Mr. Matthew Iduoiriyemwen, an aspirant for the 2016 governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was a former leader of the Edo State House of Assembly and lately a representative of the state on the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. In this interview he reviews issues ahead of the decisive 2016 polls and national issues. Excerpts:
Given that your party has zoned the governorship position to Edo South does that give you an edge in the contest for the ticket?
The party hasn’t formally told us of the zoning. There are so many aspirants in the field and as I have always said, it is nice and proper for everybody to aspire. The most important thing is that who is that person that can deliver the election to the party? Who is that person that can make the election easier for the party to claim back the seat of governance in this state? Who is that person that the electorate will feel more comfortable with electing him to govern the state?
What are those things that you think make a candidate acceptable?Who is that person that will best represent us against the opposing parties knowing that one of the major parties that we are going to fight against is the incumbent party not just at the state but at the federal level as it is. So, saying whether I think I will be the favourite, I honestly know that I have all it takes to win the primaries but it is not time yet.
Anybody who is in the party right now is a party man. And once you are a party man, loyalty to the party comes first. I did primaries in this party before I didn’t win but I have remained in the party till today. And watch the results of the elections in all the places that I have influence it was clear that I didn’t lose. When I say somebody is a loyal party man I know you are interpreting it that somebody decamped and returned to the party.
Those things do not really bother me. If at the end of the day in the opinion of party members they see that any of the people who have shown interest emerges and the process is not transparent, can you stop the people from getting angry? But if the process is free and fair and anybody emerges, then every other person will say ‘no, in the circumstance there is nothing anybody would have done this person would have won.
The normal thing is let us work with the person’. But in a situation where the thing is skewed in favour of someone, maybe right from the choice of delegates, and it is manipulated, off- course, you know it will take you so much effort trying to pacify and calm nerves.
What is your take on the bid by former Governor Samuel Ogbemudia to produce a credible successor to Governor Oshiomhole?
First and foremost, that is is very undemocratic. For instance you are searching for a successor for Oshiomhole, then under what platform, and which of the parties?
He (Ogbemudia) is a leader of the PDP. Is he looking for a successor for Oshiomhole in PDP or APC?
Search for a successor
You know it is impossible to come out and say we want to have a consensus as to who will be a governor in party politics. Assuming somebody is coming out from PDP, will that make the APC not to contest the elections? He is our father, we have respect for him, well he has his own opinion, I myself, I do go to him when I need some political wisdom, but I don’t understand the basis of which he is looking for a successor.
I don’t know which of the parties has mandated him, except he wants to form a new political party. That is something that is new to me.
What is your view about the plans by the Buhari administration to probe the Jonathan regime?
There is nothing wrong in probe itself, what is wrong is when it becomes witch hunting. If President Buhari chooses to probe, yes it is a democratic regime but he has to look at the books since 1999. There has been a lot of maladministration; there have been a lot of corruption, a lot of stealing of public funds.
Let him extend it to 1999 and leave out the pre-1999 era, then one will support, but to just say now, because you want to discredit Jonathan administration by probing, of course they are the ones in government, anything they say will come to the people, because right now they are finding it difficult to start.
By Gabriel Enogholase, VANGUARD