From Tony Osauzo, Benin

The former political adviser to ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Charles Idahosa, has explained why Sen. Matthew Uroghide was denied the senatorial ticket of the then Action Congress (AC) in 2011, saying that the action was taken to safeguard the interest of Edo South (Benin) which he said was being subjugated by politicians, not from the area.

Idahosa, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one of the leaders of the party estranged with Governor Godwin Obaseki, stated this while reacting to the public apology tendered by former governor of the state, Sen Adams Oshiomhole last week to Sen. Uroghide when he and others were formally received back into the APC, a gesture he said was commendable.

Idahosa also commended the appointment of Uroghide as the Director General of the Edo State APC Campaign Council.

“I congratulate Oshiomhole for doing that and I congratulate Uroghide too for his maturity and magnanimity, he is back in the APC even though he was a founding member and I congratulate him for his new appointment as the DG of the APC campaign council.

“I was the political adviser to Adams Oshiomhole at that time and I take responsibility for advising him, I don’t know if other people did but I advised him and I mounted pressure on him but I did that as a matter of exigency.

“At that time, the state government was being treated like an inconsequential institution. The late Tony Anenih was a very strong man in the politics of Edo State, he was holding sway as the PDP National Leader. We in AC then just came in, Oshiomhole was in his first tenure and it was time to appoint an NDDC commissioner. It was not that we didn’t like Uroghide or that there was something extraordinary about Uzamere”.

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Idahosa while expatiating on the politics of appointing NDDC Commissioner for Edo State, said “The PDP had already won everything in the state before the court gave Oshiomhole victory so we had no single member of the AC in the National Assembly and when Adams Oshiomhole nominated a Benin indigene from the oil-producing area to become the NDDC commissioner, an instruction was passed by Chief Anenih that he should not be cleared.

“The rules and regulation then was that any House of Rep member or any senator from that state or especially the district where the nominee comes from, if he is not supported by that district, either the senator or a member of the House of Representatives, the nominee should be disqualified automatically and the PDP had a candidate for the NDDC commissioner as well.

“The name we sent there was rejected, late Nosa Omorodion. I have been fighting at the time that political actors not from Edo South should not be deciding for us what we will do, I spoke to Sen. Uzamere on why this thing must not happen, I urged him to stand up and support the candidate because it is the duty of the state governor to nominate representative for NDDC and nobody can choose for us.

“There was a lot of pressure then, I even spoke to Sen Ugbesia and he said that was the rule, I put pressure on Uzamere and he said he would dare Chief Anenih, I also put pressure on Samson Osagie and at the end of the day, Uzamere defied Chief Anenih and the PDP leadership and supported our candidate it was the same for Samson Osagie and that caught the wrath of Chief Anenih and the PDP hierarchy in Abuja.

“Uzamere called me late in the night and he met with Chief Anenih and in a very heated argument he told him that ‘you have just gambled away your second term ticket’, I advised him to come to the AC and we will give him the ticket. Uroghide was waiting in the wings because he had always wanted to go to the Senate. I worked on Adams Oshiomhole and convinced him that it was a fight for the Benin interest, I was able to mount pressure on Oshiomhole, naturally, Uroghide was very enraged but it was a fight for the Benin interest.

“We did the same for Samson Osagie, the local government chairman, late Obaze who was the chairman of my own local government was the first to decamp to us in the AC with a promise to be given the ticket to the House of Representatives but he became a victim himself because we now zeroed in on Samson Osagie to decamp to us we will send him back so that we can send this strong message that nobody should dictate to us what to do and then the integrity of the governor will still be intact. We didn’t do it to spite late Obaze or Uroghide and as God will have it, he eventually still went to the Senate and did two terms and he has done very well, he is one of the most visible Senators we have ever produced,” Idahosa stated.