valued but unfortunately we have a government and we have had successive governments in this state which is anti people, which sees the people as objects to be crushed, as objects to be sat upon.

That is the first thrust. What we need to change is the relationship between the government and the people.

In terms of programs, nothing is working in Edo. Edo is on autopilot. A good example is the central hospital which has been brought down and a museum called, EMOWAN (MOWAA) is being built in the place. No sane Government would do such.

The central library where people used to go and read, a place which serves as a resource center, has been brought down and a shopping mall is being built in its stead.

No sane Government does that. They wanted to bring down the Nigeria Union of Journalists complex if not that the uproar was somewhat difficult to manage.

They went somewhere in Benin and they said they want to build a new Benin and they destroyed it, took over the peoples landed properties and they said they are building a public/partnership stuff.

The state needs a Government friendly style of governance. No new doctors have been employed since inception of this administration, go to the Education sector, no teachers have been employed.

Edo 2024: No Sane Government will Demolish Hospital for Museum - Igbinedion

They have done more harm than good in the sector. In fact they have bastardized the sector. Recently, we had to take the state government to court to say that you can not take primary six exams on behalf of National Association of private school proprietors, you can not take primary six exams which used to be done by pupils at the end of third term and you now say you are doing primary six exams in second term, then they now have one full term without any academic work.

In my village after they finished the exams in second term, the pupils stopped going to school and as such there is no more primary six anymore. When I asked the teachers, they said that the government said that they should be teaching them computers.

Apparently they brought in one or two computers for them but then the people are not interested. The teacher that is entrusted with the task of teaching the computer class is not computer literate.

Look at the road to Ekpoma, recently, people died in Ovia. That is something that could have taken the government about 5 million to provide some palliative measure to rectify the failed portion as it is not the whole stretch of the road that needs to be repaired to save lives, but no, they won’t do that. Look at that Ekpoma road, that is no longer a road, it is now Benin-Auchi gully.

What does it take for a responsible government to fix that instead of driving around in bullet proof cars. I will continue to say that we don’t have a government in Edo state.

We need a Government that is people oriented in Edo. We need a people friendly Government in Edo state. Go to government house now and say you want to see the governor, you can’t see him, is that what it is supposed to be?.

When I was a member of the house of Assembly, by 6 Am, people from my constituency and all over Edo are already seated in my sitting room waiting to see me. So, we don’t have a Government with a human face in Edo. And that is the first thing that we need to be in place.

Most often times, politicians who aspire to position of leadership seems to know all the problems and also the answers to the problems but as soon as they get there, they begin to do something else.

How is your situation not going to be the same?

In Edo state, we have never had people like me who have what it takes to fix the problems. Some of the people that have governed Edo state have never really been from Edo.

What I mean by that is that they never actually lived here in Edo with Edo people. They are diaspora. The present governor Obaseki was living in Lagos. He doesn’t even know where Ugbegun or where Abudu is.

Before him was Mr. Adams Oshiomhole. He was living in Abuja. They said he was born in Kaduna grew up in Kaduna and lived all his life in Kaduna and other places before becoming the labour president.

All he knew was that he is from Edo state but he never lived here. Before him was Professor Osunbor and so on.

The difference that we bring is first and foremost, we are home grown. We were born here, we grew up here, we live here. I have children studying in government schools here, I go to central hospital, my wife does her anti natal in central hospital, I use the bad roads, all my friends are here not in Lagos.

I don’t have a house in Abuja or in Lagos. My houses are in Benin and I live my life in Benin and in my village, so that is the difference. If you have an idea and during the weekend you just fly out of the state, you will not implement them.

When you see the village people around you, you get irritated because their main friends are not here, they are from outside. In the United States even in London, you can not aspire to any elective office or political representation except you have lived in that place for at least one year, it is a requirement.

But now we have one of the persons contesting against me has lived in America for the past 24 years. He only visits Nigeria for a week and goes back and now he wants to be governor.

How do you expect such a person to even understand the problems and challenges of the people. So, the difference between me and those people is that I am home grown and on ground and I have been here working for the people through my law practice and my small activities being a voice for the voiceless here in Edo.

If I can do so much in my personal capacity how much more if entrusted with government opportunities for the people.

Recently, there has been internal party leadership crisis in your party. Don’t you see that as hindrance in the 2024 governorship election?

I am yet to see a political party or any association of more than two people were there are no dissension. It is normal but that will not affect us because we are resolving it.

Most of those things you see in the public are being resolved. We are working as a team and those things you are seeing as problems would be resolved before the election and we would build a party the public would be proud of and be happy to associate with and we have also appealed to all the parties to shealth their sword for the general interest and they are listening to the voice of reason in the party.

Before the general election, Labour Party was in obscurity but Obi’s candidacy gave LP prominence, but aftef elections and it’s outcome, Labour Party seems to have lost steam. What is your party doing to reinvent itself?

Well I am not the spokesperson for the party but I can just say that the enthusiasm on the part of the electorates did not dampen as such but it just so happened that certain reactionary force decided to use brute force to hijack the will of the people.

It is not that Obidients did not vote in all the election. For example, we have one of the federal constituencies where we have a total number of 3200 (three thousand two hundred) votes that were not counted, somebody just deliberately threw it out.

Now when labour party lost that constituency, they say there was no enthusiasm on the part of labour party, but that is not true. And that was the same situation all over the country including Lagos.

So, why I am not the spokesperson for Labour Party but I would like to say that we are also reaching out to the Obidients movement group, the support groups and the generality of Nigerians to encourage them not to be disappointed.

Bob Marley said that one should keep on trying. You try once and you didn’t get it, don’t relent but keep on trying. Awolowo said it is not how many times a man falls that counts but how many times he is able to rise up after each time he falls. So, we will keep the flag flying.

The constitutional provision of 25%votes in all the states including the FCT which President Tinubu did not meet has taken the front burners in major discussions and presently in the court. What is your yake on this?

The 25% in all the States including the FCT is a constitutional requirement. The constitution has provided that you must have this geographic spread of 25% in all the states including the FCT so the expectation is that you can not be a sectionally elected president but you must have the required spread.

Abuja was perceived as the conundrum of all Nigerians and all the states in Nigeria. It can not be sectional. When Lagos was the capital of Nigeria, it was dominated by the Yorubas and then it was decided that there should be a central place where every Nigerian should have a sense of belonging.

So, if you want to be president, you must have the 25 per cent there. So, any candidate who did not get the required spread should not expect the court to declare such an individual the elected president.

What is your take on subsidy removal and the intended palliatives.

Subsidy removal was the most wicked act of any government. No Government that is people oriented could have conceived such idea but I am not surprised because I didn’t expect anything less from Tinubu but we even expect that he would inflict more excruciating hardship on Nigerians because he doesn’t care about the ordinary people.

All he cares about is himself and his friends and how they would celebrate their billions . The palliative is a scam because I don’t see the wisdom in what he is doing.

You say the subsidy is costing too much and you decide to cut down the price of it and the money that is realized from it would now be given back to the people by way of palliative to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

Why didn’t you just leave it as it were as the palliative can not actually or adequately cushion the effect. That is simply a lazy man’s economics.

He made that statement before he came in as president to fully understand what is on ground. How do you do a thing like that?

It is very unfortunate that this man has been imposed on Nigerians but we will not stop fighting . The next objective now is to get Edo. Once we secure Edo, we would also stretch hands to get other states.

Labour party is prominent in Edo South and a little in Edo Central, but not in Edo North. As an aspirant, what efforts are you making to ensure you get more votes from that area?

The labour party that contested the election that was termed “structureless ” is not the labour party we have now. Since that election particularly since I came in, we have been working assiduously with the brilliant executives that we have to set up party structures across Edo state.

We have areas we did not even have executives before the elections because like you know labour party was not on the front burner but right now we have a deluge of people coming to labour party.

Several decampees from other political parties to labour and because of the customary tradition in labour party, we are not really making noise about it and so many people are not aware that up to Owan, Akoko Edo and all those areas, there are many people that are coming into labour party and structures are being built.

There are even people contesting for executive positions in labour party which was not the case before. When people are now seeing structures being built and many people coming to labour party, the electorates are getting more confident in the party.

They are seeing leadership and people coming to make the party stronger than ever before. I believe in the coming local government election and the 2024 governorship election labour party would make significant impact in several areas.

There is a particular constituency that labour party won but unfortunately there was no candidate as labour party didn’t field any candidate but I don’t see such happening again in subsequent elections.

Nigeria politics and elections are capital intensive. Do you think you have the wherewithal to deal with the cost?

Let me say that there is enough money for the purpose. A lot of people have keyed in to our vision and are making contributions towards the actualisation of the dream.

There are a lot of people who have money and not also happy with the way things are going in the state because they realize that they are not safe, their children are not safe, their investments are not safe, their money is not safe in a lazy economy where the governor can just wake up one day and impose any tax and any policy that are anti people.

So they want a system that works, a system that is run well, a system that is predictable in an economy that is predictable not this present zigzag economic situation.

What is your take on the EU report concerning the presidential election which they say fell short of accepted standard?

It goes without saying that Nigerians are dissatisfied and disappointed with the way the election was conducted. Nigerians feel it could have been better conducted.

Some persons have even gone far to suggest that certain officials by now should have been removed and tried and prosecuted but because President Alhmed Bola Tinubu benefited from it, he doesn’t see that as a problem.

However, in government, you should strive to do what is right because tomorrow you could become the victim. Either you or your person could be the next victim.

Yes today it has favoured him but who knows tomorrow? So that is why we must strive to do the right thing not just for us but because of our children and our children’s children.

I plead with the Labour Party to nominate me and also, and thereafter, for Edo people to vote me as their governor because I am the best person in Labour Party and the best person for the election for Edo 2024 governorship election.

What is your advice to Edo people regarding the fourth coming 2024 governorship election?

I plead with the Labour Party to nominate me as the party’s flagbearer and thereafter, for Edo people to vote me as governor, because I am the best person for the 2024 election.

Dele Igbinedion

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