A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Comrade Peter Esele, is happy over the party’s victory in the governorship election. He spoke with LEKE SALAUDEEN about its implications, the peoples’ expectation from the governor-elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and other partisan issues.
What is your reaction to the APC victory at the poll?
I feel happy that our party won the governorship election. It is our hope and expectation that the governor-elect, Mr Godwin Obaseki will build and consolidate on what Governor Adams Oshiomhole has achieved in the last eight years and also take us to a new direction in consonance with signs of the time.
What would you attribute to the party’s victory?
I will attribute the APC’s victory to what the governor has done in the last eight years. He’s living the state better than he met it. The election was a referendum on Oshiomhole’s performance and the result is the election of Obaseki. In appreciation of the governor’s performance, the Edo people voted APC candidate to succeed him in office. The victory of APC is an expression of support for President Muhammau Buhari ‘s administration, and his efforts in tackling the economic problems in the country. In spite of the economic hardship which is not APC making, people still belive in Buhari’s leadership; that he will take us out of the economic recession soon.
Are you satisfied with the vote margin between the APC and the PDP?
I am satisfied with the vote difference because the election was competitive. When you have a political party in power for eight years, some will say let’s try another party. That is what democracy is all about; freedom of choice and freedom to make decision to make the choice. The election poll results show how much love the Edo people have for APC. I like it; it was highly competitive. It also tells you our democracy is growing. People ask questions, cross check from available data before they arrive at their decision.
You should remember that PDP has two senators in Edo and more members in the House of Representatives. APC has done a good job in the state and that is why the people like the party and elected APC candidate to rule the state for another four years.
Would the APC have won, if the election was held on September 3 as earlier scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)?
Yes, the APC would still have won may be with wider margin. The postponement became necessary in view of the fact that the election coincided with the West African Examination Council (WAEC) time table for Mathematics. WAEC had drawn its time table months ahead. It was expected that INEC should have taken into consideration the WAEC exam time table before fixing the election date. For students to miss writing WAEC exam is one year loss because the exam holds once in a year while election could be held any time in the year. I had expected political leaders in the state to call for the postponement like Governor Oshiomhole did when he said Edo people valued education and the election must be postponed. The fact that it coincided with WAEC exam is enough justification for the postponement.
What is your reaction to the PDP allegation that INEC connived with the APC to rig the election?
The burden is with PDP to prove the connivance. I voted in my unit which was won by APC; it also won in my ward. Nobody has ever lost election in this country and accept defeat except former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi. However, I commend the PDP governorship candidate Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for directing his supporters not to take to violence in protesting the results; that he would explore judicial process in seeking redress. To me that is commendable. Why should people go out and destroy public or private property to express their anger when the court is there to seek justice?
Do you think Obaseki will sustain the tempo of Oshiomhole’s achievements in Edo State?
Yes he will. He has the capacity and skill to sustain the developmental agenda of Oshiomhole’s administration. There is no doubt in my mind that with the support of the party members and the people of Edo State, Obaseki will take the state to next level.
How would you advise the governor-elect, if he must make an impact on the people of Edo?
He should hit the ground running. He should concentrate on the programmes he promised the electorate during the campaign. He should not be distracted by proposals from friends, classmates, and family friends suggesting programmes for him; rather, he should implement his own programmes.
I have friends who were governors across the country. When they got to office, they jettisoned their own programme for the proposals put forward by their cronies. They regretted after leaving office because they failed to implement their programmes. Obaseki should start implementing his programmes right from day one in office. He should not allow himself to be driven by power mongers. His dream for the state must be the pillar on which his developmental programmes will rest on. The buck stop on his table as governor of Edo State; he would be held responsible and accountable for whatever happened during his tenure in the state.
Observers say the governor-elect may not have a free hand to rule the state. What is your reaction?
Let the observers continue to observe. They should wait until he starts governing before we know if his hands are free or tied to his back. We should not speculate; it is too early.
What is your advice to the PDP supporters protesting the governorship election results?
They should accept the results. If they have any misgiving over the result, they should go to court and prove their case. Once INEC has declared results only the court can do otherwise. Edo state is peaceful. We should not kill ourselves or destroy properties over election results. Those who are not satisfied with the results should go to the tribunal to seek justice.
Obaseki has ruled out the opposition in his cabinet. Do you think it’s a right decision?
He is the person elected by Edo people. He has the right to constitute his cabinet. It is his prerogative to include opposition and if he decides to exclude them in his government there is nothing wrong in that. He should be allowed to take decision on whatever he believes will make governance easy and smooth for him.
What’s your advice for the Edo people, ahead of the new regime?
The Edo people should be patient, pray for governor-elect and his deputy. They should play their role as members of the civil society. Whatever they feel about his government, they should not hesitate to express themselves.
Source : ThenationonlineThenationonline