- Victor Oshioke is paid to defend Oshiomhole
In this interview with Ehi Ekhator, a former governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Chief Blessing Agbomhere led NAIJA CENTER NEWS into why he constantly attacks the former governor, Adams Oshiomhole, his problem with the current deputy governor, Philip Shaiubu and political party.
Victor Oshioke said the deputy governor and the others you mentioned were not responsible for the attack that took place at the Benin airport.
Everything that was said there were a misrepresentation and a senseless defence of the person of Adams Oshiomhole. Everything Victor Oshioke said, you would understand that he is paid to do the job he is doing, he has to make Oshiomhole see that he is working to get paid, so he can say anything in defence of Oshiomhole. Unlike me, the truth of the matter is that, everybody in Nigeria as at today knows my position in the person of Adams Oshiomhole.
If i were to be a normal politician, when i was running for the governorship of Edo State, i will not talk about probing Oshiomole who is a member of the same party i belong. For me to have said that, it means that i felt that Oshiomhole’s administration was nothing but a situation that deserved much to be appreciated.
If you would understand, I was a fan of Oshiomhole. He did well in his first time and I still say it to him and anybody who cares to listen but the second term was a fraud because the spirit in which Oshiomhole worked in his first term in Edo State, if he had continued in that same spirit in his second term, everybody knows by today what Edo State would be. But this man who worked in his first term left Edo State in so much debt in his second term.
What people failed to understand is this, today, people talk about Lucky Igbinedion, the revenue that Oshiomhole received in his 8 years administration, is not comparable to what Lucky Igbinedion received. Oshiomhole got a triple of what Lucky Igbinedion got as governor and for somebody to be comparing Oshiomhole with Igbinedion’s administration; i can tell you that they are two different things. To whom much is given, much is expected, so much was given to Adams Oshiomhole.
Before Oshiomhole became the governor of Edo State, you and i knew that he was on a rented apartment in Edo State, he had a modest house in Iyamoh but today, go and look at the properties he had before and after he became governor. He has bought almost all the abandoned mansions in the state and renovated them. The house he built in Benin, he built it on Ekpen Erediauwa’s land, not his own, he used the power of the governor to convert the land of Ekpen Erediauwa and built a mansion with a helipad. How would you define a man who claimed to be the advocate of the oppressed?
Look at the issue of the Benin Central Hospital, there is no need in attacking me; they should answer the questions i had raised. You brought the President to Edo State; we all know the President is a man of integrity, he brought the President of Nigeria to commission the hospital that he built when he knew that the hospital was not ready to serve the people. The hospital is still under lock and key, is that not amounting to deceiving the President of the federal republic of Nigeria?
Whether they are attacking me or not, they should provide answers to the questions i have raised. As eloquent as Oshiomhole claimed as he is, he can’t tell Nigerians how much he is worth now. The house he own in Iyamoh is worth N10bn, how did he earn such revenue to build such a house? He has another house of the same value in Benin. I have told him that he that is accusing others of insincerity should try as much as possible to be sincere.
Do you have a personal problem with Oshiomhole because at a time, you were one of his fans. How did you change from a fan to a critic?
I supported Oshiomhole when he was doing well. I supported him when he was constructing roads in Edo State and the moment he stopped working for Edo State, I drew his attention to it that he had stopped working for Edo people but his family. I don’t have a personal problem with Adams Oshiomhole. It is normal to contest elections, in the African climes, it is normal to rig someone out of election and when that happened, you work for the future.
I am known for being fair and for what I believed. At the detriment of everything, I supported Oshiomhole’s re-election in Edo State because I believed he deserved second term for what he did in his first term. I don’t regret supporting him in his first term but the second term of Oshiomhole was a fraud. Because I supported Oshiomhole in his first term does not mean that I cannot say what’s wrong in his second term.
Oshioke said you bought crackers worth thousands in 2016 after the end of the former governor’s tenure. If he did not perform very well in his second term, why did you do that?
The fact that I am criticizing Oshiomhole today does not mean that if he did something laudable tomorrow, I will not commend him. If by tomorrow the central hospital is opened and functioning, I will be the first person to congratulate him. That is why I said my problem with him is not personal. I should not be part of the conspiracy to undermine Edo people. If he is doing something that is wrong, I shouldn’t be wrong to say it. All I have told him is to give account of everything. I expected that at the end of his administration, he would publish the liabilities, assets of Edo State.
At the end of his first term, he published a document which he called “his report card!” at the second term; he didn’t do that because there was nothing to show. Everything he was doing was like working for take home.
You said you criticized his second term because he didn’t perform very well. But last time, you accused him that he was blackmailing Governor Godwin Obaseki, so this part is not about his administration.
During Oshiomhole’s administration, he made it clear to everyone that the governor of the state is the political leader of the state and we all agreed. We all agreed because when you have the governor as the leader of the state, it means the governor has the economic power, economic direction and political power. By the time you are having in a party, a governor who is just a governor and another man as a leader, what that means is godfatherirsm. How do you think the governor of the state would function well? You cannot give the governor the economic power and say he does not have the political power. Both powers are like bread and butter, one cannot go without the other. What this means is that if you say Obaseki has the economic power without political power, it means that the political leader would appoint people for him and tell him what and what not to do because the party structure is in his hands which means any time he wants to contest for another election, you can choose to support or not support him. Because he left the political power to you, you can determine his political future.
I made mentioned that he is blackmailing Obaseki by saying he wants to be the leader of the party in Edo State while when he was the governor of Edo State, he was also the political leader. If anything goes wrong in Edo State today, Obaseki will be blamed not Oshiomhole and because of that, you have to allow this governor have the political and economic power to direct the affair of the state. By the time you give him one and take the other because he has a case in court, I don’t think it is something that is right. Oshiomhole has served Edo people and now he has retired, go and enjoy your retirement and let the present governor focus and provide solution to the problem of the state. Oshiomhole is one of the people who are distracting Edo State from focusing on developing the state. They should allow the governor the political and economic state to exhibit the manifesto. This time, I supported Godwin Obaseki to be governor and not Oshiomhole and as a matter of that, I urge everyone in the state, including Oshiomhole to allow the governor to do his job so that we could judge him tomorrow.
The governor is a man who has been able to build a business empire for himself, so he should be allowed to focus, give him the freedom to exhibit his ideas to Edo people. I have a dream to become the governor of Edo State, I need support from everyone but that does not mean that if I become the governor of the state, I should allow myself to be pushed or controlled. I bought into the ideas of no godfatherism in Edo state which was sold by Oshiomhole. Then I saw Oshiomhole as a man with many ideas, a man who brought this ideas to us. He was used to saying “let the people lead” which I still believe today. It was the ideas that attracted me to Oshiomhole but today I see him as a man who has betrayed what he preached to us.
During the governorship and House of rep primaries, i told the former governor to allow free and fair processes. Oshiomhole has the right to support anyone into elective position but that does not mean he had the right to interfere in the process or corrupt the process.
You are saying Oshiomhole is a liar?
Oshiomhole is not just a liar, he is also a betrayer. The man who would betray what he preached is a coward. I have no reason to insult him, he is a father and I cannot force Oshiomhole to support me, he is like every other voters. You cannot perpetrate illegalities because you are supporting someone. Like what is going on now, Oshiomhole cannot force me to support him to be the National Chairman of our party or the secretary of the Federation. I can choose the current chairman of the party because of his diplomatic exposure, level of education and as a former governor of the state.
When we talk about SGF, if you put Tony Momoh, Buba Galadima, and Oshiomhole down, I will support Tony Momoh or Buba Galadima than supporting Oshiomhole.
Tony Momoh is cultured, enlightened and stabilized and he does not believe in thuggery. He is a fair person. And Galadima is an upright person and a fair judge. I cannot support an Etsako man over a Benin man when an Etsako man is wrong. God knows I am straight and fair as I do not have reasons to wrong anyone and if i did, i will like to apologise.
You dragged APC to court in the last House of Reps election, why?
In the last House of Reps election, I went to court to challenge the process because it was compromised. Our party constitution stipulates that you have to use 26 delegates per ward for an election but there was a compromise. The compromise was that they reduced the delegates from 26 to 12 which mean that the delegates removed were more than the delegates that voted and constitutionally, it was wrong. I went to the appeal of our party and challenged it and the party agreed that the process was wrong but since the time frame was too short and there was nothing they could do, the solution could have been to cancel and reorganize it but they said there was no time to do that, so they continued. My opponent supported the idea because it was in his favour, so I had to approach the court because if I allowed it go, it could happen again to someone else other than me.
On the attack on you at the Benin airport, there were many people who made phone calls that day, why did you accuse the deputy governor; did you hear him tell anyone to attack you?
I was at the airport in Abuja to Benin, at the airport I met the deputy governor at the VIP lounge. When I saw him, I sat down with a friend of mine. the attendant at the VIP lounge came to us that the deputy governor asked us to leave as it is met for deputy governors, governors, ministers are the rest. My friend answered that he is a member of the order of the Niger and he is entitled to sit there and moreover it is not for free, we paid N3000 each per person.
The girl later apologised that it was not her doings that the deputy governor of Edo State instructed her to. Later we all went to board the plane and landed in Benin. My friend is entitled to come out of the protocol side of the airport, we were behind the deputy governor in Benin airport and I heard him shouting, giving the order to those who came to the airport not to allow us pass through the protocol side of the airport.
I told my friend to let us use the passengers exit for peace sake and my friend said no, as he is entitled too. I pleaded with him to let us use the other exit and that was how we went through the passengers side. Philip Shaiubu orderly was behind us and I didn’t see them as going that far with politics to attack me.
Immediately we were coming out of the exit, we were attacked. The thugs were shouting, “fight him, beat him, kill him”. I didn’t give in easily. Their intention was to kidnap me as they were shouting to bring the car closer to throw me in. The luck I had was that the Delta State police commissioner was on the same flight. He saw everything and Philip Shaiubu was still there. That was when the Commissioner came to the passenger’s side to rescue the situation.
When this was happening, the deputy governor’s security was positioned at strategic positions and the police at the airport did not make any effort to stop the attack. It was the commissioner of police, Delta state and his men who came shooting teargas. Everybody became alert and the boys started running. This time, the police had already locked the airport so the boys could not escape. Philip Shaiubu convoy drove close to the airport, the security refused to open the door. The deputy governor and his security forced them to open the door and the boys escaped after arresting 3 of them.
The Delta CP called the Edo State CP and asked us to go to his office. The CP gave the 3 arrested suspects to the airport DPO. When we got to the Edo State CP’s police, the deputy governor Chief of Staff was waiting for us there, his Chief Press Secretary and a few officers from the government house were there. I explained everything to the commissioner and he questioned the suspects and they all said different stories. One of them said he was invited to welcome the deputy governor and he worked with a boy called Shaba and it was Shaba who told them to welcome the deputy governor at the airport.
As he was saying that, the Chief of Staff shouted at him “why are you afraid, you went to the airport for anything, why are you talking like that!” So the commissioner knew everything and he promised he would get to the root of it. He directed us to meet his deputy Commissioner. The same boy who had confessed that they came to welcome the deputy governor at the airport changed his statement that he went there to buy ticket. Another police officer challenged him reminding him of what he had said before. The government officials were still there and they were guiding the boys not to say anything that would indict the deputy governor.
While we were receiving treatment at the hospital on the order of the DCP, we heard the government officials had taken the boys away on bail saying that the offence was bail-able. In a situation like that where attackers are taken on bail by the office of the deputy governor, any sane person should be able to put one or two things together.
After the issue happened, I heard thugs are still looking for me. Some armed boys came to my house in Abuja who are claiming to be police. How can police, after knowing what happened, come to my house? They had gone to my house in Fuga, Abuja and in Benin and when they are asked questions; they would claim they are police.
So far, what is the outcome of the investigation?
The police claimed they are investigating the issue; they have not been able to come up with anything. I am sure they are scared of the deputy governor and it has been realized that Oshiomhole is also part of the plan.
Today, Benin is under siege, anyone who is not in support of the deputy governor and Oshiohole is in trouble. Edo state is gradually sliding into a situation where you cannot comment on issues without being harassed.