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Why I Advised Oshiomhole Against Offering Urhoghide AC Senatorial Ticket – Idahosa, Ex-Political Adviser - TELL Magazine

Why I Advised Oshiomhole Against Offering Urhoghide AC Senatorial Ticket – Idahosa, Ex-Political Adviser

A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Edo State, and estranged former ally of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Charles Idahosa, has taken responsibility for advising immediate past governor of the state, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, against offering Senator Matthew Urhoghide the senatorial ticket for Edo South as members of the then ruling Action Congress (AC) in the state. Instead, the ticket was ceded to Ehigie Uzamere for another term, resulting in Urhoghide defecting to the PDP which offered him the ticket, and he went ahead to win the election, serving two terms.

In welcoming Urhoghide back to the APC fold Saturday April 13, Oshiomhole had publicly apologised to him for having been treated unfairly by the party, and for his “error of judgement”. Oshiomhole said, supporting Senator Ehigie Uzamere against Urhoghide was one of the costly mistakes he ever made and which had made the party to lose Edo South to PDP twice.

According to the APC leader in the state, “I was misadvised. I am not going to blame those who misadvised me, but I accept the responsibility that I took the decision to support now former Senator Uzamere. He lamented that after Uzamere won, “he traded the ticket; after being a senator, returned to PDP. Now, God decided, using Matthew to teach us a lesson. So, for two consecutive elections spanning eight years, Senator Matthew taught us a lesson. We keep losing Edo South Senatorial zone to him which is why he was in the Senate for two terms; 2015-2023, and he later became chairman of one of the important committees in the Senate – Public Accounts”.

Urhoghide was not only warmly embraced by the party along with other defectors, but he was also named the director general of the party’s governorship campaign council.

But reacting at an interactive session with journalists last Monday to Oshiomhole’s claim of having been “misadvised”, though he was silent on who did, Idahosa confessed that “I was the political adviser to Adams Oshiomhole at that time, and I take responsibility for advising him. I don’t know if other people did, but I advised him, and I mounted pressure on him; but I did that as a matter of exigency”.

Going down memory lane to explain what informed his stance at the time, Idahosa, a former member of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, said “As at that time, the state government was being treated like an inconsequential institution. The late Tony Anenih was a very strong man in the politics of Edo State; he was holding sway as the PDP National Leader. We in AC (Action Congress) then just came in. Oshiomhole was in his first tenure, and it was time to appoint NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) commissioner. It was not that we didn’t like Urhoghide, or that there was something extraordinary about Uzamere.

“The PDP had already won everything in the state before the court gave Oshiomhole victory, so we had no single member of the AC in the National Assembly. And when Adams Oshiomhole nominated a Benin indigene from the oil-producing area to become the NDDC commissioner, an instruction was passed by Chief Anenih that he should not be cleared. The rules and regulation then were that any House of Reps member, or any senator from that state, especially the district where the nominee comes from, if he is not supported by that district, either the senator or a member of the House of Representatives, the nominee should be disqualified automatically. And the PDP had a candidate for the NDDC commissioner as well.

“The name we sent there was rejected – late Nosa Omorodion. I have been fighting at the time that political actors not from Edo South should not be deciding for us that we will do. I spoke to Sen. Uzamere on why this thing must not happen. I urged him to stand up and support the candidate because it is the duty of the state governor to nominate a representative for NDDC and nobody can choose for us. There was a lot of pressure then; I even spoke to Sen Ugbesia and he said that was the rule.

“I put pressure on Uzamere and he said he will dare Chief Anenih. I also put pressure on Samson Osagie, and at the end of the day, Uzamere defied Chief Anenih and the PDP leadership and supported our candidate. It was the same for Samson Osagie, and that caught the wrath of Chief Anenih and the PDP hierarchy in Abuja.

“Uzamere called me late in the night that he met with Chief Anenih, and in a very heated argument, he told him that ‘you have just gambled away your second term ticket’. I advised him to come to the AC and we will give him the ticket. Urhoghide was waiting in the wings because he had always wanted to go to the senate. I worked on Adams Oshiomhole and convinced him that it is a fight for the Benin interest. I was able to mount pressure on Oshiomhole. Naturally, Urhoghide was very enraged; but it was a fight for the Benin interest.

“We did the same for Samson Osagie. The local government chairman, late Obaze, who was the chairman of my own local government, was the first to decamp to us in the AC with a promise to be given the ticket to the House of Representatives, but he became a victim himself because we now zeroed in on Samson Osagie to decamp to us; we will send him back so that we can send this strong message that nobody should dictate to us what to do. And then, the integrity of the governor will still be intact. We didn’t do it to spite late Obaze or Urhoghide. And as God will have it, he eventually still went to the senate and did two terms. And he has done very well; he is one of the most visible senators we have ever produced.”

Idahosa congratulated Oshiomhole for doing that, and Urhoghide too “for his maturity and magnanimity”. According to him, “he is back in the APC even though he was a founding member; and I congratulate him for his new appointment as the DG of the APC Campaign Council”.

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