Victor Edoror is the Deputy Speaker Edo State House of Assembly. The political dynamics in Edo politics favour him as Speaker of the 7th Assembly. In this interview with Hallmark’s ISESELE EZEKIEL, he says that the Peoples Democratic Party has been caged in Edo. Excerpts:
Sir, you were able to stage a comeback to the state House of Assembly despite all the odds in a constituency where you have nearly all the PDP stalwarts?
Well, the glory goes to God. First of all, the truth is that even when the glory goes to God, ultimately God doesn’t come down, God uses people to achieve whatever they want to achieve and politics of these days, I don’t think it is no longer dependent on party. It is the individual that matters in the election.
I contested under the PDP before, PDP won, I contested under APC now, APC won. The truth is if you ask me to assessEsan Central now, APC is more but the truth is that, the person contesting election is a factor. When I contested the election I got all the votes from both the PDP and the APC. Even in this election both PDP and APC voted for me that was because I have been able to demonstrate in Edo Central what is not likely unrealizable.
For instance, over the years the members that represent Esan Central have not been able to provide dividends of democracy. I can mention names, David Iyoha was there for eight years and he became a Speaker. I challenge him, I cannot lay hands on structure or any dividends of democracy he was able to attract to the people. Apart from that, the man I contested with, Sunday Ereghan. He was there for three and half years, he could not do anything in his home town, Ebudin not to talk of other areas.
I have been there for about three and half years now and I can boast of it, that no ward, apart from what I have attracted from government, to the local government, I have personally used my constituency project to do so many things in the local government.
I can name them even in Ebudin where my opponent came from. I never knew he will be my opponent, if he goes home now; the water he drinks, the water he uses to bath is from the borehole I provided for them.
So, I told him from the beginning that if he wins me in his village I will resign from politics and I made sure that I defeated him all round. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of things I have done, apart from the work I have given to people.As I speak now I have more than two hundred people I paystipend every month. We have 56 villages in Esan Central.
I equally organize yearly football tournament for the youths every year. I do not take my salary alone, I share it with widows, and I reach out to them in the various wards that made up my constituency. Infact to my people they have never seen it like this before; they never believed it is possible.
As I speak to you the state government drilling rigs have since been deployed to Edo Central for almost three months now, we are doing a lot of borehole, not the number of schools I have been able to influence for renovation.
Are you not disturbed by the decision of your PDP opponent to challenge the outcome of the election?
Well, I don’t like to comment on that. I have not heard that, but all I know was that he has chickened out. This is not the first time I’m beating him. We were in the same party (PDP) when three of us contested for primary, but the results of the two of them put together were not up to my own. So, to me, Hon. Ereghan as a person is highly inconsequential, it is even PDP that is a structure in Esan land, if he is going to court I know I will defeat him, the facts are there. We were not in charge of police, we were not in charge of soldiers, and they used both. It came to a time I had to come out because, one Senator Odia, the senator-elect, who is from the same ward with me was parading himself with soldiers and intimidating people. I wanted to die with him and the soldiers and when the soldiers had my points and discovered they were cogent, they advised him to go back to his own polling unit.
They had a lot of money but we were resolute. We needed the wind of change blowing in Nigeria to be replicated in Esan Central. We cannot disconnect ourselves from the national grid this time. If with what we have done at the state level, we have the federal government to complement it, the sky will be my limit. We have a lot of problem in Esan Central, ranging from erosion menace in Ewu. I have shouted many times, the ministry of environment has come, the minister of works, Arch Onolemenmen, Engr. Odia have come out to look at it, they have come out with bills of quantity. We even heard money have been disbursed and they diverted it, but now that we are in government we are going to investigate it and make sure that anybody whose hand is soiled will go in for it. We have the Ibore erosion gully which has taken a lot of houses and lives. So, our people are in dire need of serious transformation and this is what we are committed to put in place. But if my opponent is shouting, he is shouting where there is no wolf.
The 6thAssembly ended in chaos, now that the opposition has a fewer number what are we expecting from the 7thAssembly?
The truth of the matter is that the opposition has been grossly insignificant as far as the legislative business of Edo state is concerned. This is coupled with the fact that the developmental strides of Oshiomhole have overwhelmed the people of Edo state. Even when wecame from the PDP, we were just about five, but this time around it has been reduced to three.
You can recall when I was kidnapped as a serving PDP member in this state, they did as if I was not relevant and that was what informed my moving from the party to the APC where I am today. But I have been able to prove to them that I am not a push over, I am not a political liability but rather that I am an asset politically to any party that I belong to.But since one man’s meat is another man’s poison, they rejected me and I was embraced byOshiomhole, especially when I was even in PDP it was difficult to campaign with the name PDP because it was already dented with serious economic misconduct.
In Edo Central we have pushedPDP into two local governments and if not for the fraud perpetrated by Chief Tony Anenih,Uromi is not supposedhave two constituencies. But that notwithstanding the PDP has three members in the House and I don’t think there is anything hidden in Edo House of Assembly. Even we the APC in the House will not condone misconduct, we will not encourage financial misappropriation and we will not encourage anything that will bring the House to disrepute. So, we can be opposition to ourselves, if we see anything that is bad in the state is being done. So, we are not disturbed about their members and above all I think this government is an equity seeker.
With APC having overwhelming majority, political analysts have projected a rubber stamp Assembly?
Whether the House is strictly divided or one, what is important is that they are checkmating the government. If the government has not done anything to be checkmated, do you now because you are serve as check to the government you now begin to fight the system. In fact,Oshiomhole is like Mr. Know All, the man is prudent with spending; secondly he is not embezzling resources as far as we know and the man is working.
I think all that Oshiomhole needs is commendation, vote of confidence and we cannot be seen given him votes of commendation all the time without nothing. Even when we have twenty 20 PDP in the House, they still cannot do the man anything. The truth is that because of the frustration that is seen in the leadership of PDP now because they have been disconnected from the national grid, and they were thinking of holding their gripon the state where they can feed from because a lot of them don’t have means of livelihood. But we are telling them that those of them who are old enough to be ‘Odionwere’ in their own communities should better go home for the title, being the highest title in the village, outside that I think they have no business being in politics any longer.