Idumonza Isidahomhen, businessman and publisher, was the Social Democratic Party (SDP) senatorial candidate for Edo Central in the 2019 general elections. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on developments in Edo state and why he wants to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki in next year’s governorship election.
What is your take on the political crisis in the state where some lawmakers are yet to be sworn in?
In the first instance, does APC have anything to offer the good people of Edo State? The answer is no. Did they win the election? The answer is no. The emerging scenario validates and exposes their inability to sustain the manipulative tendencies that resulted into having all the seats.
In the absence of lack of programmes, focus and ideology, why wouldn’t they have time to fight? What positive impact on the people do you expect from a party that cannot even manage a State Assembly let alone the entire state? That is what you get when a government is docile and incompetent.
While PDP was a shame, APC is a disaster.
It’s a sad development that has portrayed a chaotic outlook of governance in the state. Social harmony is sacrosanct to development and the happenings in the state are having ripple effects on the state’s goodwill and capacity.
Why are you aspiring to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2020 when it is clear he will want to seek a second term?
The good people of Edo hate to remember the inglorious 20 years of PDP and APC regimes which are sad reminder of how the State has remained in a perpetual state of economic infancy despite abundant natural blessings. By standard, I tend to make deliberate effort to utilise available avenues to pursue agenda and implement ideologies that are beneficial to my good people of Edo State. It’s an important part of my default setting to consider these chances at every opportunity. That largely explains my consistency in the Edo electoral process since 2012 at the governorship and senatorial levels of contests back to back. My aspiration is not just one of those things. It is essentially anchored on a developmental salient ingredient of truth, accuracy and re invention of Edo’s socio-economic and cultural bearings including sports, tourism, health and educational re-modelling.
The Obaseki you talked about is only playing the role of John the Baptist. He has no business staying beyond 2020. Governance has been on recess in Edo. And that remains unacceptable.
Therefore, 2020 presents to me such opportunity again to present myself for service to my people; to unveil a workable and implementable roadmap for rapid socio-urban development, economic diversification and wealth distribution for the people of Edo State.
Out central objective is to create a state economy by making Edo the centre of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Our team is convinced that we will deliver a better mandate to the people of Edo state compared to the prevailing uncoordinated pattern. There will be no mercy for PDP and APC in 2020. The current electoral system does not guarantee an equal level playing field.
But even at that, I stand a good chance, all things considered, to win the governorship election against the odds.
Don’t you think the governor’s performance is enough to get him re-election?
Currently, less that 20 percent of the potential of the state is being utilised by the government. Edo State is blessed with fertile land for agriculture, exploitable mineral resources, amazing sceneries for tourism and great human resources to achieve our dreams.
Therefore, it’s very obvious that the governor’s performance is an empirical evidence of either underutilisation of state potential or simply mediocrity. And neither of this should be rewarded with reelection.
Why are you seeking to contest on SDP platform when APC and PDP are the two major parties in Edo state?
Home and abroad, I have consistently reminded people that SDP is the reason there is democracy in Nigeria. SDP died for democracy to survive. The rebirth of democratic practice in Nigeria in 1999 was as a result of SDP’s martyrdom. It was not for nothing that Muhammadu Buhari recognized June 12. It was SDP that contested that election. It was an SDP election. Moshood Abiola was the party’s candidate. Supreme Court has made that very clear that it is the party that contests election. The solutions to Edo State challenges are embedded in SDP on account of its deep knowledge of the State having nurtured it at infancy in 1991.
Again, I think this is an evidential case of an illusion sold to the press to dampen competition. SDP retains and remains a strong competitor in the political dynamics of not only in Edo state but across the federation.
Our structure is stable and unwavering. Our members are loyal and emphatic about our bright chances in the poll. We’ve always been in the mix and this time, we’re coming out to take the lead.
What are your visions for the people of the state?
We’ve developed a blueprint that can catapult Edo state into the most economical viable state in the federation. I strongly believe we’ve the capacity to compete with Lagos and Rivers state in terms of internal revenue generation.
We’re ruthlessly passionate about repositioning the narratives of Edo state. We’re bringing creativity into the economy and it is designed to unbundled overlooked economic trajectories and return greater revenue to the government.
However there are foundational structures that must be erected to accommodate this vision. Social infrastructure and security are at the forefront of these basic elements. These are the things we’re keen about and prepared to perfect within the first few quarters into the government. We believe they’re strong catalyst for immediate development and an attraction for investors.
How will the teeming youths of the state benefit from you in terms of job creation and skills Acquisition?
The youths are one of the major reasons we are committed to this course. Our youth are passionate and hardworking, I feel this inbuilt attributes will endear them to our strategy for empowerment and financial independence.
Our realistic economic programmes will accommodate the youths.
We have envisioned a coordinated corporate and social programmes not only for the youths but women, men and children as well. It will be unveiled soon.
Indeed, we have a roadmap, chiseled out from statistical and empirical survey. The highlight of this is concise and operational, touching the immediate and the remote.
In fact, I am prepared.
Do you have the war chest needed to prosecute the governorship election?
Financial potential is important in any venture, including political contest. I am glad to reveal that in the 2020 governorship election, our budget stands reasonably convincing.
But technically, money is not the sole parameter to win in an election. Ideologically, money doesn’t come around as a stronghold. To us, the commitment and resilience to initiate a breakaway from the norms through socio-economic revolution are more excellent ways to political zenith.
Added to that is the universal truth that victory comes only from God.
Beside, ours is a people’s driven aspiration and we’ve been getting overwhelming supports in that regards.