From Tony Osauzo, Benin
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Chief Solomom Edebiri, has explained how he intends to impact positively on the lives of the people of the state if elected governor.
Speaking during an interview in Benin, Chief Edebiri in apparent reference to the APC, said he will bring changes devoid of “pain” to Edo people. Describing himself as a Liberal Democrat who believes in partial privatisation and carries everyone along, Chief Edebiri explained that his administration will bring prosperity to the people of the state.
How has the race to the 2016 Edo State governorship election been?
It’s been very interesting; so much to learn; the intrigues, the antics, the various strategies, the school of thoughts. For me, it’s an absolutely whole load of experience. Comparing the industry where I am coming from, looking at the sentiment people have for those of us coming from professional setting, business setting into politics and having to match against those who see themselves as professional politicians who have been around in government. And of course, they know that we see things differently as professionals will see things. So, we have challenges with getting immediately accepted by leaders, especially the critical few who think you have to be a core politician to play the right politics.
But I feel completely different because we should begin to tilt towards the desire of the people, we should not be focused on some people’s interest; we should begin to focus on the common man of who is the reason democracy was established, which is said to be the government of the people, for the people and by the people. And if the people are out of this equation, it’s a completely incomplete equation. That’s what we fight. We are saying that people must be in charge of who rule them, of who govern them, of who decide things for them by the day, of who takes their fate, put it on the balance. The people must be at the core centre of the whole game. And getting that acceptable to the leaders who say they are professional politicians have been a challenge. They feel that they have to dictate for the people, they have to decide for the people and the people must follow what they say, the people must do what they want, the people must take a cue from what they do; and I don’t think it should be like that.
Sincerely speaking, we must now begin to know that we are expected to serve the people, work for the people, labour for the people; let the people see us as servants serving them, even if we take the posture of a leader. For me, it should be a leader-servant.
It is a fact that the PDP had made some mistakes in the governorship elections in the past, what is your plan to correct the mistakes, now that another opportunity has come?
Of course, it is good to learn from the past. People who refuse to learn from the past cannot create a vision. And I believe the PDP has vision for the people, so they must learn from the past. That is the only way we can create a better future for the people. I am convinced that PDP will learn from the mistakes of the past and will avoid repeating similar mistakes in this dispensation in order to ensure that people’s choice, people’s will is respected. So, I sincerely believe it’s going to be something new.
As one of the aspirants of the PDP, why do you think you possess the best quality to be nominated as the PDP’s flag bearer for the election?
Basically, talking about my background, I am coming from the business sector and I believe sincerely now that we must begin to see the state as a corporate entity, that we must begin to manage the state as a business entity and we must run the state on profit and loss understanding.
What happens in business is that you want to look at your simulation, you want to look at your permutations and ensure that you create a balance between profit and loss, ensuring that losses are highly minimised to increase your profit margin. That is the way. And in terms of a state, you want to be sure that when you’re running the State on a profit-oriented manner, you want to ensure that the people are not pained, the people are not going to suffer for it. So, there must be that balance and you need someone with a corporate experience to do that.
Secondly, I am a liberal person, I believe in liberal democracy and at this moment in the history of Edo state, you need a liberal democrat, somebody who is liberal, who can accommodate everybody, but extremely very firm in decision making and taking position to manage the state.
I am someone who sees the state beyond the election, someone who sees the people beyond the election, that at the end of the election, you are no longer the governor of the PDP but the governor of Edo State. Of course, PDP is a microcosm of the people of Edo State, APC is a microcosm of Edo State; so are all other parties. So, you want to see a situation of a man that can run the state as a corporate entity, not creating a divisionary system for the people. It is not going to help the state to progress.
Thirdly, I understand the economy of the state, I understand that we have reasonable raw materials, we have reasonable mineral resources, we have huge potential in human capacity and our agro capacity is also very high. These things have not been harnessed. So, you need an experienced person, somebody with a broad-based understanding to exploit all these opportunities. I have that and I feel the people have that. That is why they feel I am best fitted. Of course, people are speaking in unison, saying give us Edebiri and we will vote for you. It doesn’t matter whether we are APC, whether we are PDP, whether we are market women, artisans, it doesn’t matter. They understand that I have a very good understanding of the state, where the state is coming from, what it has got and how to harness them.
They also understand that I am coming from a position where all the industries that have closed down could be revamped and put back to service. The state also understands that I believe in partial privatisation. I do not belong to the school of thought that everything must be fully privatised. I believe that government must have a minimal stake, no matter what, it is in every system in order to ensure that the state and the people of the state could get maximum benefit from it.