Comrade Patrick Osagie Eholor is the Founder and President, One
Love Foundation, Nigeria, which he founded in 2000 for justice and human rights campaigns across Nigeria.
A social crusader, he believes that the purpose of life is making the world a better place where there is no master or slave, high or low caste but one global community of love and justice that is truly a melting-pot of caring humanity for
one another irrespective of race, tribe, skin colour, religion and station of birth.
Through his crusades, he compelled the government between 2007 and 2016 to provide amenities and infrastructure to Edo Oil producing communities including Gelegele, in Ovia North East council area.
In 2008, he organized, single-handedly and funded a One Million Man protest that shut down
the busiest public highway in Africa, the 247km BBC oft-reported Lagos-Benin Expressway, to bring Nigeria’s Federal Government attention to perilous conditions of the road. This resulted in stormy national parliamentary debates and
a #300billion presidential budget approval for rehabilitation and reconstruction of deplorable spans of the road.
He has been constantly appearing in the media to speak on politics, human rights, and philanthropy and is actually behind campaigns like ‘One Man One Vote’ popularised by Oshiomhole, Close-their-Legs, Open-their-Brains campaign
against sex-for-marks trauma and abuse of women by lecturers,
Freedom of information, police reforms, and others.
He filed a suit which eventually prevented the then Governor Adams Oshiomhole from selling Edo House in Lagos, and is currently in a litigation against Governor Godwin Obaseki, to make public and to justify additional #38billion
state loan and projects spent in the meagre projects on ground, among others.
In October, 2019, he received the African Award for Exponential
Human Rights Advocacy from Africa Bar Association (ABA), in far away Liberia, where he was hosted by
President George Weah.
Eholor ran for governorship in Edo State under the Labour Party in 2012, and was leader of the party from 2007 to 2014.
He was also the Deputy Director General of Atikulated Agenda 2019, which led a campaign in support of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and is a member, Amnesty International and patron, African Bar Association.
Depsite claiming to be non-aligned politically at the moment, Comrade Eholor here speaks eloquently on the current state of things in Edo politics, especially as it concerns APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Pastor Osagie Ize – Iyamu(who may run under the APC) as well as the Oredo LG Representative in the House of Representatives, Abuja, Honourable Ogbeide Ihama, who is being tipped to contest for governorship under the PDP.
You have been showing very strong support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu since he moved to the All Progressive Congress. Bearing in mind that you were on the frontline in the Atiku Abubakar campaigns, we want to know if you have moved to the APC?
No. We have to do things not along party likes anymore, but across party lines. That’s why I am hoping that one of these days we will have independent candidates where people like you can contest.
Having said that, my support for Ize-Iyamu is not strange. Ize-Iyamu is not the only one am supporting. I am supporting every good aspirant for the sake of the ordinary citizens. So I don’t want you to have an idea that I am now a card carrying member of the APC. I am not APC, I don’t have their card, and I have no interest in having their card.
I am not PDP, and I have no interest in having their card. But I am an electorate who duly registered for the purpose of voting for a credible candidate.
The elections are coming up later this year, and we remember that years back, you ran for governorship of Edo State under the platform of Labour Party. Are we to see more of you in the elections this year?
No, I am not running at all. I have no interest in contenting, I want to marry my business, I want to uplift the lives of many, I want to be focused, I am into farming, and I am enjoying it. I am in the entertainment industry such as hotels, plaza. I love what I am doing and I will be working with the politicians from that distance.
What are the reasons why you will be rooting for Pastor Ize Iyamu, if he runs for governorship?
First of all, if the APC doesn’t do concessions and wants to do primaries, Ize Iyamu is not the only person. He hasn’t been anointed…
What if he wins the primaries?
If he wins, he who the cap fits should wear it. I will want to know if Obaseki is running for second term, who is running in the other political parties, like the PDP then I will tell you what I am going to do. There might be a better candidate, as a matter of fact, Ize Iyamu has never told us that he is perfect. I have also not given him perfection mark yet. I have s lot of followers and they will follow me to support that one who we know is going to give them the dividends of democracy.
I am not sure I can answer your question honesty because I won’t want to be that one who gives you information and then refuted it tomorrow.
But at this point in time, is there a better aspirant than those we have in Edo State right now?
There are so many. When you use the word better, you don’t what to cast aspersions or insult anyone’s intelligence. What you want to say is, is there a more profiled person who understands governance, and enjoys experience too. If you ask me that question, I will tell you categorically that Ize Iyamu is the one, a technocrat, a pastor and a politician who can make a difference in the lives of those he will govern. I can tell you that categorically.
With the grand followership you enjoy in Edo State, whoever you support in the elections will go a long way towards victory. So let me ask you now, if you are to support Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, what will be your reasons?
I want to use an illustration. There is a fine gentleman that walked in while you were conducting this interview, Alhaji Suleiman. Though from the North, Alhaji don’t see a disparity between the northerners and southerners. He does not discriminate. So if you are going to have an election today and you bring a Bini man and Suleiman, I will vote for Suleiman, because I can attest to his character.
The point I am trying to make is that if there will be reasons to vote for Ize Iyamu, one is his foundation. Foundation is that key in life. His father was prominent, a high chief, and also taught his children respect and values. He taught them that in life, you must make people feel important in order to be important. And Ize Iyamu has those qualities.
He has lived life like every other person has lived life, but he decided to embrace God that he rose to become a man of God. He has a beautiful wife and children. That woman is a professor in Dentistry, and is very responsible.
When you show me your friends, I will tell you who you are. I want to say that if there is no candidate who has an outstanding profile to stand side by side with Ize Iyamu’s, my best choice will be Ize Iyamu.
But if there are other candidates who can also give us their profiles to match and to compare, we can then make a decision who will be our first and last candidates to rally round.
Let’s digress a little. What issues do you have with Governor Godwin Obaseki?
You are not the first person that is asking me this question. Some people came to visit me from World Bank, they were working on a project to channel our water problems to Ogba River. I asked them that I hope the governor is not involved in it. They said why the question and I said because I already have a case against Obaseki in the court. So the man asked me what issue I have with the governor. I said no, I don’t have any issue with the governor. That brings me back to what I said about Ize Iyamu, or about our father, Anthony Anenih(May his soul rest in peace) or Adams Oshiomhole. Oshimhole has his own flaws. Even Donald Teump has his flaws. But when you want to govern the people, you must be close to them, you must know those you want to govern. Obaseki is too far from those he wants to govern.
Obaseki came to power and said ‘I don’t want any politican in Government House, they are all thieves. That’s very harsh. If there is no criminal, there will be no need for police. If the borders are not porous, there will be no need for Customs. So if you are a politician, you need the good, the bad and the ugly and try to change the bad to good in the society. Obaseki has good tendencies to see what he can do as a business man, he is a businessman. He knows how to manage funds but doesn’t know how to manage Human Resources.
Obaseki feels that we are not worth it, that he cannot speak to us as Edo people. Trump is currently facing impeachment, he has issues with Iran, he has issues with taxation, yet he speaks with the Press. When last did Obaseki grant a press interview? So if we have a governor who doesn’t have respect for us, who is going to be signing MOU from left and right, who promised to do Gelegele and we didn’t see the light of it, who promised to do some industrial park and we didn’t see it, who was also an Economic Team Manager for Adams Oshiomhole and then borrowed N25billion, and today its bad money.
Government is a continuum, and as I speak with you, I am in court with Adams Oshiomhole, am in court with Clem Agba, and I am in court with him. I am not here to fight anybody but am here to represent my people. So personally I don’t have any grudges with him, I have profound respect for Oshiomhole because he interacts with the people.
Obaseki has been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The deep blue sea is his deputy Philip Shaibu and the SSG, Barrister Osarodion Ogie. So you can’t be in the midst of these people and succeed. They are saying they are going to use what Oshiomhole taught them to win elections.
If Oshiomhole taught you what’s wrong, must you use it? Interact with your people and transform the state. That’s where I have issues with the government, but I don’t have a personal issue with Obaseki. I love him and I respect him.
There are those who believe that Governor Obaseki May lose the APC ticket and also not be able to get the PDP ticket. From your own permutations, what do you see?
I am not Nostradamus but I can predict the future. Even if accidentally, Godwin Obaseki gets ticket, he will lose the elections. He can never be a second term governor. He cannot get the APC ticket. The only reason he could have gotten the ticket is if the coupe de tat they are planning works, if they are able to dethrone Oshiomhole by February, it will determine his getting ticket.
In as much as Oshiomhole remains the national chairman, and is recognized in Abuja, it will be difficult for him to fight. Because the national working committee has said ‘we recognize you as the Edo State Governor, but we also recognize Oshiomhole in Abuja, as the National Chariman to us. So now, can you supersede your father?
The state government is superior to the local government, the federal is superior to state. The only way, if it’s possible is if Buhari drops Oshiomhole. But I can’t even imagine that. Is there any reason you know that will make Buhari drop him?
Adams Oshiomhole has played his own roles- he won Kogi, he won Bayelsa, he dethroned Saraki, he fought Okorocha, and he might have lost some key states for the same issues we are having today.
He has fought generals and he conquered them. As it is, Governor Obaseki will be a walk over for Adams Oshiomhole.
What about the PDP ticket? Don’t you think they can give it to him?
I have heard that the chairman, Dan Orbih that their ticket is going to be given to the most credible candidate and they are not going to welcome any new person to come and steal their ticket. That insinuation is going on, and I also know that Honorable Ogbeide-Ihama will give them a run for their money. He is very serious about the coming elections and have warned the PDP that they should not play any pranks on him. I know they young man to be very smart and very articulate.
You are a civil society activist and has been very actively leading an organization. What does One Love Foundation stand for?
When you talk about a foundation, there are those who think it’s just about feeding the people in IDP camps or it’s only about those who can’t eat. We have been doing this for 25 years now.
Over a decade ago, we led a protest to Bénin-Lagos road and I called the attention of the federal government and they put in over 300 billion to make sure the road becomes motorable. Even though there are still issues on the toad now, they heard us and worked on that road. I also went to a place called Gelegele, it’s like Oloibiri, where they discovered the second oil well. People there were impoverished and never regarded. I made sure that they were compensated and the roads are built. Though the road is bad again now. We have also led a campaign to reform the police. I am not in the police but we police the police, because you as a civilian has to police the police. But we are leading a campaign to stop extrajudicial killings. You don’t have a right to stop anyone saying they are doing 419 and you want to check their phones. That’s barbaric, that’s not humane. For that reason they have been killing innocent people if you don’t give them money.
Also too, the police are being over used, over stretched, over abused, over disrespected, they have no guns, they have no shoes, they have no patrol vans, they have no bullets and that is making them very unhappy. So they are transferring their aggression to the citizens. Otherwise, Nigerian police is the best all over the world when it comes to human intelligence but the government has failed the police.
We need to look at this area, and besides that, I go to hospitals and pay bills for those who cannot afford, cloth the naked, feed the hungry, comfort the distressed and visit those who are in jail.
My scope in the foundation has no limits.
Lastly, let it be on record that I have no issues against Obaseki other than governance. People think I am fighting him, but that’s not true. All I want is good governance. No man fought Oshiomhole the way I did. Oshiomhole has his flaws but he is a good man.
We went to Lagos when they wanted to sell Edo house and we stopped it.
Oshiomhole was one of the first civilized governors to call for a town hall meeting in Nigeria. We were asking Oshiomhole questions and he was asking us back. He was close to our heart and knew our pains. He will go himself and inspect roads and say that they are bad, and there were a lot of roads that NDDC and others are doing badly, and Obaseki can’t even put up a team to monitor them.