Dr. Greg Osasere Igbinomwanhia, a lecturer in the University of Benin, is also the Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP) in Edo State. In this exclusive interview with Isaac Olamikan he spoke extensively on the party’s plans to revamp the situation of things in the state.
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) is a political party with strong tentacles in the northern part of the country. So why did you a southerner joined the party?
Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) is a national political party like so many others. One of the reasons I decided to pitch tent with the party is because of its manifesto and the philosophy behind the party. If you look at the way things are going in Nigeria today you can see that we urgently need a revamping of our economy and polity. The two parties that have been dorminant parties in the previous years – the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and All Progressives Congress(APC) – for me they have failed the people. They’ve not done well. Naturally, we should be looking for a third option.
Having looked at the PRP manifesto, what the party stands for and what it projects, I think that the party if given the chance would be a messaic party, the party that would redeem Nigeria.
How do you see the PRP’s chances in Edo State?
You can’t tell about chances. For me, sometimes some of us have to position ourselves. You can’t tell what plans that God has for us. We have a lot of chances because if you look around you will find out the people in the state are looking for the third option. They’re tired of PDP and APC. So, our chances are very bright. You can’t tell, we can form the next government in Edo State.
You probably think that’s wishful but you cannot tell. If we are able to get our projection, our tactics, our planning and our strategies right I can assure you that we will be able to mobilize and have support in terms of the masses and the population to give us votes so that we can come into government and change the way things are done.
As we speak, after about a year of assumption of office for his second tenure, Governor Godwin Obaseki has not formed a cabinet. What’s the position of your party on this?
Ordinarily, I will not like to dabble into that. For me, the problem of the formation of a cabinet in Edo State by the ruling party, PDP, is an internal problem. It is not up to us who are not part of that party. But if you have to look at the constitutional implications I am sure the constitution says that every government must form its cabinet at state level immediately the governor comes into power. Again, there is a lacuna in the constitution. It did not say quite exactly when when it says immediately. It now depends on the definition of what’s immediately.
Yes, the constitution requires that there should be a cabinet for exigencies sake. If you look at the way it it is it looks like the governor is becoming unilateral in his decisions, despotic and authoritarian.
People are complaining about Governor Obaseki’s forced Covid-19 vaccination policy
Sometimes, some chief executives take decisions which they think is in the best interest of the people. The governor decided to say that ‘you have to go and vaccinate. Make sure you don’t come to the office if you don’t vaccinate. Don’t enter public places.’ I think that he is doing that because he wants everybody to get vaccinated. If you ask me, the motive for that is to ensure public safety.
If you look at it from the other perspective you don’t force people. That’s against their human right. This has to be done voluntarily. Even at a point in the UK that kind of a policy was opted for but the Prime Minister said ‘we don’t have to do that because the people ought to be allowed to walk freely and do it voluntarily. If he goes ahead with that that will be infringing on human right, forcing them against their will which is not right in a free world like ours. I will ask him to soft pedal and review that policy.
What policy of the Edo State Government that the PRP wants to reverse or add input to if the party assumes power?
Before Governor Obaseki came in in his manifesto and campaign promises he mentioned so many things including good education – rebuilding the schools, retraining the teachers and providing for modern training facilities. For me, in his second coming there seems to be a reduction in the enthusiasm. There seems to be a dampening of morale on the part of the government. Things seem to be on a standstill. There is erosion everywhere etc.
Those who are into commercial activities are inhibited, people have problems and their properties are destroyed etc. If we come in we want to see how we can make sure that everybody have access to education whether you are rich or you’re poor. The most important thing for me is good health facilities. A couple of weeks ago we(PRP) released a communique where we said that we are not too impressed with the health facilities in Edo State.
You go to the Specialist Hospital in Benin, the place is like a death cage. People go there when they’re ill. When they there they’re seriously sick. They need to rebuild and revamp the Specialist Hospital. The nurses are not effective same with the doctors. They need to provide jobs for the young people. There are so many people roaming the streets now who don’t have jobs.
Security is another issue that they also have to look at. If we come into government we will do better in those areas. The government of the day has to make sure that lives and properties are well secured.
Another area of interest is the roads. Government takes too much time in working on roads. For example look at Ekenwa Road. It has been on for close to three years but what’s happening? Most link roads in Benin are in bad shape. We want to see how we can fix them.
Government came up with the idea of industrialising the state. If we come in as government we want to ensure industrialisation; we want to ensure provision of good roads; we want to ensure provision of electricity for example. Who says state government cannot provide electricity?