(By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye – ABUJA)
The Governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole has said he is not the type that would breath down the neck of his successor, nor worry over being betrayed by Godwin Obaseki, when he leaves office next month.
Obaseki won the September governorship election in Edo State.
Oshiomhole was responding to question on if he was worried he might fall out with Obaseki in future as had been the case in some states, where former governors are not having smooth relations with their successors.
Oshiomhole, who said he was in the President Villa to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to come for a state visit, where he is expected to commission some state projects his administration, said Obaseki’s allegiance should be to the people and not to him.
“That is very important if you say he will disappoint me. I am not the state. I am only one out of about four million Edo people. So his obligation and his loyalty should be to the people of Edo State. The oath of office he is going to subscribe to says that he will defend the constitution of Nigeria, he will do everything to uplift the quality of life of the Edo people. Nothing in his oath office will include ‘I shall not betray my predecessor’ because I have no interest to be betrayed.
“For me, I have presided over Nigeria Labour Congress for eight years and I had a successor. There was no story of me having conflict with my predecessor. Because conflict only arises when you refuse to accept that when your tenure is over, it is over.”
Oshiomhole, who will be leaving office on November 12th, said he had no regrets campaigning vigorously for Obaseki, saying he acquired the skills right from his labour days fighting oppressors.
“As for the campaign, and this is the problem, the media picks the negatives from the mouth of those who are the least competent. That I campaigned for him, I was this, I was that. That is the way it should be. Look at what is going on in the US. Is Obama not vigorously campaigning for Clinton? Is Obama’s wife, the First Lady of US, is she not as vigorous, perhaps much more, than Bill Clinton? I am a product of struggle as a result of my many years of being exploited fighting the oppressors. I deployed those skills and I defeated them. At a point they said I should allow the man to talk, did the electorate complain?”
Asked on what he will want to be remembered for, Oshiomhole said, “I want to be remembered as a factory worker who worked and laboured as a daily paid worker in the most subordinate post in a textile mill, rising to become leader of the textile union and eventually spending eight years as NLC president. Then going back home to confront the most feared and vicious godfathers that monopolised Edo state. I fought godfathers, which is essential to make way for liberal democracy.”
On allegations that he rigged the elections, he said, “PDP lost because it could not convince the people of its legacy while in power. We did not rig the polls, else we would not have allowed our party chairman to lose his unit.”
Oshiomhole said he had no regrets in his eight years on the saddle, adding that being in his 60s it was time to take a break and be a caring husband and father to his children.