Tony Momoh
Prince Tony Momoh, the journalist par excellence, a bibliotherapist and cultural engineer is the 165th child of Momoh the first. He is the third of the four children his mother had for Momoh the first and his mother was the junior of the three groups into which the Momoh Household of 45 wives and 245 children were organised.

Obaseki Has A Choice To Bow Out Of Governorship Race Or Fight On –Tony Momoh

Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information and one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the governorship primaries of the party and options ahead of him. Excerpts:

With his disqualification by the APC Screening committee from partic­ipating in the primaries, will you be surprised if Governor Obaseki dumps the APC for another political party in order to realise his mandate?

It’s a choice. The governor, having been disqualified has the opportunity to lodge an appeal to the Appeal Committee and later to the National Working Committee (NWC) . Although the NWC said that their decision is final, the governor can also go to court. But since the governor said that he is not going to appeal his disqualifi­cation; then he will leave the mat­ter, finish his term and go or maybe opt for a ‘Plan B’. Plan B can mean any other thing. There are 15 polit­ical parties contesting in Edo state; APC is one of them. Obaseki can go to any of the parties and if they give him their ticket, he can still contest the election. There is free­dom of movement among political parties. That is another option for him. He can as well say he is tired and will rather remain in APC and not contest again. So, the options are open to the governor and it is left for him to take decisions. Let’s assume he leaves the party, then there will be less concern for bloody confrontations as predicted for Edo state. It means then that if the governor is in party A or B outside APC, then the election will be more peaceful relatively than if he was to remain in APC and they fight out the battle.

Another thing is, if he leaves the APC, the battle in court may lapse if it is a party. But if it is not a party, then the battle in court may continue until the courts fi­nally decide. If the courts decide in favour of APC and it wins, then it will continue after the election. If APC wins and the courts decide against APC, then the situation will be like it happened in Bayelsa and Zamfara. I am only analysing the consequences of what may happen, I am not praying for any of them to happen because I’m a national leader of APC and I will continue to support the party. I am only speaking now as a monitor of governance on the consequences of action.

With University of Ibadan coming out to attest that he was an alumnus, do you think the disqualification of the governor by the Screening committee is justified?

Let me tell you this. I blame the governor over the credentials is­sue. I have Primary School Leaving Certificate but I don’t know where it is. If I don’t know where it is, then I won’t plead it unless I swear to an affidavit in court to protect me. If he pleaded documents and he doesn’t have proof of those documents, that is grounds for disqualification. Do you know that since 2003 when President Muhammadu Buhari started con­testing elections, he has been using School certificate? That is what he has been presenting.

Do you know that Buhari has all the qualifications in military and a Masters degree from US? But the fact is, he has never pleaded all those qualifications. So, what you plead or presented, you must prove. If Governor Obaseki attended HSC and doesn’t have the certificate to present, that will be a ground for the screening committee to say he is claiming what he doesn’t have. That of the University has been taken care of because the Uni­versity of Ibadan has attested to the fact that he was finished from there and his records are intact.

Obaseki Has A Choice To Bow Out Of Governorship Race Or Fight On –Tony Momoh

POLITICSBy Temidayo Akinsuyi 5:00 am , Mon, 15 June 20

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Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information and one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on the disqualification of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the governorship primaries of the party and options ahead of him. Excerpts:

With his disqualification by the APC Screening committee from partic­ipating in the primaries, will you be surprised if Governor Obaseki dumps the APC for another political party in order to realise his mandate?

It’s a choice. The governor, having been disqualified has the opportunity to lodge an appeal to the Appeal Committee and later to the National Working Committee (NWC) . Although the NWC said that their decision is final, the governor can also go to court. But since the governor said that he is not going to appeal his disqualifi­cation; then he will leave the mat­ter, finish his term and go or maybe opt for a ‘Plan B’. Plan B can mean any other thing. There are 15 polit­ical parties contesting in Edo state; APC is one of them. Obaseki can go to any of the parties and if they give him their ticket, he can still contest the election. There is free­dom of movement among political parties. That is another option for him. He can as well say he is tired and will rather remain in APC and not contest again. So, the options are open to the governor and it is left for him to take decisions. Let’s assume he leaves the party, then there will be less concern for bloody confrontations as predicted for Edo state. It means then that if the governor is in party A or B outside APC, then the election will be more peaceful relatively than if he was to remain in APC and they fight out the battle.

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Another thing is, if he leaves the APC, the battle in court may lapse if it is a party. But if it is not a party, then the battle in court may continue until the courts fi­nally decide. If the courts decide in favour of APC and it wins, then it will continue after the election. If APC wins and the courts decide against APC, then the situation will be like it happened in Bayelsa and Zamfara. I am only analysing the consequences of what may happen, I am not praying for any of them to happen because I’m a national leader of APC and I will continue to support the party. I am only speaking now as a monitor of governance on the consequences of action.

With University of Ibadan coming out to attest that he was an alumnus, do you think the disqualification of the governor by the Screening committee is justified?

Let me tell you this. I blame the governor over the credentials is­sue. I have Primary School Leaving Certificate but I don’t know where it is. If I don’t know where it is, then I won’t plead it unless I swear to an affidavit in court to protect me. If he pleaded documents and he doesn’t have proof of those documents, that is grounds for disqualification. Do you know that since 2003 when President Muhammadu Buhari started con­testing elections, he has been using School certificate? That is what he has been presenting.

Do you know that Buhari has all the qualifications in military and a Masters degree from US? But the fact is, he has never pleaded all those qualifications. So, what you plead or presented, you must prove. If Governor Obaseki attended HSC and doesn’t have the certificate to present, that will be a ground for the screening committee to say he is claiming what he doesn’t have. That of the University has been taken care of because the Uni­versity of Ibadan has attested to the fact that he was finished from there and his records are intact.Loading…

He came in in 1976 and left in 1979. They have cleared him and nobody can question that. So, if he had just presented University of Ibadan certificate, that would have been the only certificate the committee will use; but he plead­ed many other documents. For instance, his NYSC certificate, the committee said his surname was written as ‘OBASEK’ instead of ‘OBASEKI’. But that is not a ground for disqualifying him be­cause the document was made by NYSC and not him. But the screen­ing committee said they did not disqualify him on the basis of that but he would have gone to NYSC and protested and get a statement from them that he is the same as ‘OBASEK’ or they replace the cer­tificate with another one bearing his correct name.

if you have a certificate you are pleading and you do not have the original certificate to back it up, you swear to an affidavit about what happen to the original cer­tificate. The best thing politicians can do is to present the minimum qualification that the constitution said you need. You don’t need to present all the certificates in the world because nobody wants to set an examination for you. But once you submit a document, you must be able to prove that you actually possess the document.

Some Nigerians believe President Buhari’s failure to step in when stake­holders such as APC governors want­ed him to led to the current situation. Do you think the President should have intervened?

The national chairman of the party is in charge of party affairs while the national convention is the supreme body. The NEC follows the national convention and executes the decision of the national convention. The NWC is the administrative arm of the NEC. The NWC meets as regularly as it can because it is the adminis­trative arm of the party. That be­ing the case, the President cannot overrule the decision of the NEC. He can only advise and that is what he has been doing. Why will anybody think that the President has not done anything about it? I think people really need to under­stand what due process is because the constitution of the APC is very clear on issues like this and I know the President will not do anything contrary to that.

Do you see President Buhari cam­paigning for Ize- Iyamu if he becomes the governorship flagbearer of your party, especially looking at some of the things Oshiomhole said about him four years ago?

The motto of politics is lying. For instance, an American con­gressman was told to apologise be­fore leaving the Congress because of fraud but he refused, saying he won’t apologise. He said he was only exercising his calling as a pol­itician to tell lies. So, politicians tell lies and they live on lies. That was why I said If I had contested, I will not win a ward election be­cause I will tell my people that the resources to do roads, water and other things will be determined by how much they pay in tax. But an average politician will come and promise to give them free ed­ucation, free houses, pay for your weddings and then on the basis of those promises, the people will vote for him. if politicians quarrel and almost kill themselves today, if they see themselves tomorrow, they will still embrace.

That Oshiomhole campaigned against Ize-Iyamu in 2016 doesn’t mean that they are permanent en­emies. That is why they said no permanent friend in politics but permanent interests. If tomor­row, Oshiomhole now wants to campaign for Ize-Iyamu and he says Ize-Iyamu is the best poli­tician in the world, it is normal in politics. If Ize-Iyamu becomes APC candidate of APC, as nation­al chairman, he cannot go out and say Ize-Iyamu is a bad man, don’t vote for him. That is politics for you.

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