How Ikimi created problems for Oshiomhole — Idahosa
The name Charles Idahosa, the son of Akakasiaka, rings bell in the politics of Edo State. The journalist— turned-politician is the only man who challenged Governor Adams Oshiomhole in the governorship primaries of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN, now APC) in 2007.
After the emergence of Oshiomhole as the party’s flag bearer, he became the Political Adviser to the Comrade Governor, a position he occupies since that time. As he clocks 61 today, he bared his mind on some political issues in the country and Edo in particular.
How do you feel at 61?
At 61 I don’t feel any different, I feel the same way I felt when I was very much younger in my 20s; it is just that some things you used to do have slowed down. I used to stay out late but now I don’t enjoy night outings anymore, I just stay till ten or eleven and I am home.
But it is still the same. I feel healthy, we thank God, but that energy of being on for 24 hours, you can’t afford that now. You need more rest now and the grand children are coming in, so I just enjoy hanging out with them and having fun. I still have the same fun and the same good friends.
Edo APC experienced some troubles recently when some leaders defected to the PDP. Do you think the coming primaries will not further split the party?
There will be no problem in the APC primaries. You just saw what happened in Adamawa, that was a test run of what to expect. The guidelines for choosing National Assembly members, governors and others are out.
We are going to follow the guidelines, but the Constitution of APC also recommends consensus. What consensus means is that if we all agree on a particular candidate, it is okay. In a situation where we don’t agree, we go for congress.
The best candidate is going to win. There will be no imposition. You saw what the Comrade Governor did during the congresses. What people must put at the back of their minds is that there are people who are just losers and they cannot accept losing. You saw what happened that led to the deluge of people decamping from the APC to the PDP.
Congress took place, some people lost; they cried foul and the governor cancelled it. They did a second one, it was a repeat performance and the person who lost said he was leaving, even when his village people rejected him. However, I can assure you that in the APC, we will not impose anybody; if there is a consensus candidate in any place; we will agree on that. If there is no consensus and they say no, we go for full blown primaries.
Those who defected to the PDP are boasting of defeating the APC in the coming elections. Are you not worried?
They have the right to boast, but, honestly, I am not worried because we know these people. Most of them cannot even win election in their families, it was when Oshiomhole came that some of them who are today deceiving Jonathan that they will win Edo started winning election.
Some of them who are boasting today like super stars are always at the golf course playing golf during elections; after that, they will be crying and complaining that a godfather sent thugs to defeat them in their wards.
The PDP can never win Edo. A situation where people left due to their personal interest shows they are not for the welfare of Edo people. One of them said he left because he wanted to control his area, the other said they didn’t make him National Chairman of APC, I don’t know how that one affects the work on ground. I sympathize with a lot of our people who don’t have an idea of what is going on. The PDP is even worse off now.
There are three different blocs. I was watching Tom Ikimi’s arrival the other day to Benin on television, I could see APC bloc inside PDP. The people that spoke are all APC decampees from APC. So, PDP has a problem already. Osagie Ize-Iyamu made a powerful speech in Ikimi’s house and one Mrs. Omokhodion. I could not see any strong leader in the PDP that they joined that was there. So, they have moved into PDP as a bloc and they are going to remain there as a bloc.
Those people they met in the house there who have been suffering now and these just came after enjoying this side and went there. The original PDP members are waiting, they are not fools . So there is going to be an implosion. Look at the people at the House of Assembly at Ring Road, nine of them, fooling themselves from morning till night.
You are sitting down there, what they are saying have no meaning to anybody. You sit down there talking rubbish from morning till night to summon a Commissioner, the Commissioner said who are you summoning? Yet you keep fooling yourself. It is unfortunate because they are betraying the people that sent them there.
But judgment day is February. I cannot predict accurately, if we go less than we did in the last elections, then I am no longer a politician. We are going to beat them black and blue.
The people that will vote are not card carrying members of any political party. If Charles Idahosa as a leader of Uhunmwonde decamps tomorrow, I can assure you that my people will not go with me if I am not decamping because of their problem.
How can you tell people because they didn’t make you National Chairman you are leaving? That is rubbish. Meanwhile Ikimi is the godfather of imposition. All the problems Oshiomhole is encountering today were caused by Ikimi. The last congress we did in Edo, it was war.
Ikimi wanted to impose people everywhere. I personally clashed with him on two or three occasions in some of our meetings. He put Adams Oshiomhole in such a tight corner; the problem we are having around Esan is tagged around him because he believed that anything that has to do with that area must be zoned to him.
He insisted in this last congress that Modino Emovon must not be state Woman Leader. We resisted; at the end of the day, Ikimi prevailed on Oshiomhole to pick somebody else. We even appealed to the old woman to go and beg Ikimi.
That is the daughter of one of the highest and most respectable chiefs in this town; the Arala of Benin kingdom. We convinced her and she went. Do you know she was standing by the gate of Ikimi and Ikimi drove past her? The state Woman Leader of the party? That congress would have been a disaster if not for the wisdom of Governor Oshiomhole.
He was caged by Ikimi and because Oshiomhole wanted to respect him, the governor was helpless. Modino walked out of the congress because of what Ikimi did. That is why some of us were laughing when he was lamenting that Tinubu manipulated the congress that brought Oyegun. He drove Imsansuagbo out of APC, now he is going to meet Imasuagbo there with all the people he drove out.
Oshiomhole did not sleep after the congress due to the problems created by Ikimi; meanwhile Ikimi was sleeping peacefully in his house. The governor was over protective of him and that made him feel like a super star. Now he is crying that because he did not get the national chairmanship of APC, he left, but they don’t know the implication.
But we are very happy that it happened this way. If Ikimi had defeated Oyegun, Oyegun would not have left. Oyegun rose through the system to become a federal Permanent Secretary and the first elected civilian governor of Edo; who is Ikimi to compare himself with Oyegun? Ikimi has never run for any election in his life.
I saw it in one of his interviews, abusing Tinubu, talking about Otedola, but he forgot that Lucky Igbinedion, his candidate, lost to Oyegun. He did not make that example. How he feels that he is superior to Oyegun I don’t understand because he became a mouthpiece for one of the most useless military governments in this country.
When you become a minister under a military regime, I don’t recognize you as a minister, I don’t see you as important because anybody can be anything under a military regime. So it means nothing.
‘Ikimi’s outburst has political implication in Edo’
But the implication is for the politics of Edo and we have recorded it; at the appropriate time, we will unleash it. When there were two political parties in this country; Anenih and Tom Ikimi were national chairmen.
The Binis who constitute over 60 percent of the population we didn’t quarrel. He is angry now that for the first time a Bini man is the National Chairman.
I saw him on television; he said he has come to join his brother Anenih’. We will see. Because a Bini man became a National Chairman, you have gone to meet your Esan brother, we are here, we have the population. We know the script they are trying to do to reduce our population. Prince Edun Akenzua already raised the alarm.
So we are waiting, he doesn’t know the war he has started. I don’t know the pedestal he can compare himself with Oyegun. Because you served under a military administration, you think other people are not human beings.
So Bini people have become something people can toy with. APC is even happy he left because we know how much it usually costs us to win his unit for him in Igueben. As long as we are concerned, Ikimi is a political light weight in Edo and he will lose his unit on the day of election. I can bet that.