I still support Oshiomhole
–Afegbua
By Our reporter
Saturday February 18, 2012
Afegbua

Recently, Prince Kassim Afegbua, IBB’s media Spokesman criticized Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over the former’s stand on the subsidy discourse, but he says that he has nothing personal against the Governor. According to him, the governor still enjoys his support for a second term in office having worked remarkably for the development of Edo State. Afegbua based his support on the fact that nobody has shown enough signs to unseat the governor because his achievements speak louder than voice. “Even though I condemned the Governor’s stance on the subsidy issue, it is not enough for me to abandon him. He has done well, and he truly deserves a second term”. He spoke to Saturday Sun, excerpts:

Criticism of Oshiomhole
There is nothing personal about my criticism of Governor Oshiomhole except that I will not behave like a typical Nigerian politician; so sycophantic and full of double speak. I can tell the governor whatever I feel like at any material time because I don’t like begging issues. From all the available facts and statistics in the state, it is evident that the governor is working. Whether you like him or not, give him that credit, but he still needs to reach out to a number of strong political forces in order to have safe landing. I appreciate the fact that the governor has the interest of the state at heart and if given another opportunity, he will improve on what he has achieved thus far.

My worry for the governor is the army of sycophants and bootlickers masquerading around him and spreading all manners of gossip and lies everywhere. I don’t think the Governor will ignore the fact that his second term will be a tough fight, given the desperation of the PDP to take over the state. He has to swallow his pride at this time and accommodate the interests of certain political forces to smoothen his political campaigns. The votes from Edo South are very critical hence he would depend on the influences of certain elements that could guarantee such electoral depth. I have a strong feeling that sometimes the governor is under a spell each time you find him in Benin. He is easily carried away by pressure of work at times. He really needs to brace up and not get carried away by the promptings of selfish political interest. I understand the choice of who becomes his deputy is already creating political fractures and cracks. That singular issue alone can make or mar him. I pray for him to succeed all the same because he graciously merits a second term.

Yes, I still believe in his capacity to deliver
Actually each time I write about people, I try as much as possible to be logical and reasonable in my presentation. I don’t get carried away by the patronizing sentiments of friendship. Yes, Governor Oshiomhole is a senior friend and my governor, it does not remove from me criticizing him if I feel pained by certain action of his. His stance on the subsidy issue was out of it for a man of his antecedents. And the talk today is that labour has gone to sleep having allegedly collected money from government while life has become difficult for the average Nigerian. I share the sentiments of some of my friends who called to express concern over my position, seeing that as rather too hard on the governor, but in the final analysis, the governor will find my open position as better than those of others who pretend to be his friends and yet will be running him down behind closed doors.

I may not have riches, but I cherish my little integrity. I don’t genuflect on issues and pretence is not in my dictionary at all. Despite my hard stance on the position of the governor, I still stated that I remain a supporter of the Governor because of his visible achievements. But you know, contractors and double dealers would not have such courage to tell the governor the home truth. He has to be conscious of his humanity and entire history as a labour man who was able to make an impact that is still being appreciated by the public. This is why I felt somewhat taken aback when I heard of his position on subsidy. I can tell you categorically, that no bad blood intended.

On IBB’s stand on quitting politics
I think, talking more seriously, General IBB deserves every commendation from any right thinking person over his decision to call it quits with partisan politics. That is the way of elder statesmen. He has seen it all and at 70 plus, the leader has just told the nation that he would no longer be pushed around as a result of any political interest. He has paid his dues. He has taken certain decisions in life that are worthy of emulation. When he “lost” the consensus slot to Atiku Abubakar in 2010, despite our initial disagreement over the entire process, he simply told us that he would behave like a civilized man by accepting the verdict of the process, no matter how painful it was to his followers. That was the hallmark of leadership from any positive thinker.

Now that he has decided to bid bye bye to partisan politics, Nigerians need to appreciate him because the country still stands to gain a lot from his wealth of experience and wisdom. Whenever you are privileged to be with this great leader, you easily become a student, because you are bound to learn new things from him. He is superbly creative and innovative. Take a roll call of all his cabinet Ministers, and you will agree with me that this great leader has finesse and class. We are hoping his son will pick interest in politics in order to exploit the political mileage of his father and gain from his reservoir of knowledge and political depth. To some of us who are his adherents and followers, we feel something amiss over his decision to quit politics, but we cannot change him, that is IBB for you. He has succeeded in setting example for the upcoming generation and it will take some time to beat that record.

State of the nation
The country is lacking good leadership. It is lacking everything. I find it rather curious that a whole Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rose to appreciate the Aviation Minister for simply doing her job. What kind of legislative recklessness was that? How can you rise to tell Nigerians that because the Minister of Aviation is doing renovation at the airports, the world of aviation should then come to an end? I think, some of these lawmakers simply lack creativity to get us on the super highway of sound developmental push. The patronizing commendation is excess luggage, to borrow aviation terms. How can you in all seriousness commend a Minister for simply doing the job for which she was recruited? I still can’t rationalize the intention. It beats my imagination.

The country is going through difficult times as we speak. We are confronted with several challenges that require pragmatic approach to solving the problems. The idea of invoking sentiments and or deploying cheap blackmail to score cheap political points is very uncivilized and crude. What the government needs to do is to identify the problem and proffer workable solutions to them. We cannot continue to rotate on the same axis year in, year out simply because we appear complacent about happenings around us. By the time the country implodes, the consequences would be too grave for anybody to contend with.

Are you going to campaign for the Edo governor?
Incidentally, the Afegbua Royal Family believes so much in the capacity of the governor to deliver on his campaign promises than anyone else. They still believe in him heavily even though the governor has not given them empowerment by way of developmental projects. On account of the general performance of the governor, I have no option than to support him for a second term in office. And my position is informed by the fact that I am both a voter and a stakeholder in Edo politics. I am very much at home with all the political hues in the state. Some people are already plotting the graph of 2016 when they have not crossed the hurdle of 2012. Truly, the governor must run away from those petty gossips who mass around him every day.

The fact that some of us are sticking out our necks to say things the way they are does not mean we don’t have the interest of the governor at heart. I don’t have any apology to render anyone if I decide to turn a new leaf in terms of support. But talking sincerely, the man deserves a second term in office, but as I said, he needs to balance a few political equations so that they do not count against him. He needs to reach out. He has to bury his pride and reach out to everybody in his bid for second term. Back to your question, what I am doing now, is campaign. I will give him my votes and my people have also endorsed him in that respect. In fact, the December Edition of my Magazine was essentially a salesmanship for the governor based on my personal convictions that the man has worked and not based on any pecuniary interest. Any reasonable person who cherishes good things would readily concede to the fact that the man has worked. By his work, he deserves a second term and he will get it.

Views about Boko Haram
I don’t like commenting on this issue because it has been over politicized. A security issue or challenge should be treated on the basis of that; pure and simple, and not this bundle of contradictions here and there. Government must show capacity and the SSS must not get itself into the politics of security. The country is faced with a security challenge; it must be treated as such. I saw a cheap blackmail in the internet about my boss and I just pity the lack of intelligence of those in authority. How much of cheap blackmail they could descend to in order to score cheap political point. Nations are not governed in such fashion. On the basis of that, I do not want to comment on anything concerning Boko Haram else my views are not misconstrued.

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