Kenneth Imasuangbon, a lawyer, an educationist, and one of the three governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo State chapter, in this telephone interview with Adekunbi Ero, executive editor says asking him and others to step down for the embattled governor of the state who had been ruled out of contention in his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, party would not be acceptable.
What’s your reaction to the likelihood of Governor Obaseki coming to your party, the PDP now that he’s shopping for a political party platform to seek re-election?
He has a right to join; he’s a Nigerian. He can join the party if he wants to. Nobody will stop him from joining the party, so, he’s welcome to join the PDP.
There is the permutation that if Obaseki is given the ticket, either you or Gideon Ikhine from the same Edo Central senatorial district with you might be asked to be his running mate. Will you be favourably disposed to such an arrangement?
There is nothing like running mate now; have we done primaries. Let’s do primaries first. Whether it is me that will beat Obaseki if he decides to run, you don’t know. Do you know if Obaseki will even run in the PDP? The issue of deputy does not arise now; we should not be putting the cart before the horse. Let’s first do primary – a free and fair, credible one and let’s see if it is me that will beat Obaseki if he chooses to run or Obaseki will beat me. You don’t know; nobody knows. So, the issue is I cannot just surrender my 15 years ambition trying to be governor; it cannot just be pushed away by anybody. You should know that.
Has Obaseki told anybody he’s running in PDP, I don’t think so; I’m not aware. Has he joined the party? I am not aware if he has joined the party. If he has joined the party and he’s running, then we will go for primary now. One thing I can tell you, I will be in the primaries. We will get to the primary; the primary would decide. It is the delegates that will decide, nobody else will decide what would happen; Edo delegates, except it’s not democracy. If it is democracy we are having, then the delegates should decide.
What if the party leadership asks you all to step down for him?
The party leadership would not do so because that would be equal to a military coup and it will not be acceptable. How would the party leadership ask us to step down? Are we in a military era; soldiers don’t even do that.
He’s been moving from one PDP governor to the other seeking help.
That is why the country is the way it is. That will not happen. Are we in a military era? It is Edo delegates that will decide who in PDP will represent us. What they are doing is not booty to any governor, to anybody. Are we conquered people? Edo cannot be a vassal state where people now use us to … The truth is that when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. Whether there will be primary, there will be primary. Whether Obaseki has the right to join us, he has the right to join us. He’s a citizen of this country; he has a right to join any political party. Whether he wants to run, the guidelines of the party and other extant laws, when the time comes, all those things would be looked at and we’ll see what the direction is. The truth is that I am not bothered about that; that is not my headache. My headache is how to win my primaries. There will be primaries. Or would there not be primaries?