Hon. Charles Idahosa is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Commissioner for Information in Edo state. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the leadership crisis in the party at the national level, the controversy over zoning in the 2023 presidential election and other issues. Excerpts:
The crisis in PDP at the national level is getting more intense over who controls the structure. Don’t you think it will have adverse effect in the 2023 general elections?
Definitely, I’m so sad about the level of crisis rocking the PDP in almost all the states. In fact, the one in APC is worse. You see people seem to be counting my days in PDP when I followed Governor Godwin Obaseki. No! I’m a founding member of the PDP. I was in Jos for the convention that produced ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. We worked for Obasanjo. But the PDP I’m seeing now is strange. I can’t even function in the party anymore. But I had to go back to PDP because I left there in 2004 when there was this kind of problems of dictators trying to hold the party as if it is their father’s property. In Edo State , we just finished the war against godfatherism, where the comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole tried to muscle everybody just because he supported Obaseki to be governor. You don’t do things like that. Governor Nyesom Wike and Uche Secondus are friends, so they should settle their differences amicably. Wike is a young man, so it is godfather and son’s fight that we are seeing in Rivers State. But unfortunately, it is affecting the National because Wike seems to have a grip of the party. The National Working Committee is divided, governors are divided so there is no way it won’t affect the party. In the October National Convention, Wike has an ambition, so he knows who he is going to project that will protect his political interest, so the intrigues are still there. Edo has succeeded in uprooting our own godfather, so Rivers State should follow suit. No matter the issue now, i still give credit to Governor Wike and Secondus because they played a major role in saving Obaseki, when they discovered that Oshiomhole was going to rubbish him. So personally, I still owe them gratitude. My advice now is that they should look for a way to settle because they are close friends. But unfortunately too the APC is not better, the crisis there is worse than the one in PDP. So we are still watching closely because I still see myself as part and parcel of the APC because we formed it but because of circumstances we left them and it’s just unfortunate.
What is the way out; do you see Secondus retaining his position during the convention?
I just pray that the October convention will see the light of day. As you can see, there is no state in the country that you don’t have one political crisis or the others. In Edo State now, those of us that followed Obaseki are being regarded as second class PDP; can you imagine that we can’t even say anything anymore as party leaders? But I feel very sorry for the younger ones, because I am not going for any political position again in my life. I ran for governorship primaries against Oshiomhole, I was rigged out. I ran for Senate, there was no election at all. I have held various positions as a politician in the state; I have paid my dues politically, so I’m nearing retirement now. The only election I was given an opportunity to contest and I won was the local government council election. That is why I still remain grateful to the late General Sani Abacha. There was no imposition, no manipulation, no godfatherism. I just picked form, went for election and won. Every other election after that became impossible because of the way our political leaders take it. Because they feel that Charles Idahosa is too wise and stubborn he won’t listen to them. So they denied me all other election I ran for in the state. In the Senatorial election I ran for we just sat down in the siting room of one of the leaders and he just said we have given the position to somebody the rest of you can go. The funniest thing is that the one million I paid is still with them, they did not deem if fit to return one kobo to me.
Do you advice Goodluck Jonathan to join the APC and run for presidency again judging from the current rumours in that regard?
I don’t really know. I do not see where the two political parties are heading to be frank with you. Yes, I have a feeling that Goodluck Jonathan is up to something, he would like to right the wrongs because of the way he came and how he left. I think if he is given the opportunity he would come. But I see the two political parties fielding a Northern candidate because there’s no political South, there is a political North. And the average Southerner underrates the Northerner. Anytime I say this, some people don’t like it that the average Northerners are more politically aware than the Southerners. In the South we are divided, but in the North they are one when it comes to political matters; they are speak Hausa, but here the Igbo man is different, the Yoruba man is different, the Ijaw man is different, likewise the Edo man. When they created Mid-West, the Edo man wanted to stay in Ibadan but they drove them away saying Akpata is not Apata, Ayomide is not Ayomide and all of that. But in the North, the Emir then made sure that everyone spoke Hausa Language, but in West they did not allow us to speak Yoruba. The Ikwere man speaks Ikwere language, he will not speak Igbo meanwhile he is Igbo. In fact a good example is Jonathan, is he an Ijaw man when you look at his name he is an Igbo man. Jonathan Ebele Azikiwe. So at the end of the day, I’m seeing the two political parties going up North to pick their candidate. So if Jonathan decides to run the Northerners will try to convince their people but it will be very difficult because if APC brings someone from the North, and PDP does the same, the North will win. Because no matter how poor an Hausa security man is, he must afford to buy a radio and listen to BBC Hausa Service. They hear information much more than our people even at our level of education. We think they don’t have sense but they are in charge. So if Jonathan comes out for presidency, they will deceive him and he will be beaten hands down. He should keep his dignity as is it now rather than going to mess up the good name he has built. So in 2023, I see President Muhammadu Buhari handling over to another Northerner, I can stake my money on it. Whether it is APC or PDP, the next Nigerian President will come from the North, quote me.