Professor Ebegue Amadasun, a professor of Anasthesiology and the Chairman of the Edo State Hospital Management Board, is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, he speaks about on ambition and other partisan issues. Excerpts:
Why do you decide to join the governorship race?
For me it is not new. I was an aspirant in 1991 in the old Social Democratic Party (SDP). I only vied for the party nomination with John Odigie Oyegun, the current National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) who eventually emerged as the party candidate. So, I am just going back to the old turf.
Are you not worry as one of the aspirants that the governor is allegedly supporting one of the aspirants?
I think the governor has given copious reasons for his action. As member of the party and besides, the governor is entitled to his choice. Moreso, be the most prominent individual in the party by virtue of being governor and hence the leader in the state he should have an interest as to whom succeeds him. But, that does not trampled on the right of any other member of the party to aspire. It is going to be a free and fair primaries and so if the governor’s candidate wins we will all join in working for him to make sure that we win the election and I guess if it is otherwise all the members will also join to make sure that whomever emerges is assisted to become the governor of the state.
Why do you consider yourself as the best and most qualified person to succeed governor, Adams Oshiomhole?
I am the oldest politician among the aspirants. I just told you that, 25 years ago, I was a gubernatorial aspirant and ever since I have been in politics even though I have not been contesting elections. I am a consultant at UBTH, but I have been the leader of my people all this while and I think it is time to go back to what I left behind in the 1991. So, as far as political experience and knowing what the people want. If it is so, who do you think is better qualified than me? Is it grassroots ability, orientation or in whatever area you think any other person on the field is qualified more than I? I believe I am the best.
There are fears that the APC may explode after the party primaries, if the right thing is not done?
There is no reason why the right thing will not be done. From experience since the advent of the present political dispensation primaries elections are usually be free and fair. They are usually done in the open especially for primaries like this, we go to the stadium where people come out in the open take their ballot papers, vote whomever they want, drop it in the box and there after the ballot papers are sorted and counted. So, whoever is a democratic should be able to accept who emerges from such an exercise if it is seemed as free, fair and transparent I will support anybody that come out from such process.
Have you been asked by anybody or group to work for a particular aspirant?
That will be undemocratic and nobody would want to try and coerce me to do what is undemocratic when they know that I am a democrat.
If given the opportunity to govern the state, how do you intend to impact on the political and economic development of the state?
Again, that is the crux of the matter because, before now, several people have asked me this question. My answer has been that it is generally acclaimed that Adams Oshiomhole has done well whoever comes after him must strive to improve on what he is leaving behind. The most important aspect of that will be the economic because every other facets of development will drive from the economic. If the economic is poor, revenue will be dwindled, services will not be maintained, and salaries may no longer be paid among others. It becomes a vicious circle. Whoever wants to succeed Oshiomhole must aim to expand the economic base of the state beyond what he or she meet. That is exactly what I intend to do.
How do you intend to expand the revenue base of the state beyond what Oshiomhole has done?
Governor Adams Oshiomhole is acclaimed to have improved on the internally generated revenue of the state more than a 1000 percent than what he met. Taxation means giving a part of your earning to government for its services because those services are what make you to earn the money in the first place. Taxation is not confiscation. We must improve on the taxation process to the extent that the people can appreciate it. This part is blessed with good climate, fertile soil and it is very difficult for me to understand why agriculture is not thriving beyond subsistence level that it is today and that is because of the orientation of the average farmers. Firstly, most of them are uneducated, secondly, most of them see farming as earning a living, to feed the family but elsewhere outside our shore farming is business. It is not just a means of livelihood it is business. One we have to teach our people that because I have heard some of my aspirant colleagues promising to mechanize agriculture. My question is how? Are you going to give every farmer a tractor? I intend to reintroduce the agricultural extension services. I know what it means to send agric assistant to the hinterland to teach farmers the best method, make available to them the best seedlings and to also to bring from them information to the centre and let government know how best they can be helped. That was one way of doing it. Additional way of doing it, is that government should also make available to the farmers the best yielding varieties of seeds. What you can do is to make life a little more bearable in the rural areas with the provision of essential services like water, electricity, communication, good motorable road, and good health facilities among other. Many of these agricultural goods are perishable. Government should be able to establish adequate storage facilities, silos for grains and processing mechanism for other products like the tubers among others. These are simple that does not need peculiar or rocket science to do buy by the time you put in sufficient intellect and work into agriculture you will see the yield coming, improve on employment generation, increase economic yields and IGR will indirectly increase. This is just one aspect to improve on IGR.
As a medical practitioner, and if given the mandation to rule the. How do you intend to develop the health sector to eradicate or reduce to barest minimum medical tourism?
The current Health Management Board is just about 18 months in office now. Since we can on board there has been very positive improvement in the rendering services. The structures are there, they are being maintained. what hitherto was missing was lukewarm attitude of personnel to work. I came from UBTH where things work and held responsible for any misdemeanor. I instituted this monthly publication of statistics because I want to know the output on monthly basis of each of the doctor. I want to know how many patients each consultant sees in he/her clinic monthly. How many operations each consultant does monthly in his clinic. By the result start coming they were staggering and I just called the management people and said is this believable? How can you say a consultant will have seven operations over six months? If it was his/her hospital can he/she maintain services from the fees of seven operations in six months about an average of one operation in one month? With that being enough to pay your bill, pay your nurses and other auxiliary staff? I said this can’t go on. I even reported to the comrade governor. The truth of the matter is that, by the time they now knew that they were being watched, they improved. People started coming to work earlier than they used to do.
Some persons have complained that APC is not doing enough to showcase the achievements of the governor. What is your comment on that?
If you say there is room for improvement, I won’t argue much with you. But, even the governor himself is a chief propagandist. Every year there is celebration of the anniversary of his government. The last one was the 7thones that was done last November and during the sixth anniversary there was a publication of bronchure highlighted the achievements of the governor. I think there has been sufficient publicity