Adams Oshiomhole: I have no regret inviting IBB to Edo rally

Monday, May 3, 2010

EDO State governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has strongly defended his decision to invite former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, to the “One man, one vote” rally in the state, saying “shutting the door against people considered to be anti-democrats is not the solution” to Nigeria’s socio-political problems.
Oshiomhole, who spoke at the weekend against the backdrop of the boycott of the rally by Professor Wole Soyinka and some Action Congress (AC) leaders in protest of the presence of Babangida, said it was high time Nigerians did away with politics of exclusion.

He stated that he had no regret for the action, adding that he would do the same thing if given another opportunity.

“The ultimate is to bring those who are not yet on board. And I restated that it was not a partisan gathering. I respect the judgment of those who boycotted it, but I do not agree with it,” he said.

“Democracy is also politics of tolerance. My trade union training allows me to engage my opponent and not to avoid him. And that kind of constructive engagement is what this political environment deserves.”

According to him, the objective of the forum is to bring people from different political persuasions across the country together, debate solution to the nation’s electoral problems,  a target, he said, had been achieved with a huge success.

“The discourse of electoral reform should be targeted at everyone so that it can deepen the debate and conversation. Only Nigerians will decide who will be the next president if we have one man, one vote. Fora are meant for debate, so you can now see that those who came benefitted than those who boycotted the forum.”

The governor added that it was democratic to disagree, while reiterating that he was not a product of politics, but of labour activism.

“My fundamental rights connote that I can differ. I respect their (Soyinka and other’s) judgment, but they must also respect mine. AC is a democratic party, which means that we can disagree,” he said.

Oshiomhole commended Acting President Goodluck Jonathan for relieving Professor Maurice Iwu of his job as the head of the nation’s election body, adding that the action indicated there was change in the offing for the country.


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