One-on-one Interview with Agbonifo Eghosa, PDP Candidate for EDHA, Oredo West Constituency.
Press: For the Majority in Obscurity. That sound interesting. Can you throw more light, please?
EAA: As an elected representative of the people, I will be their voice. However, you will agree with me that in our society, the poor and downtrodden are the ones affected the most by the actions and inactions of government. And these poor masses are the majority living in obscurity. I want to use my office to bring their issues to the front burner. They have been treated as if they don’t exist for so long, that must stop going forward.
Press: In one of your post on social media, you stated that “the poor shall not cease from the land”. Don’t that imply that you agree that nothing can be done about the poor and downtrodden?
EAA: That’s a wrong assumption, my dear. Also, you are quoting me out of context. Hope this is not how you will report this interview? I will write a rejoinder if you misinterpreted my words in your paper, (he said jokingly). Back to the said social media quote, I acknowledge the fact that the poor will always be among us, as quoted by Jesus Christ while he was on earth. Then I went further to say that, we will do as much as we can to alleviate the problems these people go through. There are poor people in developed countries too, but the government make social commitments towards alleviating their sufferings, that is what I am talking about.
Press: Can we have the snippets of your manifestos?
EAA: Of course you can. I will give you my manifesto booklet before you go, but let me quickly give you a summary of what I intend to achieve when elected.
Firstly, I will restore the advantages in my constituency to becoming real advantages and no problems as they are currently. What are these advantages? Oredo west happens to have two state-owned cemeteries. In time past, these cemeteries were advantages to us as it helps to boost business activities around the cemeteries. But today those cemeteries (1st and 3rd) have become an eyesore. No one takes their dead there anymore. Even those making movies can’t even use our cemeteries for movie scenes. When elected, I am going to prioritize the rebranding of our cemeteries putting the business angle of it to the fore.
Secondly, I will re-echo by rebranding the idea from the people of Igun and the royal palace to make Igun a tourist centre of international repute. As a businessman, I have worked on a more sustaining model void of government funding. All that I will be pushing is government commitment to make enabling laws and to enforce the compliance.
Thirdly, the elderly and the disabled will be protected with policies that will make them actively participate in the running of the state. We have about twenty per cent of our population under the ‘disabled’ category. Putting the number of the aged to it, you will agree with me that about thirty-five per cent of our population is already cut off. But with the right policies, we can tap into the ingenuity of these able-bodied men and women the society rules out as disabled. Our retired but not tired citizens can be made to become tourist guides and historians in our museums and tourist centres across the state. Aside from the stipend that will be given to them, the activity will keep them longer for us, thereby increasing our life expectancy rate.
In the aspect of education, I will be making preparatory classes for students sitting for certification examinations. Also, I shall be making financial provisions to enrol a certain number of indigent and brilliant students across the six wards for NECO examination when elected to office.
Informal education will also be looked into. I shall see to the registering of skilled students into places where they can learn self-sustaining trades.
Bearing in mind that Oredo west also harbours major markets in Benin city, I shall ensure that those delegated with the disposing of waste do it as at when due. The level of dirt that litters the market area will not be tolerated. Also, solar lights will be made available to ensure the easy security of goods in the market stalls and shops mainly at night.
All these are just little tips of what I will be doing when elected.
Press: These are laudable initiatives, to be sincere with you sir. But the electorates are tired of promises. They believe politicians never fulfil their promises when they finally get elected.
EAA: Well, I won’t blame them, as the saying goes “once bitten, twice shy”. I knew these challenges will stare me in the face before I got involved, with time I will win their trust. With respect to the possibility of achieving these laudable initiatives, it is very possible. Remember, I have never been in office. So my team and I analysed these challenges from a private sector angle, by assuming it is to be self-funded. Without mincing words, if these people will take the risk by voting me, it will be the best decision they have ever taken in their life. I am part of this system, and the failure of the system affect me too. It is for the good of us all.
Press: Thank you very much, sir. It was nice chatting with you.
EAA: You’re welcome. Please do what you can to let the people know that I am someone they can count on.
Press: We are nonpartisan sir. We wish you God’s best