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Asue Ighodalo: Obaseki Didn’t Invite Me To Run, I’m Loyal Only To The People Of Edo State

“I think it’s the hand of destiny, I think it’s a calling, we can move Nigeria from the third world to the first world,” he said.

Governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Asue Ighodalo, has clarified that the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, did not invite him to run for the governorship election, and if he is elected as the governor of Edo State, he will only be loyal to those who voted him into that capacity, that is, the people of Edo State.

The Nigerian lawyer turned politician said this in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, where he also addressed those who are against his running in the state, saying that he is focused on resolving the issues in the state and turning it into a first world country.

Ighodalo, who has been plagued by allegations that Obaseki is his political godfather and pushed him to run for the Edo candidacy, said, “I wasn’t invited by Governor Obaseki for what I am doing now, and I have explained how I got in here. You know, the final push for me was the work that we did on the board of the sovereign investment authority. We did a lot of work that was social investment, and I saw the benefits of being able to impact the lives of people.”

He further said, “My time on the board of the sovereign investment authority clearly showed me that there is a path to help people out of poverty, out of want, out of neglect. Previous governments have done modestly well, relatively well, but I think that I can also bring to bear a lot of the experiences that I have gathered over the years from my international, local and other connections, and this is what I want to bring to Edo State.”

“I think it’s the hand of destiny, I think it’s a calling, I think I can truly contribute my own quota to helping to lift the economy out of where it is, lift our people from poverty, provide the necessary infrastructure, and I think we can start this journey of moving Nigeria from the third world to the first world,” he said.

On the question of whether he was loyal to Obaseki, Ighodalo said, “I will be elected by the good people of Edo State to serve the people of Edo State. So, my loyalty points to the people of Edo State. I will work flat out for the people of Edo State, for the benefit of Edo State and to raise our people out of poverty and to build a first world economy.”

The lawyer then responded to those who were against his candidacy, claiming him to be an ‘oursider’ because he does not live in Edo State by saying, “I think it’s a distraction, I think it’s people that want to distract from what the real issues are that start talking about outsiders, homeboy, and things like that,” emphasizing that he is focused on what the real issues in the state are and he is not distracted by those who are against his running.

He said he is not new to life in Edo State, and that in the last 16 years, he has been in and out of Benin due to his working with the economic teams of governors Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki.

He also said that he is very conversant with the people of Edo state as he listed the several things he had done in his community, saying “You don’t really have to run around and make noise for you to indicate or show that you are doing things.”

Ighodalo expressed his readiness, if elected, to address and work several sectors in the state, inclusive of, but not limited to, the economy, the educational sector, infrastructure- inclusive of roads in the state, and creating a technology driven government in order to generate more revenue.

Speaking of the debt profile in Edo State, Ighodalo said, “There is no problem with taking debt if you are taking debt for developmental purposes and for purposes that regenerate the economy and build on the economy and grow the economy. So, there is no problem. The issue is how we use debt.”

He then said that a chunk of debt incurred by Edo state has gone into capital expenditure, and if used properly, such debt will re-earn, restructure the economy, and create a growing economy.

“What we will do is that we will continue looking at those areas where we can regenerate the economy of Edo State, where we can pull people out of poverty, where we can remove our people from subsistent spaces, and where we can grow the economy at a rate that gives us the revenue base to pay back this debt faster,” he explained.

He then said that he is not worried about debt, but he will be focused on preventing leakages that will make debt a problem in the state.

Addressing the division within the PDP that was caused by the upcoming elections, Ighodalo said, “There are misalignments within the party. Even within families, there are disagreements, but I know that the leadership of the party, they’re all working on bringing all these misalignments to alignments- at the national level, at the state level, and even in my own little way, I’m going around talking to people that it’s better for the party to be one.”

He said that the party members truly have the best interests of the people of Edo State at heart, and that could be used to make them all come together to work for the betterment of the state.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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