Samuel Bello, Abuja
Former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Edo State, Engr Chris Osa Ogiemwonyi, hails from Orhionmwon Local government Area of Edo State. In this interview, he advised Governor Godwin Obaseki to show respect to the person that brought him to power.
Since you bowed out from your ministerial duty to join the governorship race in Edo State, people have been hailing you as Mr Integrity without stain. What makes you to deserve this sobriquet?
That is a very good question, but I will say I did not give myself such name. It was given by my fellow politicians. The truth is that when I was still working with the NNPC, which was for 34 years, they used to call me Mr Local Content because I assisted local companies in Nigeria to grow and also carried out contracts in the oil industry, but when I ventured into politics, the people saw my previous records as someone who just worked for the government for 34 years in NNPC and was at a top level and also bagged ministerial appointment under the Ministry of Works and for these whole 34 years I was not summoned by the EFCC for a day. The ICPC never summoned me and that was how the name started as Mr Intergrity. That was how it all started and I so much loved the name and I said truly my mother once told me as a child because I came from a polygamous home. She said I should not drag my father’s name to the mud and I heeded to the advice of my mother not to spoil my father’s name; so during my years in the NNPC, before I take a step, I must watch carefully. So, God saw me through. It was not by my power, it was God who led me through out my 34 years in service.
Why do you want to become Edo State next governor?
To be a governor is a serious job and a serious matter you need to search yourself and know if you are ready for the Job and I said to myself with my experience in the public service for 34 years, I have done many good works for my country with all the experiences I have gathered so far let me go back to my state and help them as well. If you look at Edo State today there is hunger all over and I have the zeal and passion for the less privileged. I have an Agape love for my people, but seeing the present situation in Edo State I said to myself that I will come out and use my good name to bring investment to my state. When I was with the NNPC the white men so much liked me coming out of service. They are eager to come and invest in Edo State because of my good name. So, I want to come out due to the insecurity, fear and fighting allover Edo State. I will tackle insecurity, tackle unemployment. When I left school in 1974, I had two jobs despite that my parents were uneducated; if I become governor, I will provide excess jobs in Edo State. I will support local farmers with modern farm equipment to boost their output. I want to also improve the health sector in Edo State. I want to build maternity centres for our pregnant women. From there, also look at our roads. The roads Oshiomhole built that was where it all ended. I want to construct more roads for Edo State. The day I went to Okpekpe, I saw the roads Comrade Adams built in Okpekpe and I don’t like one thing, I always see in our people when I campaigned in 2016, which is urban rural migration. I want to stop this urban-rural migration. The solution to end it is to build unique things in Benin City and also build the same in the rural areas, where electricity is very important. We need good roads, quality schools and security and those in Edo North are doing more of minerals resources. I will also support them so as to boost mineral resources production in the state. Edo Central has plenty of land. Go to Ogwua, we will do more farming when I become governor. Many changes will occur in Edo State. I have the experience; google my name and you will see my credentials. I am highly educated. I attended Western Boys High School from where I proceeded to UNIBEN. We were the first set of UNIBEN. I am the first Edo man to attend UNIBEN in 1974. I graduated. You all need an incredible man like me, Mr Integrity.
The governor said he has created 200,000 jobs, yet people are still crying of unemployment. What is the cause of the crisis in Edo APC?
The governor created jobs for people in Lagos and Port Harcourt. I am pleading with the governor that these jobs he is giving to people outside Edo State is not proper. He should be giving jobs to the unemployed in Edo State. I am Mr Local Content. I am very good at using what we have here for the progress of Edo State. I am pleading on the governor to please learn to offer jobs to people in our home rather than giving it to outsiders. Secondly, the issue of the fight in APC is that the present governor is fighting the man that brought him to power. Oshiomhole brought him out of 11 of us who campaigned, then he helped him win the seat, but today’s case is the son beating the father. We are begging Obaseki not to wage war again. He should show respect to the man who brought him to power. He should respect Comrade Adams Oshiomhole now. We are the solution, which is the internal mechanism for conflict resolution. We want to start now. Four of us, the aspirants had to go to Benin to plead with Governor Godwin Obaseki. I was there, Ize Iyamu, Gen. Ariavhere, Odubu, we went for a press conference with people who wanted to assist us in settling the dispute, the Senate President committee was to come to Benin. The governor refused, but now another bigger committee has been put in place under our father, Bisi Akande, to come to Edo State to resolve this crisis. We are happy now that the matter, which has been on ground for two years now will soon be resolved, but the big thing is that APC is waxing stronger in Edo State because the four of us want to work together for the advancement of Edo State. Second term bid is not by self-imposition, it’s only God who gives power.
What is the governor saying about insecurity in Edo State?
At my age I have never seen bomb in Benin. It’s sacrilegious. The only way to resolve this is for the state government to institute a probe panel, to find out the cause of this mayhem, because the truth is that this is a brand new concept of terrorism in town. Bombing homes, very painful is that in these homes there are children sleeping in the night. So, my people I hope that our brother Mr Governor will do the needful
What are the Edo people expecting ahead of the forth coming election?
We are hopeful and we are hoping that the governor will do it. Like I said, we are hoping that the level of violence in Edo should be calm because right now there is high level of insecurity in the state. Once the time-table is out, we expect the governor to equally do the needful to lift the ban he has placed on politics. We the Authentic APC are peace loving. Edo State is a blessed state. Edo will be greater again after this time. We would see 2020 will be the year of second term where the state will flourish. Violence, unemployment will be totally eradicated.