The only woman in the Edo 2020 elections holding September 19, Mabel Oboh, the candidate of ge Africsn Democratic Congress (ADC), and an indigene of Ugboha, Esan, who has vowed to bring her wealth of experience which includes diverse fields like working the United Nations, British Embassy, NTA, Nollywood and life as an entrepreneur to bear among others on the Edo State House if elected governor, is a woman who knows her onions. In this chat, Oboh talks about her challenges as the only female candidate running for governorship and ultimately, her dreams for Edo State.
How did you feel when you emerged the first female governorship candidate in Edo State?
‘I was happy because I see this as an opportunity for women to prove that yes, they can lead. Edo is in crisis and I couldn’t help but answer the call to lead because I know that only a woman can resolve the suffering of the Edo people because our men are busy throwing stones at each other and I, Mabel Oboh, with my administrative background, is the woman that is qualified to change the Edo story. My mission in Edo State as a true daughter of the soil is to save my people and my manifesto is clear for all to see. ADC DNA is all about integrity and we encourage Edo people to join our moving train.’
Election is just a month away, how well are you prepared because people saying that ADC does not stands a chance against heavyweights like Ize-Iyamu and incumbent, Gov Obaseki?
‘ADC is well prepared as it is, we have an airtight manifesto that will give us victory and deliver the Edo people from slavery. I understand that I am a servant of the people and I must adhere to their needs as a woman of the people. It is my duty as an Edo woman to save my people from ungodly god father-ism, hunger, neglect and confusion going on in the state at present.
A woman has never been governor of Edo State before, why do you think a woman should rule?
‘Gender has nothing to do with it. I am a mother. Clearly, Edo State is in crisis and no mother sees her house on fire and goes to sleep. The crisis in Edo State can only be resolved by a woman and I am that woman. Why? Because I am compassionate and my people are in tears and I need to wipe their tears. Also, I will bring equity and justice to the table and that is my cardinal commitment. Edo is in crisis because political leaders have failed the Edo people. I am a well traveled woman that has gathered experience from around the world. I know what it means to be honorable, dignified, truthful and to have empathy. The problem we have in Edo State is not rocket science; it can be solved. All we need to do is get rid of the bad eggs and Edo will smile again.
What have been your challenges so far and how have you been coping in a male dominated sphere?
‘First of all, I must state that there were other men in the party when I was chosen to take up the responsibility for governorship. Secondly, in terms of how I am coping, it has been quite a challenge but I have had the best response and support so far. ADC is not gender discriminate as it is one of our cardinal policies. ADC encourages women and even the disabled to contest elective office. However, some factions in ADC, Edo State Chapter intended to sell out to one of the opposition parties but I refused to be part of such a de-humanising act and that resulted to my life being threatened and this was followed by an avalanche of fictitious accusations. Let me state that ADC DNA does not encourage such acts. Our National Chairman, Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu and our National Working Committee immediately swung into action and disciplined the culprits. ADC is a party of integrity and ideology with an honest vision to change the narrative. To be honest, that is the reason I joined ADC in the first place and ADC is the credible alternative party that Nigerians have been waiting for. ADC members are people of integrity. For this reason I find it so sad that our party was infiltrated because it goes against everything our party represents and as I speak to you, the negative elements have been dealt with decisively and removed from the party. Clearly, they do not posses the ADC DNA which is based on integrity, forthrightness, transparency and truth. A super Nigeria in 20 years amongst others is possible. I am pleased to say that ADC Edo now has a united front with one purpose which is to win the election and save the Edo people.
Recently you called on your rivals in PDP and APC to stop hiding behind court injunctions and violent clashes and unveil their manifestos on how they would move Edo State forward and even challenged them to a debate. What triggered that move?
‘First and foremost, politics is all about serving the people and policies. I also believe we should be talking more about how to stem the crisis in Edo State rather than the dramatics we are getting from both parties in the media.’
If elected into office, what will be the focal point of your administration?
‘That would be to get rid of hunger through massive industrialization with the focal point on agriculture. Secondly, having a healthier Edo State through the introduction of health insurance for the masses. I intend to bring massive industrialisation to the people of Edo state. Women and youth empowerment programmes, radical employment creation, immediate investment in agriculture to create surplus food supply, improve health services and introduce health insurance, access to affordable health care not only for government hospitals only but with HMO’s and infrastructural development. In line with the Manifesto of ADC party for a greater Nigeria’, My dream is to get rid of hunger in Edo state by making her financially independent, restore her morality and sense of dignity so every Edo state citizen both home and abroad will be proud to identify with.’
There is fear in Edo State that due to violence, the elections could be truncated and a lot of Edo citizens could be disenfranchised…
[Cuts in]: ‘To the best of my knowledge, the security agencies in Edo state are taking the security of the people seriously. But we are still appealing to them to ensure that Edo is safer for the people so they can be encouraged to come out and vote.’
What is your take on the crisis rocking APC and PDP and the role of god-fatherism in the crisis?
‘What APC and PDP are doing does not bother me at all because I know ADC is the credible alternative. We have the people at heart and we intend to serve the people. It is obvious that god-fatherism must not continue and that we must stop. Talking about god-fatherism, it is a known fact that god-fatherism is like cultism and self enslavement for life. Just like the late Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso said ‘he who feeds you controls you.’ Today we have all seen the negative effects of the act of god-fatherism. However, this is why ADC is on ground to change the narratives in Edo State and by extension, Nigeria.’