Edo 2024: ‘Ighodalo na fine pikin wey everybody wan carry’ – EDHA Majority Leader

Edo 2024: ‘Ighodalo na fine pikin wey everybody wan carry’ – EDHA Majority Leader

Honourable Charity Aiguobarueghian, a lawyer of over two decades and Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, represents the good people of Ovia North East 1. In this two part exclusive interview with ELEMPE DELE, a journalist and an associate editor with trojan online newspaper, the lawmaker from Ekiadolor bares his mind on the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, asserting that Dr Asue Ighodalo, the candidate of the party will win the election as he is a “fine pikin wey everybody wan carry” by virtue of his vision, competence, capacity, character and compassion. Excerpts:

How would you describe the ongoing campaign by your party and the candidate, Dr Asue Ighodalo?

The campaign as instituted by the Asue Ighodalo Campaign Organisation is on course and it has been issue-based through and through. This for me, is a very refreshing development because it is the first time we are seeing it in the political firmament as far as Edo State is concerned. We as a party members, I mean loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have a lot to say positively and so have downplayed completely any negative campaign.

All our efforts towards convincing our people about the candidacy of Dr Asue Ighodalo and the Deputy Governorship candidate, Barr Osarodion Ogie, have all been hinged on positivity and the knowledge of the problems our state is facing and how to have them fixed. The theme of all the messages is that ‘We can do it and we are ready to do it’. In local parlance we say ‘E go do am’. And surely, we can because we in the PDP have the resources and the competence.

The opposition say your candidate is not a ‘home boy’. Would you say your candidate enjoys wide acceptability to be able to win the election?

Honourable Charity Aiguobarueghian, a lawyer of over two decades and Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, represents the good people of Ovia North East 1
Honourable Charity Aiguobarueghian, a lawyer of over two decades and Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, represents the good people of Ovia North East 1

Absolutely! He enjoys wide acceptability and we in the PDP are not surprised. We have a saying in this part of the world that “Pikin wey fine, na everybody wan carry am.”

Asue Ighodalo na fine pikin and Edo State people are now carrying him. You can see the conviviality, the warmth, happiness and reception everywhere he goes to. This is a man they said is not a ‘Home Boy’; he doesn’t stay in Benin, he doesn’t know buka and all the lies and propaganda.

Today it is not only him knowing the bukas oo. I tell you, all the bukas now know him. Everywhere you go it is Asue Ighodalo, Asue Ighodalo, Asue Ighodalo. His popularity is topnotch. And his acceptability is something else. If you go out there now, all the Keke Napep the other time were carrying LP logo, but now all of them are carrying PDP and Ighodalo’s logo.

That’s how we measure it here, unlike other places. If we are not going to win, you will know. Like the other time, I knew we were not going to win. You go out nobody is talking about your party and you give people caps, they will tactically refuse it, in your face oooo. This time they are the ones asking you, “Oga una no do cap?” That is to tell you they are buying into it.

Then our people in the diaspora are for him. If you want to know who will win it is the people in the Diaspora, they are the ones that will drive it first. And look at what is happening in the Diaspora, all the different groups, it is Asue Ighodalo everywhere because he is the only one that has shown competence, capacity and preparedness for the job.

They don’t want people who will go and “keep animals in museums”. They don’t want people that are “creating boreholes”. They want the person who understands today’s socioeconomic reality and who has a roadmap towards getting it done.

The person who can prioritize infrastructure; that has capacity to push development and the person who can appreciate the agrarian advantage we have in Edo to drive industrialization. These things are possible and are on the table already, because Governor Obaseki has laid the foundation.

Take a look at the oil palm production which has now made Edo State the number one palm district in Nigeria. So, we are not talking about people whose only mantra is how they will make the leaders in their party happy. We are enlightened people who know what is right from what is wrong. And for this election, the right person is Dr Asue Ighodalo.

So, what would you say set Ighodalo apart from the rest candidates?

A lot, my brother, a lot indeed. First, Asue Ighodalo has voluntarily submitted to the Edo people and Nigerians generally, for thorough scrutiny, his birth, including his family, growth, work experience to where he is today. First, let’s talk about his pedigree. His father, Jeremiah Ighodalo, was a trail blazer. In his time, education was not something people know so much about.

But he dared it. At a time when people don’t care about education. All you do is grow up in the village, farm and marry, but he left his comfort zone in Ewhohimi just like Asue Ighodalo is leaving his comfort zone in Lagos today because of his compassion for his people. Pa Jeremiah left Ewhohimi and came to Benin and started as a clerk and followed that line to become one of the best in his career to the extent he had to go to England to study for the purpose of specialization, he did in accounting as at that time.

And for you to know the passion, the vision and the royalty that drives him, the man did not entertain any fear in his heart in approaching a Princess of the Ife extraction in the UK. He boldly approached a student leader in the UK and one of the most outspoken female voices you hear about in the Nigerian community as at that time, who then fell in love with a Prince from Ewhohimi and they got married and the product of that union is our amiable Dr Asue Ighodalo.

In that regard, you must appreciate the combination of the quality of royal blood combining in one man. So, when you talk about the excellence of the quality you find in Asue Ighodalo, would it have been less? He had some of the best education. He went to the best primary school, he went to King’s College when the place was really King’s College, though it is still King’s College and he made Upper Class. From there to the University of Ibadan where he read Economics.

He then proceeded to the London School of Economics to do Law. Thereafter he went to the Nigerian Law School. Can you see the growth of this man? Then he started off in practice, combining Law and Economics, which is Corporate and Commercial Law.

He was actually one of the pioneers in that field just like his father was one of the pioneer chartered accountants. You see this first, first thing has actually been in the family. The mother was the first female Permanent Secretary in Nigeria. The child of the elephant is never weak. Only the best is good enough for the offspring of the Lion.

The others are

Just a minute, please, Ighodalo doesn’t suffer from inferiority complex, so he doesn’t attack people. You see others anytime you give them the microphone the first thing they talk about is Asue. It is a complex problem. I sympathize with them because it is it not an easy task facing a man like Asue, who best rides the narrow world like a Colossus.

They are contesting against an intellectual giant, a social gatherer, a legal juggernaut, a man who in a short space of time has become the political rally point. A man with huge social and emotional capital, who is attached to you not minding your class or background. He is a unifier of sorts. So, the issue as we are pursuing it is about a man whose time has come. Everything about his growth prepared him for today. He values integrity and that is what has given him the opportunity to head and lead so many blue chip organisations. His words are his bounds and he has never been associated with any scandal.

The Opposition says he is not a politician. Can you vouch that he is prepared for the job?

Ighodalo/Ogie Campaign Organisation rejoices with Oba of Benin on return of Royal Stool Artifacts

Ighodalo has shown by the conduct of his campaign that he is prepared for this job. He is a workaholic, a man that inconveniences himself for the general good. And he has been doing that with grace. You will never see Dr Asue Ighodalo snap. He will always take everything in his stride, happy with himself, happy with the fact that he has attained that status called the Philosopher King. A man who has learning, compassion and the proper disposition.

To crown it all, as the people of ancient city state of Sparta would say, he is also “athletic”. He takes time to take care of his body. That goes to show that he is a man who is deliberate about his life. Nothing happens to him by accident. Everything is meticulously planned, step by step. So, that is the type of character we need as a governor to build a super structure on top of the very solid foundation that our amiable Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has done in Edo State.

Watchout for Part 2