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Race for Edo governorship seat

Race for Edo governorship seat

By Gabriel Omonhinmin

The forthcoming governorship election in Edos state, tagged Edo 2016, promises to be very interesting and a high wire political game. As to be expected, there have been a gradual build up to the election that will produce a successor to the incumbent Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who will be completing his two term of eight years political tenure as governor of Edo State. The unique and interesting thing about the election is the desperate maneuver by the political gladiators in the state to produce Oshiomhole’s successor.

One is, therefore, not surprised at the intensity of the present struggle and the desperation with which the political actors are trying to outdo one another. The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the two dominant political parties in the state are interestingly having a field day and fair share of this political rascality, all in a bid to produce what the political godfathers considered to be a credible and acceptable candidate that will be packaged and sold to the Edo State people as Governor.

Calculations are already on during this pre-election preparation and repositioning of candidates, already the ruling APC and the PDP seem to be making a grievous mistake; if the present political calculations of both parties are not redesigned or properly handled, it may spell doom for the political parties when the election proper comes.  Unfortunately, some of the political gladiators, who are supposed to know the likely consequences of deliberately omitting the political interest of a particular section of the state in the governorship equation, are sadly pretending as if all is well. Again they are making the people to believe that the factor at stake is not important to the common survival of the Edo people.

Hence, this intervention, I must confess, that from my knowledge of Nigeria, and the factors that bind us as a country, after the people of Ekiti State, the next homogenous state is Edo. For good or for evil, the people have managed over the years to use this chemistry for the survival and general well-being of the state since the creation of Bendel and now Edo State. This political factor which is crucial to the continuous survival of Edo state cannot now be wished away for any political logic or abracadabra by any section of the state. If this recklessness continues the way things are now, it may be very difficult to predict its backlash in the not too distant future. So, my appeal to those people behind this ill-conceived and selfish action(s) is to stop and have a rethink in the overall interest of the people of Edo State.

Now a little insight into the political history of our dear state,  if this will in any way help those behind the deliberate effort to divide Edo State into ethnic groups have a rethink. In 1991, the present chairman of APC, John Odigie Oyegun, became the first executive Governor of Edo State under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the transition to democracy launched by General Ibrahim Babangida.  John Odigie Oyegun, a Bini man from Edo South senatorial district assumed office and served from January 1992 to November 1993, his Deputy Peter Obadan is from Owan in Edo North and thereafter they were removed from office as the Executive Governor of Edo State after General Sani Abacha seized power.  At the start of the Fourth Republic in Nigeria, after the sudden demise of General Abacha, Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion, another Bini man from the same senatorial district, was elected as the governor of Edo State, while Mike Oghiadomhe, an Etsako man from Edo north became his deputy, from May 29, 1999 to 29 May 2007.

In April 2007, Professor Osaremien Osunbor an Esan man from Edo central senatorial district, assumed the mantle on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but he allowed power to slip from his grip on March 20, 2008, when the Edo State Governorship Election Tribunal declared his election as invalid and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw his certificate, paving way for Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole of the Action Congress (AC) party to be declared winner.

On November 11, 2008, a Federal Appeal Court sitting in Benin City upheld the ruling of the state’s election petitions tribunal that declared Oshiomhole the Governor of Edo State.

From 2008 till date, Oshiomhole, an Etsako man from Edo North Senatorial district has been occupying the office of the Edo State Governor while a Bini man from Edo South Senatorial district remains his deputy. Within this long period of time, the people of Edo Central Senatorial district have largely remained irrelevant in the scheme of things in Edo State.

All what they have been given as compensation is peripheral political position, which to me as an Esan man makes no sense. Chief Tony Anenih, the political Godfather of Edo politics, though in an unofficial position, before Oshiomhole came and dismantled his political structures, did not help in the political and infrastructural advancement of the people of Edo central in general. Whatever gains there were, only  accrued to him and his political hangers-on.

The issue of potable water, which has been the problem in Esan land since the first republic is still there glaringly for all to see. Uromi, the home town of Chief Anenih lacks drinkable water. While I remain a proud Esan man, my mother Amina is from Etsako, where I grew up with my grandmother, Auta Elemah, in Auchi . I am not a fan of Oshiomhole but the truth must be told about the facelift, infrastructural development and political empowerment of the Etsako people under Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole. The rapid development and transformation of Etsako towns and villages is unprecedented in the history of Etsako and Afemah land. He has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it is possible to occupy a high office for the benefit of the people.

Since the political debate among political interest groups and actors assume a higher tempo in the state all in an effort to position their candidates to contest the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State in 2016, I have listened to all manner of arguments, some reasonable, others idiotic and outrightly senseless while other side of arguments are just selfish and myopic. I am, however, shocked and disappointed that the present chairman of Edo State chapter of APC, Anslem Ojezua, in a recent statement was quoted as saying “that people who never worked for the emergence of APC as a political party are now jostling to pick the party’s ticket in the forthcoming election”.

I will want to seize this opportunity therefore to challenge Ojezua to make public his spectacular contribution or role in the formation of APC  other than being Tom Ikimi’s Personal Assistant and just another member of the crowd in Edo State during the formation of APC as a political party. People like Prince Tony Momoh, whom I know, as a matter of fact, helped in the conception from the embryo and worked tirelessly by criss-crossing the entire length and breadth of Nigeria, pleading and convincing notable politicians on the need to join the then opposition political party that wrestled power and pushed the PDP out of office has never made any noise about his contributions.

This very modest and unique contribution towards the formation of APC is a worthy example to be emulated. But for some people, why should anybody from Edo Central seek the office of Edo State Governor, as this will make them lose their positions? In conclusion, my take in all this, is that for fairness, justice, equity and fair play that will lead to a more united Edo State, the next Governor must naturally be a person from Edo Central. Hence, the resolve to firmly and stoutly support the aspiration of Architect Austin Ilenre Emuan, to clinch the APC ticket for the Edo State Governorship seat.

 •Omonhinmin  writes from Lagos.

-Sun

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Posted by on Jan 26 2016. Filed under Edo, Headlines, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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