Owere Dickson Imasogie is the former Chairman of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo South Senatorial District. The popular farmer in this interview with FRANCIS OGBUAGU, bares his mind on the party primaries ahead of the general election, and the crisis rocking the PDP in Edo State, among others
The major political parties have just concluded their presidential primaries, what are your party’s chances of coming back to power in 2023?
I am happy that you are a Nigerian and know the hardship that this government has put Nigerians into today. I want to ask you a question, if you are not a diehard APC supporter, will you vote for them in the next election? I want to provide an answer to that question and the answer is no.
So, whether they like it or not PDP is coming back to power in 2023. The reason is that you cannot compare the PDP administrations to what we have today.
The primaries that produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu as the PDP and APC candidates respectively were highly monetized. What is the way out, as it seems things are going out of hand?
I saw a video where somebody was openly sharing money at the APC convention and I am sure that is what you are referring to. In our case, money was not shared. That does not mean that somebody who transported himself to Abuja, and stayed in a hotel for maybe two days, if the person is given something to support his transportation and other expenses, you will say something is wrong with that. I don’t think anything is wrong with that and it cannot be said that you have sold your conscience.
But those who are advertising the sharing of money on social media, I am sure that is what you are referring to. If I were to be in APC, I wouldn’t vote for somebody like Bola Tinubu, I don’t like spoiling people’s names, but you saw him shaking, you saw that he was not fine. He was falling. President Muhammadu Buhari who has been going in and out of the hospital is stronger than him.
In the light of recent killings in Owo, Ondo State, where about 50 worshipers were slaughtered, the problem of insecurity has become a recurring decimal. What do you think the next government should do to stop this ugly trend?
It is only when the person in the helms of affairs is not the one sponsoring it, but if he is part of them, then the insecurity will continue.
Did you not hear what Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State said and another person also confirmed it, that they brought those people before the 2015 general election – where the present Head of State said that ‘baboon will be soaked in blood if he was not declared the winner of the 2015 election?
’ Today bandits are asking the Federal Government to come and negotiate with them because they had a deal with them before. The best thing to do for Nigeria is not to bring in their father, but somebody that does not know them. Then you see that they will be wiped out. …
Cuts in, but your candidate is of the same ethnic nationality as the bandits?
The problem of insecurity goes beyond ethnicity, it does not have anything to do with political lineage. Is it all Fulani that is bad? We have some of them from Chad, Niger, and other neighboring countries, are they not Fulani, and are they all Nigerians?
The PDP in Edo State is in crisis, where two candidates emerged from two different camps during the primaries, what is the way out?
You are the one seeing it that way. Yes it can be said that there are factions in the party, but the reason is that those who came into the party refused to blend, yes they came to choose their government, fill the government positions and you are now asking that the structure of the party should be shared if you were to be the old PDP, what will be your reactions?
I have addressed the press on this issue before, what they brought to the party they kept to themselves and what they meet on the ground they want to share with us. Who is a fool? That is the situation.
Are you saying there is a need for renegotiation on the part of the warring parties?
No, no, no. It is a two-way thing. If you embark on a journey and the road is bad, you have two options, it is either you go back or continue with your journey. If you are in a house and you want to drive the landlord, who has accommodated you and the landlord says’ no, I owe my house,’ is it not for you to go and look for another house?
I don’t work with rumors, but last week I got some facts that some went to pick forms in the Labour Party. I call that political suicide. If I were to be them, I would go back and beg my old party (APC) and say I want to come back, they are going to Labour. Labour what? Where is Labour? I am just being frank. Before the end of the next week, you will start hearing their name as the candidates of the Labour Party. Let us x-ray it, these are APC people, who left their party to join us,
They are not going back to the APC or fully to Labour because some of them who are genuine politicians are already working with us. This means that the former APC is now divided into two. If they have divided themselves into APC and Labour, why do you think we should fear them now? We are not afraid. If they want to go they should go, those who want to remain and work with us, they will do that.
Already, some have started working with us in the legacy PDP and they are leaders in the PDP, some even went to the convention as national delegates. Somebody like Hon Monday Ihama from Ovia South West is a close friend of the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, but went as a national delegate.
Going to the next election as a divided house may not be a good one for the party, don’t you think there is a need for synergy between the old and new PDP?
We don’t have a divided house, the PDP is still one, and we don’t have a divided PDP. Are you a member of PDP? Why do you think we are divided? Those who came and failed to fit in, think they are still in APC, they did their own primary and the main PDP did their own and invited INEC and they came to monitor their primary, it is part of the rule in the electoral Acts that INEC must monitor your primary.
They did not invite INEC, they thought they were still in APC. Hope you know that it was the legacy group that was admitted as national delegates. Very soon INEC will release the result of the primary that they monitored, let them show it to you. Or I will show you the list with the INEC stamp.
What is your advice to the Nigerian electorate come 2023?
To Nigerians, we are all here; we know what is happening through the failure of this government. Gasoline was sold for N170 before the inception of this government, now it is sold for over N800 per a liter and we have refineries.
You said you want to repair the refineries, yet we have not seen anything, prices of products have gone too high. I am praising those of us that are farmers, if we put the cost of production on the food items, nobody will be able to buy it, because it will be 10 times the amount we are selling now, and then you will know that we don’t have a government.
I want the people to reject the APC government. The PDP is the next alternative, or do you want to go for a child that cannot even walk now, like Labour, where is labor? Or is it SDP?