Nseobong Okon-Ekong holds a discussion with Hon. Yekini Idiaye, representing Akoko-Edo 1 Constituency. He is the Deputy Speaker of the the Edo State House of Assembly and the former Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy. He bares his mind on how the party plans to resolve the crisis in the Edo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress
How have you been coping with the challenges of politics in Edo State despite the prevailing crisis?
By his grace, we are doing fine with the support of Governor Godwin Obaseki. Everything has been moving well.
What should the people in your constituency expect from you?
I am wearing a very big shoe. I took over from the former Speaker. I know God will see me through. In the past, nothing has been happening in Akoko-Edo especially my constituency 1. I have 11 communities without roads. There are no major road projects in my constituency. There is Somorika, Imogan, Ugboshie and many like that. I have been talking and appealing to Obaseki. He is giving me hope that something will be done. I can assure my constituents that something good is coming our way.
What would you say the crisis portends for the APC in Edo?
The tongue and teeth quarrel but it is the ability to manage it that speaks volume. There is no crisis in Edo State APC. What is happening is a family affair. At the appropriate time, we will settle and things will move ahead. If you are talking about our brothers (members-elect) that are not here. We will settle. There is no opposition party here. We are all APC members. You see what happened during the Sallah celebration when Obaseki paid a surprise visit to Oshiomhole. There is no crisis in Edo. It is about one family and something positive will come out of it. Edo State is APC and APC is Edo.
There are rumours that some of you plan to defect if Obaseki is not given a second term ticket.
I am not aware of any planned defection. There is strength in unity. I am a party man. The kind of leaders we have will come together at the appropriate time. This is a house jointly built by all the leaders led by Oshiomhole. I know Oshiomhole will not allow the house he suffered to build collapse and by His Grace it will not collapse.
Obaseki will soon be marking three years in office. Do you think he has done enough?
In terms of human development, he has done well. In infrastructural development he has done well. Look at State Civil Service, reforms in the primary schools, the judiciary and tertiary institutions. In Ekpoma, the state university, there has been on uninterrupted academic calendar. Across all sectors, the Governor has done well. Obaseki has been paying salaries and attending to the need of workers. He has performed above expectations.
Some party members say they are not supporting him because he is giving contract to outsiders and not patronising them.
I condemn such statement. The people making such statements have not been doing well. Before becoming a politician, you must have a second address. You should have something doing. Those saying Obaseki is not taking care of them have no other thing. The ones they were given before, what did they do with it? Were they able to set up businesses? They squandered what they made before. That is why some of us looked down on the so called leaders because they are not economically viable. When they had the opportunity, they misused it. I have worked in the bank for many years before joining politics. Most politicians engage in misplaced priorities. Many of those ones complaining now are old politicians. In those days when they were making money from all sources, they did not utilise the money well. Many of them made money from previous administrations. They did not invest but were building big mansions they can no longer maintain. I am advising them to have a second address. Can Obaseki share money to all Edo people? I feel sad when I hear that somebody has not been patronising politicians. If Obaseki is sharing money will he be able to pay salaries? Will he be able to do infrastructure? Politicians do not need to do what they cannot sustain economically when they are in power.
What steps are you taking to boost tourism potentials of Somorika and other places in your constituency?
Somorika is a tourist centre. If you get there, you will be amazed. We are talking to our people abroad. The reason we cannot talk about tourism sector in Somorika is because there is no access road to the place. You can only get there with motorcycle or a big car. Any small car would be finished before getting to Somorika. With the promise of Obaseki, I know the road problem will be a thing of the past in the area.
If there is no access road, how do the people get quality heath care?
We have a functioning health centre with nurses and others. We have water and electricity. The major problem is the road and that is why the place is not developing.
The PDP has said it would stage a come back to power in the state.
PDP is a dead party in Edo. They can never come back to power in Edo again. Is it because they were able to make serious in road during the presidential election? It is a dead party. I do not see the PDP coming to power in Edo again.
Will it not happen if there is sabotage on the part of APC members?
With what is happening now, the Edo APC will come together as one. By the time we come together, we will be stronger. In the next election, you will see how many votes we will bring out.
Are you talking to other members-elect yet to be inaugurated?
We are talking. We are not quarrelling. The only challenge is political differences which will not translate to enmity. There can be more aspirants but I know with the grassroots support, there is not going to be problem about a Obaseki’s second term. The National Chairman and others suffered to build this party and I don’t think anybody will allow the house to be destroyed. Oshiomhole is from Edo North and the leader of the party in Edo. He is like a father to me. I have nothing against him. He is our father. Our loyalty is for him. There is no division among the lawmakers over Oshiomhole. Our loyalty is to him. The most important thing is to win next year’s election.