Hon. Dennis Idahosa, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was Edo State Commissioner for Investment, Public/Private Partnership and Other Related Matters during former Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s administration. In this interview, he speaks on his ambition to run for Ovia Federal Constituency seat in the 2019 general elections, the party’s congresses and the anti-corruption war, among other issues. CAJETAN MMUTA reports
There is this notion that politicians have refused to leave the space for the youth, but as a young man, you have been able to penetrate the political class. What is your advice to to young people who may be interested in politics?
It is all by his grace and the fact that I met someone who happens to be a great leader in the person of Adams Oshiomhole. He gave a lot of opportunity to most youths to excel in politics as a governor.
This is the area where most politicians have failed. I was extremely fortunate. However, my message to the youths is for them to get involved; participate in grassroots politics because they have to grow from bottom to the top. They must not quit; they must and should remain consistent.
There have been pockets of protests and crises over the recent ward, local government and state congresses of All Progressives Congress in some states…
I strongly believe that the wards and local government congresses in Edo State were peaceful. There was a consensus before going to the field and we all agreed on the consensus and everything has been going smoothly but there was a little bit of misunderstanding here and there from the local government congresses but we have resolved these within the various local governments.
Thank God we have good leadership from the state that was able to interfere to be able to resolve it and everybody is okay, so far I have not heard anything in the negative about the congress.
The great thing is that there was a week interval to resolve any dispute prior to the other weeks for the local government and now the state congress. As far as I am concerned the congresses have been so successful and for the state congress we have all agreed that certain people should be returned because of their excellent work and by the grace of God we will ensure that everything is successful.
Why do you think that the APC congress in Edo State is different from other states, which congresses were marred by violence and parallel congresses?
I believe the congresses in Edo State are different because of the unity in the party in the state. There is strong leadership and oneness among members and Comrade Oshiomhole as former governor impacted so much confidence and unity among us.
So, we are emulating him to ensure that all our congresses are peaceful and by the grace of God he is back to be the national chairman of the party. So the state should be one of the best in the federation and that is the word we are using in making sure there is peace in Edo State. And so far there has not been any killings; I don’t believe there was any gunshot. Everything has been peaceful and we will continue to maintain that peace.
Ahead of the national convention of your party there is this ethnic sentiments being canvassed by some persons from Benin in the state and as a Benin man what can you make out of such development?
I believe such persons are myopic. I served with Governor Adams Oshiomhole as a commissioner in the state. I know he is extremely smart. He is a man of unity and peace, and he has this sense of carrying everybody along. So, I know as a Benin man that I will support Oshiomhole 100 per cent over Oyegun (John Odigie-Oyegun) because since Oyegun has been the national chairman, he has not brought any value to Edo State; he has not impacted on anybody.
If Comrade Oshiomhole succeeds by the grace of God as the national chairman, he will use that office to impact a lot of people including Edo citizens and there will be tremendous peace, love and unity within the state.
So, because of that I believe also and most importantly that Adams Oshiomhole has the capacity to bring members of the party together. I believe right now the party is not working, as it should be; it is so quiet and lukewarm.
So, we need somebody with vibrancy and somebody that has what it takes to ignite the passion that we need to bring the party to the best level. Based on this, as a Benin man, I will support Adams Oshiomhole; I will go for him.
As a House of Representatives aspirant for Ovia Federal Constituency, what are your plans for your constituents if you become member of the Green Chamber next year?
By the grace of God, we still have time for a couple of months from now and if God gives me the opportunity to serve and giving me the ticket, I believe I will do a lot. You notice there have been a lot of important sittings in the Green Chamber and the incumbent would not be seen; in very important deliberations she was not there, she is busy travelling all over the countries doing her personal business.
Though I respect her as a woman but I believe she is incompetent. So, I am going to do things completely different and the people of Ovia will witness a vibrant and good representation.
Why are you so sure that your party, APC will win in Ovia knowing the strength of the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the present occupant of the position you wish to go for?
By the grace of God we have done an independent survey and it shows that the PDP has only 29 per cent and APC has 31 per cent and we will continue to build on that. There is no opposition in Ovia as far as I am concerned; we re going to win them out rightly and we will continue to unite our party, strengthen areas of weaknesses and come 2019 we will not only win in Ovia Federal Constituency, we will also win across the state.
We are not losing any sleep and by the grace of God with the support of good Nigerian citizens, we will give President Muhammadu Buhari the second chance because he has performed excellently well as far as I am concerned.
In the areas of anti-corruption war, he has been able to attack it and if not Buhari I believe Nigeria wouldn’t have continued to be a nation by now. So, I will support and appeal to Nigerians to look at the positive side and support President Buhari.
Would you say the rich background of the present occupant of the Ovia Federal Constituency seat at the National Assembly has affected her?
I am completely different from her. I was born into a family of a farmer, born and raised up in Ovia South West where I had both my primary and secondary education; went to farm and river there. So, I have a lot of time with an average Ovia citizen.
She was born into a wealthy family; the present occupant does not know the pain of an average Ovia person, which makes me an average Ovia citizen not to be surprised by her poor representation. She has never suffered in her life; she has never worked. For me, I am going to be an effective representative; I will not rule them but serve them.