Gedeon Obhakhan is the APC candidate for the Igueben/Esan Central/Esan West constituency He read Electrical Engineering from the University of Benin, and Masters’ in Communication Engineering from the University of Lagos and Business Administration from the University of Leicester, U K. He spoke to pressmen after his election on what and how he emerged the candidate to fly APC flag in the coming election into the House of Representatives
When did you come into politics?
I started politics long time ago with student unionism while in school and I started to participate in politics when I graduated when APC was ACN. But this is the first time I am participating in elective position.
How will you describe your victory at the primaries?
I will say I am happy, and I think it is also victory for democracy. Apart from that it gives credence to the fact that the comrade governor did well because he promised he was not going to impose any candidate on the people. And by my own assessment my election at the primaries was free and fair, immediately we finished, the other candidates did not see any reason to complain, they congratulated me.
What is your message to your co contestants and constituency?
My message to them is that we have to work for the party. We had a cordial relationship during the campaign for the primaries, we had sort of unwritten agreement not to tolerate violence, and we need to build on that to work with me for the success of the party. As it is now, it is not about me but the party, so we have PDP to contend with and so we have to join forces to be able to defeat PDP.
Does your party has the strength to dislodge PDP in your constituency?
Yes, the reason is that if you look at what is going on now from two different perspectives, one .is the individual and two, if you look at the strength of the party, APC compared to PDP at the state level there is nothing to be afraid of because when PDP was in power in the state, there was no money for development but since Adams Oshiomhole came in, there is a lot of development, nobody needs to tell you about that. From individual perspective, I have lots of experience and I am one among the candidates who do not have any blemish. So comparing myself with the candidate with that of the opposition party. I do not see any match.
Why do you think people went for you as a first time contestant?
I think our people have grown above selling their votes. I must give them credit for that. I do not think people sell their votes in this part of the world any longer. Why I think people voted for me is that they saw through my sincerity. I was the only candidate as far as I know who told them the truth. I do not believe in telling lies Just to win their votes. What I told them was expected of the office I did not tell them what I will not be able to do like others do. My going to the House is purely legislative, though I know I could influence projects, I didn’t go out telling them about projects that I know only the executive can execute. My sincerity was very transparent and they know what I have done for them in the past as general manager in MTN.
What projects do you intend to influence or bring to your community when elected?
I cannot tell you 100 percent what I will do. I have never been there before so I do not know how much is voted for constituency projects so I cannot say for sure, but I can promise that when I get there I will do the needful for my constituency.
There is insinuation that Oshiomhole’s administration has not worked in Edo Central, where you come from. How will you convince the average man to vote for APC against this insinuation?
What I will tell them is to take Oshiomhole as the governor of Edo State and not that of Esan land. You cannot say because he has worked much in Edo South and North, he must do same in Edo Central at the same time. We should realize that a journey of a thousand miles starts somewhere. We have to look at resources that are available to work with. We have to look at the past administration and the present, to bring out the fact that the resources he is using in all parts of the state were not available when PDP was in power. There was nothing to show for it. That is not to mean that this administration has not done anything for Edo Central. We have a lot of projects to showcase. Recently, he commissioned projects In Edo Central. I will say Edo is a whole. Assuming the past administrations worked in the south and north of the state, this government would have perhaps focused on Edo Central. I will say Oshiomhole has done very well and there are projects to campaign with.
What is your message to the electorate?
Do not sell your vote because if they do they will not have the moral justification to hold politicians accountable. My advice is for them to access all the candidates, study them to know those who are sincere and vote for the right candidate.
Corporate world is known for discipline, timeliness and honesty unlike Nigerian politics known for its treachery, Inconsistency and all that. How are you going to cope?
Politics is not like corporate world. What you find in corporate is not what you experience in political environment. What prompted me really is to add value to the lives of my people, if you consider what you can do with personal resources, what you can do when in position of authority in terms of influencing projects, you can easily conclude that business and politics are not the same. It is really about adding value to humanity and I want to be able to contribute my quota to the development of my people by going to the House of Representative which I may not be able to do if I continue in the corporate world.
It is something you have to learn. I am not saying one should learn the bad side of it. What I try to do this time is to correct those that are bad in the system. Yes, you are right, in the corporate world discipline is a key word, keeping to time is also a key but when you watch Nigerian politics it is not entirely bad, so adjusting to it is not difficult as that. I will say I can leave in many worlds so to speak. Having worked in a multinational organisation, meeting lots of people, different ethnic colouration, I have got the experience in reaching all kinds of people.