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Ize-Iyamu Should Exercise Patience — Isekhure, Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom

Ize-Iyamu Should Exercise Patience — Isekhure, Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom
Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom

Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC is the Chief Priest of Benin Kingdom. He is presently a delegate at the on- going National Conference on the platform of National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and a member of Committee on Land Tenure and National Boundaries.

In this interview with Vanguard, Isekhure bares his mind on the present political quagmire rocking the APC in Edo State, the way forward, and what Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his antagonists must do. Excepts:

What is your take on the developments in your party in Edo State?

About a year and half ago, I had the courtesy of hosting some very prominent members of APC in my house and there was a serious problem between the deputy governor and Ize- Iyamu and we sat down and looked at the grievances, looked at issues raised by those who were aggrieved and we rightfully resolved then that the deputy governor should go and reconcile with Ize- Iyamu because they have been on the same political boat over the past few years, so that at the end of the day there will be peace and harmony and everything will work well.

But it appears now that political agreement in Nigeria is usually not something that is binding as people breach it. I think the new dimension is that, oh government has imposed candidates during the elections. And to my greatest surprise, even those who were appointed as officials of state parastatals, also resigned and they all trooped to PDP.

And they are accusing the governor of being dictatorial, that the governor does everything.

I think, in totality both sides ought to sit down. You draw out all the grievances and also ensure that there is an arbiter, somebody who is fearless, people who can sit down and look at the faces of both the governor and all the complainants and say a normal procedure for doing things, we believe that these are what ought to be in place. Right now, it is unfortunate to say that (of) all the political parties no one has a credible structure.

Do you think Ize -Iyamu is taking a good decision for himself, having left PDP for ACN and now going back to PDP?

Ize-Iyamu is more like my son. I know the father very well. I think he should have exercised some patience. Going to join the other party, to me whether it is a political choice, but to me that is not the best choice. Because tomorrow for example let’s look at a scenario, if Ize Iyamu also seeks to become something in PDP tomorrow and he is denied, what party will he go to? That is the issue.

It was because of unfair treatment that you left PDP and you are also complaining of the same unfair treatment back to PDP. So the question now is, because the people at PDP are not perfect human beings, they are not some divine entity. They are going to be prone to errors one day or the other that may even affect his political future, will he now say he wants to return to APC because some defaults have also arisen from PDP.?

How will their departure affect the APC?

Well political mobilisation is a matter of number. But if the reason for leaving is defective and it’s not effective and they are not able to carry the core membership of the party, then the whole essence of leaving will be wasted, because you must be able to withstand the storm, for example. It is not because APC is a saintly party.

Oshiomhole himself has performed. You have to draw a distinction between Oshiomhole and the party. Most people voted for Oshiomhole not because he is in APC, it is because they found him as a man who had met the aspirations of the general Edo people, with regards to physical development you could see on ground in schools and in hospitals, in roads and all that.

Not necessarily because he believes in the manifestoes of the APC or PDP whatever. So that is why when you are talking about Edo State, you look at external and extraneous forces. What difference will anybody make now if for example Oshiomhole leaves office and another man steps in. Would the man perform as good or better than Oshimhole? This is the question mark. Where will the person come from. Definitely now, the political structure of Edo State, the Benin people just to narrow down, will produce the next governor. The candidate must be a Benin man.

From which of the party?

We are talking of APC now because I can’t speak for PDP. As far as I am concerned, Oshiomhole is from Edo North, we have given them 8 years of leadership, rulership, that is all. And it is the turn of Edo south, the Benin people to produce the governor. And who becomes a governor is the exclusive preserve of the Benin people.

No one person is going to impose any candidate on the other. We are going to go round and determine who becomes the next governor by collectively going to weigh and measure those we believe are capable of leading the group, if not as good as Oshiomhole or not better, but it should not go under.

What if APC has its candidate from Edo Central, what will be the position of the Binis?

No, there cannot be anyone from there because the zoning is very clear. The zoning as internally agreed. I am not talking of political parties now. We have our own structure. When we were going to elect Oshiomhole, we asked him to come and contest the election and our people stood 101% behind him.

Elected first and second time and so he knows even when his own people were not 100% behind him, so we did. We also cautioned ourselves that Oshiomhole will rule for the ultimate 8 years then a Benin man will come in and also rule for another 8 years. We are equitable people, we give opportunity to everybody.

Now that Edo North has ruled, Edo south is the one that must produce the next governor and we are in the position to determine that. Who the person is going to be is not one I can guess right now. Definitely all those aspiring to be governor right now, are people who have been subjected to the ultimate decision of our Benin people that is Edo south.

Is it late now to tell Ize–Iyamu and others to remain in APC?

If he wants to listen to my advice. My advice to him is that there is already a crisis that has not been properly managed, definitely we can see that. However, but for me I think it will be better not to fragment the party and then hope that you are going to reap from a windfall from somewhere else, it doesn’t happen that way.

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