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‘I’m the Credible Alternative My People Want’
Flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress in Ovia Federal Constituency of Edo State, Dennis Idahosa, who is a former a member of the state executive council fields questions from Adibe Emenyonu on his priorities in politics which include human capital development
You have flagged off your campaigns. How has it been?
It has been wholesome. I am facing a lot of challenges because the election in Nigeria is expensive. God has helped us to reach a lot of families in my constituency. I have been able to put smiles on people’s faces. We have been able to overcome our challenges and we are gaining more momentum. I believe God has a hand in this project.
Okada elders recently endorsed your candidacy. What does that mean to you owing to the fact that it is the stronghold of your opponent?
I cherish the endorsement from Okada Odionwere and the elders in council. They were able to explain the reason I was endorsed to go to the National Assembly and replace their daughter. One was to be very active on the floor to attract a lot of development. The second one is to concentrate on human capital development and the third one is to be accessible to the electorates. In all of these, my opponent has failed. She has never moved any motion during plenary. She is not there when important issues are discussed. She has no respect for the people. My observation is that they are fed up with her. They made up their mind to vote her out of office. They have found the alternative they needed and they see me as the messiah in our constituency. I will not play politics of bitterness but I will concentrate on what will uplift the people. I pray that God brings an end to vote buying in this country so that the people can vote reliable persons into power.
Your campaign slogan is ‘liberation.’ Why did you choose it?
It started in Okada, the hometown of my opponent. The people of Okada cried out to me that their land has been taken from them. They said they have no land to build houses anymore. They said they want to be liberated. I did a forensic analysis of their cries and I asked how the land grabbing came about in Okada. They explained to me and I found out that the father of my opponent has been unfair to the Okada people. I believe that God has brought me to liberate the people of Ovia and I will not rest until it is achieved.
How much support do you get from your party?
The most important thing the party has done for me is to give me the ticket as its flag bearer. The leaders and youths have been very supportive. It is not about finance. It is the moral support that I need.
Ovia constituency is made up of farmers…
I have been able to work with various communities. I have reached out to farm camps in Ovia and I am working with the local and state government to meet up with their basic amenities. Grading of earth roads in many of the villages has commenced and it is being funded by the local government. The few camps in Okada axis I really worried about was when I saw how they are suffering. To me that was failure and we have been able to address their problems.
Are you not disturbed that the post primaries crisis may affect the APC?
Not at all. In every primary, there are bound to be little crisis but the APC family has been able to address it. We are comfortable that we will win all available seats in Edo South senatorial district. In Ovia, we are getting 73 percent.
How would you tackle unemployment?
The things I will do as a lawmaker is to focus on human capital development. There will be job opportunities for our youths. I will collaborate with both the state and local government and look at areas where opportunities are available. I am already collecting data of my supporters. I want to have a database so that after my victory, I do not need to collect their CVs anymore. I will have skills acquisition centres and support youths to learn skills. Soft loans will be made available to them after their training. The next one is women empowerment. My plan is to use 50 per cent of my salary as empowerment for the women. It will not be a loan but support for little businesses.
You are a successful businessman. Why venture into politics?
As a businessman, I was able to support people but it was not enough to carry majority of the people’s challenges and I felt that venturing into politics would give the room for more opportunities to meet their need and empower a lot of people. I am so passionate about helping people because I prayed to God when I was 11 years to bless me so that I will be a blessing to my generation.
You worked with Oshiomhole and now Obaseki is in power. How do you compare both men?
Oshiomhole is a great man and Obaseki is a wonderful man. Both of them brought the needed development to Edo. Oshiomhole is a fighter and he will do it openly. Obaseki is a silent fighter and he talks less but has vision and target for the people. Oshiomhole is one of the best governors we have seen before Obaseki.