Dr. Tony Aziegbemi, Chairman of Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said that his emergence in politics is to open doors and not to shut them.
He made the assertion while addressing the press at the party’s headquarters in Benin City on the occasion of his one year anniversary.
“Upon my emergence as the chairman of the Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on 14th March, 2020, I declared that my first and most important task will be to lead the party to victory in the then up-coming governorship election.
“Bearing in mind however that we had spent 11 straight years in opposition but consistently did very well in federal legislative elections especially in 2015, when we won two out of three Senate seats and five out of nine House of Representatives seats, and in 2019 when we again won two of the three Senate seats and four of the nine House of Representatives seats. We also had majority of the votes cast across the state in both elections.
“With a solid foundation laid by Chief Dan Orbih led state executive, it wasn’t a surprise when we were approached by His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki for the PDP gubernatorial ticket. For me, it was a partial fulfillment of my promise to return PDP to government . This was a rare opportunity to assume government even before votes are cast. Of course it wasn’t an easy decision considering the caliber of persons who were interested in becoming the party’s flag bearer. We had to endure the crucible of daily probing, some of it fair, some of it not.
“The transition to a PDP led government after 11 years of the APC Government was eventually achieved with remarkable ease, a tribute to His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Edo people and of course, PDP party faithfuls. The movement of Governor Godwin Obaseki to the PDP could be described as a perfect marriage and the final move that sealed the victory for the PDP in Edo State. Here is a party that had found its way into the hearts of the Edo people through hard work and reforms and a Governor, who earned the trust of the people through excellent performance in his first four years. So on September 19, 2020, the people of Edo State showed their love for the PDP and Governor Obaseki by voting for him to continue the good work he started. This was the total fulfillment of my promise. A Governor with a PDP mandate!
“We are proud of what we have achieved, because we are Resetting Edo – for the better. I want to thank my colleagues, my party – for standing with me through that battle. Between us, we have transformed the prospects for our state. And we did it with raw political gut.
“Our government set out to create jobs. It might interest you to know that this government has advertised up to 2000 vancancies in the state civil service alone without the sack of one single worker. And we are succeeding as unemployment is lower here than in any comparable state in Nigeria. In Edo it is falling. Of course there was a time when Edo was falling apart. It was when we had an Adams Oshiomhole led APC Government.
“Our Party and Government are determined to give people opportunity and choice, to open up an avenue of hope in their lives. And by ‘people’ I do not mean ‘some people’. I mean Everyone. Opportunity for all. It is in the bloodstream of our party.I came into politics to open doors, not shut them. They were opened for me.
“Giving people opportunity marks the great divide in Nigerian politics. I believe we should give families opportunities and choices and a wider, warmer view of life. Our belief in choice is the driving force of our policy. It is not a political ploy; for me it is the core of what I believe in. It is the PDP way.
“In 2015 and 2019 our Presidential election defeats were entirely predictable and predicted. We went into an election on a political terrain chosen by our opponents, with a manifesto promising the earth but from a planet other than earth.”
Going further, he said: “The public is watching. They have half an ear cocked. They’re waiting to see if we get it right. And they’re willing us to succeed. They want a strong alternative. They know the country needs a paradigm shift. We must as a party determine our campaign and determine the terrain.
The right ideas in politics never work without the right mentality. I mean the mentality of government. PDP is not an NGO, and not a pressure group. Its aim is not to trend on Twitter. Our task is to win power and get our hands stuck into the muddy mangle of governing, where out of it can be pulled the prize of progress measured not in fine words spoken at a distance, but in real grounded changes in the well-being of the people, some of which they may thank us for and many of which they will never even know were down to our struggle to place self discipline over self indulgence. Our Governor is a clear example of placing self discipline over self indulgence.
“Our mission is to take causes and make them practical; to say yes to the ambition and no to over-ambition or the wrong ways of realising it.To go to where the people are and show them how, together, we can do better. To root our actions in their reality. To align their values with ours.
“As 2023 approaches, I humbly submit that our party have eminent men and women from across the six zones of the country that can lead us to victory. Our zone south-south I believe was short changed when president Jonathan was stopped from getting a second term. With that in mind, and with the quality of leaders from the zone, We demand that our party, PDP, must zone the Presidency to the south-south to at least right the wrong that was inflicted.
“Our Zone, South-South is the most “PDPcentric” zone in the country with all the states being governed by PDP and all the Governors performing excellently well. We wish to place on record that we are very proud of all our Governors in the zone. It is the most “Nigerianized” and contributes immensely to the federation purse. We have the buccaneering spirit, gritty resolve, give and take, a conviction that everyone is entitled to the same dignity, courtesy, and esteem. These values of integrity, impartiality and merit have proved timeless and are a decisive legacy of our founding fathers.
“I want to say what an enormous privilege and honour it is to be trusted with the chairmanship of our party in Edo State. I am deeply conscious of that privilege and honour at this time.
“I believe that we have laid a solid foundation. I believe our victory in the last general election is a testimony that Edo people trust us and believe in the vision of the Governor and the Party. It is now time to build upon the foundation we laid so that we can sustain Edo PDP in government over many election cycles.”