Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former Minister of Works (State) in this interview speaks about his governorship ambition in the forthcoming election in Edo State. MUYIWA OYINLOLA met him.
The governorship race has since begun and you’re just showing up. Why are you a late starter?
I am never late, by my character I am always on time but in this particular case there was a superior directive asking that all aspirants should give time for the governor to carry out his statutory responsibilities in terms of governance. So after the last general elections, sometime in May, we were all invited to the government house where the governor pleaded with the aspirants not to heat up the polity, to give him an environment to work. In compliance with that I shut down my office and subsequently went back to my love which is engineering consulting.
I waited; I remember when he said probably during his 7th anniversary he would make a statement but those are all history now and since the big boss gave that directive, I have complied and I think this is the appropriate time now to go to the field, that is why yesterday I commenced my real consultation with the people of Owan West, Owan East and Akoko-Edo and today I will be visiting our brothers of the Etsakor.
Do you think that the acceptance you are receiving will actually translate to vote with the delegates you have consulted with so far?
From what happened yesterday, I give thanks to God, it is not my making but it is the way God decreed it. That was my first time of getting to Igarra and the triumphant entry into Igarra is something I will not forget quickly; the way we were received at Sabogida-Ora, Afuze, all these I owe it to my creator that gave me life, that makes me to be humble, that makes me to have this zero tolerance for corruption.
What I saw yesterday, if I am to live my life again I will stick to these my core values of humility, hard work, respect to fellow human being, love and help when you are placed in a good position. What I keep on hearing yesterday when you where in NNPC, when you where in NAPPIMS. I marked a man at Igarra who said even as a minister how I helped. All these I have forgotten but it keeps on reverberating, oh you helped me when you where in either NAPPIMS or NPDC or NGC or even as Minister.
I keep on just praising God, at a point yesterday, I was almost crying. I thanked God that what I sowed now I am reaping it. I left NAPPIMS in 2003 almost 13 years, people are telling me you did this for me, my brother the lessons from these is whichever position you are placed, render service to your people and that is what I advise the younger ones who are now holding public offices, don’t neglect your people because a time like this will come when your people will say yes they will score you and what I saw yesterday is like giving a man eight or nine over ten.
People say Oshiomhole has anointed a candidate and as such so many people are being whipped into line to support the governor’s candidate and others are being suppressed to abandon their ambition. Have you also been called to abandon your ambition?
Nigerians do so much of rumour mongering. I have known the Comrade Governor for a long time. Let me tell you, for example I was with this man three weeks ago, we sat on the same sofa, he didn’t tell me Chris step down for anybody. We talked, we are friends and brothers. I respect him as a governor, I respect people, you know I don’t fear anybody, I respect people, I respect the Comrade Governor, we sat, we discussed. I went to him and say Your Excellency, I hear you have a preference for somebody which is allowed, if you have four, five or six kids, you have a preferred child though you don’t show it to the others.
I asked the Governor, ‘I heard you have a preferred candidate and he said yes Chris, I said why don’t you make me equally your second preferred candidate, he told me he would consider it. This is purely politics. The man has the right to have preferred candidate; yes all I did was just to go to him and plead my cause to him, we have been friends since 2007, equally check me out, try me, don’t just have one, have two preferred candidates.
He said he is considering it and as I am here now campaigning, I am sure he is watching me, he is listening and I will never speak ill of the governor because he has done well and we are brothers.
When I heard that word ‘anointed’, I never believed it and I don’t want to believe it because comrade Oshiomhole popularised the one-man-one vote mantra because before his coming the issue of godfatherism was invoke in Edo State. Since he fought it, he fought against it few years ago, I think it will be too early for him to change his dancing steps. He is dancing well now and I am sure he wants to dance well till November so that his legacy, we will all be praising his legacy when he is out of office.
Don’t forget people will not talk of him now until when he leaves office.
So I pray for Oshiomhole everyday for him to leave a wonderful legacy and one of the legacies he should leave in this state is that his name will be in gold, diamond, if he sustain this one-man-one vote mantra and I pray he should be strengthened to ensure there is a free and fair primaries because that will be what will determine Oshiomhole name, I pray he will not derail, I pray for him every day, I pray he should be like a father to all the aspirants and let the best candidate emerge, if he does that my brother because he has done well as a Governor by building infrastructure, Schools etc and if he crowns his legacy by allowing a free and fair primary, the best candidate to emerge as our governor, my brother, Oshiomhole will be a man we will all respect today and till tomorrow.
If you are nominated and elected as a Governor of Edo State, what are the 3 major key areas you are going to tackle in the first one year in office?
My brother you know my background as a civil servant, I am so proud I went into the public service; I later into government, I am now in politics.
The question is what are my party’s vision, the APC?
I have studied our manifesto and the first priority in the manifesto is job creating. Our party at the centre harps at creating three million jobs in a year. My first assignment, my priority in Edo State where unemployment is at the region of 65% today, I will tackle job creation to take the youths out of the streets. So I will try to industrialise Edo State (industries) and as I am touring now we have carried out a feasibility study of the various natural resources in every of the LGAs and I am calling on my friends who are all investors to come to Edo State.
Priority number one will be job creation vis-a-vis security; priority number two education; I want to educate the people not just to have a degree but to educate their minds for them to be aware of who they are because once you are educated no one can undermine you.
You certainly will know your rights so I will face education in terms of people knowing who they are, in terms of awareness, in terms of having skills, I will look into the curriculum of the Schools today and see how we can integrate entrepreneurship studies, to be an entrepreneur that is when you graduate, you have the capacity to be on your own with government giving you some funding, loan.
Number two will be education; number three I will have to look at is the health sector, my brother, I am pained with the capital flight when people go to India, I know that is more of the federal, but I am going to have a good tile with the centre as a governor, I will speak to the federal, I will encourage my State to look inwards in terms of health care delivery services, my major take is preventive health care. I realise many of the ailments can be tackled at the preventive stages. So my three major priorities will be job creation through industrializing the State, education and health sectors.
You asked me three key areas I would like to focuse on, but don’t forget I have a Nine Point Cardinal Agenda in my manifesto, but the first three is what I just mentioned to you now, because one other area I will like to take as major if you ask me is the rural-urban migration, I want to equally tackle it, the rate of influx into the city and the villages are now been deserted, thereby creating the crisis of boundary dispute. It is a major crisis as we speak.
Culled from: http://leadership.ng/news/511481/oshiomhole-may-candidate-im-no-pushover-ogiemwonyi