Desmond Elliot, an actor-turn-politician, has tackled Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, saying that he shouldn’t castigate godfatherism as he wouldn’t be in power without it.
The movie star, who contested and won the Surulere constituency in 2015, was speaking about his incursion into Nigeria’s political scene during a recent interview ahead of Edo election.
Elliot berated the governor for adopting “Edo no be Lagos” as his re-election mantra. He also described his own political career as being a product of godfatherism.
“A godfather always tries to look after the interest of his people. I’m a product of godfatherism but Tinubu has never for one day asked me to do something you know would be detrimental,” he said.
“It’s progressive. So, let him (Obaseki) not castigate the whole thing. If not for godfatherism, would he be where he is today? My point isn’t even about him; it’s that I want to talk about my candidate.”
Obaseki had begun to promote the slogan “Edo no be Lagos” after he ditched the All Progressives Congress (APC) to seek re-election under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Before defection, he met Bola Tinubu for endorsement as a candidate ahead of Edo gubernatorial election but the APC leader had referred him to the direct primaries endorsed by the party.
After the governor went through the direct primaries as recommended, he was disqualified by the committee set-up by Adams Oshiomhole, his estranged godfather, who doubles as his predecessor.
But since his defection to PDP, Obaseki’s campaign strategy to attract votes from Edo people had touched on ending godfatherism, which he said is effective in Lagos but won’t be tolerated in Edo.
Speaking further, Elliot also laughed off the context of Obaseki’s mantra that Edo won’t be like Lagos, claiming the latter shielded the state from achieving the economic prosperity that Lagos has recorded.
“But when you say ‘can not be’, you’re already putting a cover. And I’m a spiritual person. You cannot say such things. We have pastors and Imams that will break the yoke,” the actor added.
“You can’t say it won’t be when Lagos makes an IGR of over 30 billion every month. You can’t hear about unpaid salaries or pension. You see projects coming up, investors, and investment coming.
“We are the fifth-largest economy in Africa. So why will you say Edo can’t be Lagos because you are trying to sell an idea? Let me tell you something, loyalty is important.”