Comrade (Engr.) Ben Obega needs no introduction. He has been the readers’ delight since the 2019 race began. In this telephone interview with EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, JAMES IBECHI, he explains the reason why he has dumped PDP for APC on which platforms he intends to become the next federal lawmaker representing Igede people of Benue State. He also speaks on other salient issues. It is a must read.
Comrade, good day. It’s been a while since you spoke to jamesibechi.com. Are you still in the 2019 race as an aspirant for Federal House of Representatives – Oju/Obi Federal Constituency?
Good day please. Yes, of course, I am still in the race with tremendous efforts to actualizing my noble dream.
May we know the efforts you have made?
Yes, you could recall that the last contact I had with you, you and your media team were inquisitive to know the platform I would come out to contest, as you noticed my body language to have been queried the operational styles of PDP – the former ruling party.
Does that mean you have dumped PDP for another Political party?
Not really dumping PDP for another party. I think I had enlightened your team on this matter. As a civil servant, still active on duty, no right thinking community developer can patronise the opposition party. My support for then ruling party (PDP) was purely to position people where Government could recognize them for assistance. However, as the majority of Nigerians have noticed an incurable sickness of the PDP and chose another party as an alternative, you should realize that PDP is definitely not a better vehicle to the National Assembly comes 2019, for me.
No wonder, during the clamour for zoning by some Igede groups that the HOR seat should go to Oju, your name rang bell on the platform of APC. Were you properly recognized by the party structure or were you impersonated?
Ibechi, before I unfold my noble aspiration to lock horns with other aspirants, you know how consistent, logical and principled I am in life. After a wider consultation, I took a best decision to throw my structure behind APC, I first of all, identified with my Ward (ie) APC Executive and members with hundreds of supporters at the grassroots who decamped with me. This glorious incidence was announced on Agba Radio (Choice FM) in Igede land. Few weeks later, some respected state official, government appointees, all Local Government Party leaders honoured my re-positioning from PDP to APC – the ruling party. In an ocean of such jubilation, describing me as an asset, but not a liability to the party; an agent of community development, if given a chance. I hosted Local Government Party executive led by Hon. David Ahonye of Oju and Hon. David Idah of Obi where I formally declared my ambition to run for the above seat, seeking for their support and blessings.
Like the belief and the trust they have on my personality with PDP (my former party) my few minutes conversation with APC, successfully purchased their mind and that was why you probably witnessed my participations in APC activities since the middle of last year. And I will continue to remain loyal and committed to APC for the benefit of Igede Nation.
You said that PDP is not a better option to enable you achieve your dream. Could you point out some lapses of the PDP contrary to what you feel APC is doing better?
Yes, in an ideal society, every political party executes her political culture and ideologies to educate the citizens, sanitize the system and bring development to the masses as a dividend of democracy. Ibechi, you don’t need any oracle, pastor or Imam to reveal to you the culture of impunity and imposition of candidate against the will of the masses which was instituted by PDP and still propagated by their agents mostly at Local and State level. PDP does not hear the language of personal qualities to improve peoples’ standard of living as a leader. Characters with over-voltage ambition clothed with money are their best candidate no matter the cry and pains of the society against such evil structure.
Please, convince the masses, with reference to previous council elections held in Benue State that there were marks of imposition of candidates. If there were, how do you rate APC, in this regard?
There were. That was the repercussion of the evil eggs laid for the past 16 years of PDP’s governance. These evil eggs were laid, incubated and hatched and refused to die pre-maturely in the hands of the foster father (APC). For me, I am not surprised. I am one of the Nigerians foresighted persons who know that such an ugly incidence would happen in Benue and other states.
How can a system donate an absolute power to the State Governors operating under undemocratic structure called state electoral system that is configured to be corrupt? I am not in any way saluting such an unhealthy manipulation. However, you and the concerned masses should know that for such evil to stop, right people like me, as democrat, should be elected into the State Houses of Assembly, National Assembly (Lower and Upper Chambers) to legally reconstruct the system for fairness to triumph over evil.
Considering the closeness of election as arranged by INEC, people are saying Oju aspirants are not shaking grounds to expectation. What is responsible for that? Is it aparty?
Well, I know your job is to create awareness to the masses, if not you should know why. You see, every polity is said to be local. It does not have specific formula. The constant perimeter is that those stakeholders, who rationalise the zoning arrangement and those who execute critical judgement on the quality of aspirants are on different political page? Are the party executives who perform the ritual at primary elections being contacted? Are the masses who decide during the general elections, by February 2019, beginning to hear or see the aspirants? If all these measures are executed through personal or group consultations, where are the lapses? Those complaining, are they not citizens of the state witnessing untimely deaths of our relatives by Fulani herdsmen that led to the decision of Government to temporarily suspend political rallies? As a matter of fact, some of us are strictly adhering to Governor’s declaration.
Whichever way it is, political activities have begun to take shape. Aspirants posters, campaign structures and decision have stated regrouping.
After your previous interview with us it is believed that going by the zoning and your character display of leadership, the credibility of your candidacy is not in doubt. How certain are you to secure APC ticket in view of the large population of aspirants identified in that party?
You are correct. This is one of the factors every serious minded aspirant should consider. Notwithstanding, political awareness is on increase even at the grassroots. The business is not just the aspirant bargaining to be given the ticket but the political party who want to produce a successful candidate is of great effort, evaluating where the people want the political slot to go, who the masses appear to go with. If this critical evaluation is not activated by the party leaders, they will end up losing the slot and of course, becomes an opposition party.
The point am laboring to prove is that, politics is all about peoples’ participation. APC in the state is not ignorant of that. As they are working to retain power out of other 66 registered political parties, they will surrender to the voice of the people where my hope lies.
After your first major interview with us on jamesbechi.com you have undoubtedly become our readers’ delight. Please if you win 2019 election, what do you have in stock for this news medium?
Well, my response may not be pleasant to you as a person but it will give you a sense of understanding and direction to discover unseen natural forces that motivate my agitation for this position. My critical observation for years has revealed that the occupiers of the seat probably gave hollow or genuine promises which more or less have no impact on the masses. As a realist, I want to say that I do not have a gift or reward to benefit the personality of James Ibechi and his group. Though, every labourer is of course, entitled to his wages. Ibechi media that successfully marketed me to local and international communities is believed to rightfully offer their services to humanity. One thing I, therefore, vow to do is that I will concretize the media structure of Igede nation piloted by Comrade James Ibechi so that Igede voice would be sufficiently heard beyond the state level. Since the creation of our dear state and of course Nigerians at large, Igede nation has contributed in one way or the other to be heard. But due to no or poor media structure, they are not known on the world stage, not even by neighbouring tribes. It is pertinent to remind you that other minority tribes like Ijaw, Ibira, Kabba and others have successfully been marketing themselves to larger communities through media. No society is developed or recognized without a functional media structure.
The high degree of marginalization on Igede is borne from the sad-reality that no common voice to cry to government’s hearing. This proposed media structure would therefore, reposition Ominyi-Igede and other socio-cultural and Igede political organizations.
In few seconds what do you have for us?
Mine is a cautionary appeal. Money politic is a cancer. Let us wage war against it. political thuggery is worse than stealing, let us prosecute it. Community can only be developed through a sincere passion to serving humanity. I, Comrade Ben Obega have this chance. Igede must be great! Thank you.