…blames Ayu, G-5 Govs for PDP’s failure
Ben Peters, Abuja
Senator Matthew Urhoghide, a Federal Legislator who represented Edo South Constituency in the 8th and 9th National Assembly, on Tuesday said that the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari didn’t have the political will to remove fuel subsidy during his administration.
Senator Urhoghide also insisted that he has no personal problem with Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Urhoghide disclosed this on Channels television monitored in Abuja,‘Politics Today.’
According to him, “On the removal of the oil subsidy, the former President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t have the political will to remove fuel subsidy during his administration.
He explained that heaven would not have fallen if Buhari had done away with the controversial policy that has drained the nation’s resources.
“You know there are certain decisions that are very difficult to take while you’re in power, and that is why people always say, if you have the political will.
“I really want to say that the President then didn’t have the political will. Otherwise, if he had removed subsidy during his time, I don’t think heaven would have fallen because the arguments were very sound, and we needed to do something about subsidy.
And subsidy has become a big saw, particularly when we are talking about the very scarce resources we have in the country.
“I was in the Senate committee on public accounts, at a time we investigated the consumption of PMS in the country, the figures were not just right. And to think of it that NNPC needed to pay for the subsidy as under recovery for us, and whatever was the balance will now come into the federation account. We saw the loopholes, then why don’t we remove the subsidy?
“We know about the issue of public transportation, that’s where we are talking about the big effect on our people, but how many people in the rural place, they form the greater part of our population, do they enjoy anything from subsidy?”
Senator Urhoghide also revealed those he considered were responsible for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s loss in the 2023 Presidential Election.
He accused the suspended National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, and the G-5 governors of being responsible for the loss of the party. He said also, that the sudden exit of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from the PDP was also responsible for Atiku’s defeat.
Urhoghide opined that, the result of the February 25, 2023 presidential election could have been favourable to Atiku if his former party had presented a united front.
“The election was there for Atiku to win so much that even the APC acknowledged it. Former President Muhammadu Buhari also admitted that it was the division in the PDP that caused our loss. That was also what Adams Oshimhole was referring to when he appeared on your platform.
“It is a sound school of thought. Obi should have been allowed to remain in PDP. If that had happened, we could have replicated what happened in 2019.
“That’s because the vote that he got, whether by popularity or whatever happened to him in the PDP that made him leave, would have helped to bring in votes.
“Let me also say this. Even though the governors (G-5) were overbearing by their actions insisting that the National Chairman of the party step down, of course we know the reason, they felt bad maybe because they were not made the party’s presidential candidate.
“But, at least, we could have avoided any rancour that was going to arise from the decision to pick another person.
“The only thing that should have been done by the chairman was to say ‘If it will take me stepping aside for the party to win, why not?’ I don’t know what persuaded Senator Iyorchia Ayu to stay.
“But knowing him and who he is, he is a gentleman. If I were Ayu, I would have stepped down. What was important to the party was to win the election. Everything will fall into place.
“That was equally what happened in my state, Edo, where the PDP came third.” Urhoghide, two-term senator concluded.
On his relationship with Edo state governor, he said, “I have nothing against the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and I will not have anything against him.”
The senator explained that, despite leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he is on good terms with Obaseki and respect his office as governor.
“Obaseki is very close to me, we went to school together, we fought for the PDP and built the platform together, and I went out of my way to get my brother,
“Even if I feel offended, I will have gone to him. I don’t believe he offended me, but what happened in the party was the irreconcilable difference that existed at the party.” Urhoghide maintained.
On the question of why he decamped from PDP, he said: “I left because some of the things that happened in PDP were things which were becoming unbearable, unwanted, and unnecessary.
“The party was in a very difficult position, and I chose not to be named among them.”
He blamed the inability of PDP to learn from the past, is responsible for the defeat of the party.