2016 Governorship: Echoes From Edo Central | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2016 Governorship: Echoes From Edo Central

Posted: Jun 3, 2015 at 12:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Onoiribholo, Benin City


With the recently conducted national elections, considered free and fair to a large extent by majority of Nigerians, the searchlight should as a matter of natural sequence, shift towards the coming governorship election in Edo State in 2016.

In the search for the successor to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, projections and analyses have mainly centered on the credibility of emerging aspirants, irrespective of which part of the state they come from.

However, in what can be safely referred to as a major prognosis into the political fortunes of Edo State in 2016, the people of Esan have articulated reasons, based on data and inferences, to validate their agitation for the occupation of ‘Osadebe Avenue’ when the whistle sounds.

Perhaps, the recent creation of a website by one of the aspirants to the seat of the governor, from Edo South, may have spurred further need for mobilization among the Edo Central people, keenly aware of the fact that this is a cause which they can justifiably champion in their own favour.

The Edo Central Senatorial District has, therefore, concluded plans to assume the governor’s seat, convinced that, in reference to fairness and equity, it is their turn to produce the next governor for the state.

At a recent meeting in Uromi, the administrative headquarters of Esan North-East Local Government Area, a standing committee of the Esan Elders Forum noted that, apart from the four years of late Prof. Ambrose Alli in the Second Republic and the 18 months of Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, no Esan man or daughter had held the position of governor in the state.

This was also echoed by the President of the Good Governance and Integrity Group, Dr. Austin Itoya Ehiosun, who declared in a statement that, “From our recent political history as Edo State (1991-2015), the military ruled for six years (1993-1999), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Lucky Igbinedion, from Edo South Senatorial District, ruled for a total of nine and half years; Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor (one and half years), and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from Edo North Senatorial Zone, from 2008 – till date.

“From the above analysis, it is obvious that political inclusiveness and self-evidence would dictate the following unavoidable outcome in 2016, that an Esan man from Edo Central Senatorial District, should and must occupy Edo State Government House.

“The struggle for equity and fairness, in the history of mankind, has often been successful even if tortuous – because it is a just cause.”

Opinions from the entire state point to the fact that there is a swirl of support for the project which many see as not only timely but also desirable. Besides equity and justice, unity, cohesion and even continuation of the giant development strides of the current governor, the challenge is Esan bound.

The group lamented the existing political alienation and pointed out that in the present political dispensation in Edo State, the Esan man has become an endangered species; revealing that of the seven top political positions in the state, only one is occupied by their kith and kin. The positions referred to include that of the governor occupied by an Edo North person, Deputy Governor (Edo South), Speaker of the House of Assembly (Edo South), Chief Judge (Edo South), Secretary to the State Government (Edo North), Chief of Staff (Edo South) and Head of Service (Edo Central).

According to the group, whether by design or innocuously inadvertent, these facts as stated tendentiously evoke sympathy and the claim to the governorship position by the Esan people can hardly be faulted against the backdrop of Edo State being considered one of the most homogeneous in the country when viewed under the kaleidoscope of origin, linguistic, cultural and traditional ties.

Consequently, it can be understood when the group surmised that, “It is scandalous and disgraceful for the current government that out of the first seven top positions of government, only one man of Esan extraction was found fit and capable to occupy a position.”

The group further stated that “Edo State belongs to all Edo people, therefore, Esan and many other well-meaning Edo people will no longer fold their hands to allow or accept gross marginalization and misrepresentation to perpetuate itself in governance. A word is enough for the wise.”

Since rotational leadership has become un-officially recognized in most appointments and political office holding in the country, it is only reasonably expected that it should be allowed to permeate unhindered, all aspects of life; whether at the national, state or local levels of interaction.

To this end, some of the capable, prominent and efficient members of the Esan stock who are fit to be governor of Edo state are the former Governor, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor. Osunbor as a former governor of the state within the 18 months he was at the saddle did touch all sections of the state, he was a high performer in the area of road, schools, health facilities etc. No wonder so many people still clamours for his return.

Also, Comrade Peter Esele who cut his teeth as a leader per excellence as President of PENGASAN is a goal-setter who as Trade Union Congress president piloted the affairs of this great labourorganization nationwide with such enviable skill and administrative ability.

Others include, Barr. Anselm Ojezua, APC State Chairman; Barr. Kenneth Imansuangbon, already known in the state as the ‘Rice Man’; Arc. Mike Onolemhemhen, immediate past Minister of Works, whose performance in the ministry has been applauded all over the country, Theophilus Okoh, an international businessman; Chief Francis Inegbeneki, also an international businessman and Matthew Okpebho the Ray Royal Construction giant. Late Professor Ambrose Alli remains in the hannals of defunct Bendel State bifurcated into Edo / Delta States as representing that period when great development structures pervaded the entire state with free education taking deserved centre stage. Therefore, the emergence of another Esan person as governor of Edo State portends unimaginable all round development potentials.

According to the Coordinator of Esan Political Forum, Abor Airelogbe, ‘it is the turn of the Esan people to produce the next governor of Edo State but again, it is a known fact that the Esan people, just like any other linguistic group, cannot make it alone. Therefore, knowing the people of Edo State as reasonable and politically mature, the Esan people can solicit the support of Edo South and Edo North senatorial districts to make it into government house in 2016.”