HI guys, find below the non-partisan political commentary from a Bini man on the state of the State, leading up to next month's governorship elections.
Edo State Politics: The Truths and Deceptions
The political landscape of Edo State has become a hotbed of raw politics as we move towards the July, 2012 governorship elections in the state. Unrefined politicking characterized by vicious propaganda, mudslinging, falsehood, make-believe, gimmickry and brutal assassinations has become the order of the day.
In the mindset of Comrade Oshiomhole the battle is not between him and the candidates of the other parties but a foe called Chief Tony Anenih. He believes Chief Anenih is the mountain that must be removed. Many have wondered if Chief Anenih is a candidate in the forthcoming July governorship election. Some have been compelled to ask if the Esan Chief was the immediate past governor of Edo – State. In short, the shadow of Chief Anenih haunts him right from his office to his bedroom. On all the roads renovated or in the schools re – roofed by the A.C.N government there is a bill – board erected with the message; “Tax payers money at work, no more for godfathers “. This seems an apostolic declaration; but the company belonging to the governor’s godfather in Lagos is renovating roads in Benin – City at a cost in excess of a billion naira per kilometer.
It is curious that the A.C.N. government has been unable to show any evidence that Chief Anenih benefited from a single contract in Edo State during the eight years Chief Lucky Igbinedion was governor. Had it been otherwise, the Comrade Governor would have blown it open. Similarly, there is no proof that any of Chief Anenih’s children has benefited from an appointment in any of the three levels of government.
The truth is that Comrade Oshiomhole has leverage in terms of support as a result of the woeful performance of the previous P.D.P. government in the state headed by Chief Lucky Igbinedion. The Comrade is also having the advantage of having emerged from the labor movement. The misdemeanor of labor activists especially the vociferous type who had won bargains for workers is often sheltered from public knowledge. Their wrongdoings are often discountenanced by the unintelligent who have made them cult heroes and who at all times see them as freedom fighters.
The most prized possession of Chief Anenih is the power of silence. He has not uttered a single word to the vituperations of the Comrade Governor. It is this that is putting the Comrade Governor on edge. This is very daunting especially when one is dealing with a master strategist like Chief Anenih. Unfortunately, Comrade Oshiomhole’s extravagant zeal to rout the P.D.P. has been his undoing. He has taken some actions and made unfounded allegations which many believe are demeaning.
Imagine the governor of a state running round the streets to protest an alleged sighting of INEC officers with election materials in a state where he is the Chief Executive. The Comrade Governor led the protest with okada and keke napep (tri – cycle) riders, street urchins and party lubbers behind him. Had the P.D.P. reported same to him (since he is the governor of everybody in the state), would he run round the streets with them? In the ensuing chaos, two A.C.N members fought and one died. Couldn’t he have remained in his office to deal with the problem? Since he renamed the street where Chief Anenih’s house is located after Mr. Oyerinde, his slain aide, he should have renamed the Osadebey Avenue where the government house is located after this dead A.C.N member. A similar blunder was committed when a dumper truck hit Comrade Oshiomhole’s convoy leading to the death of three people. The governor claimed the truck was sent by the P.D.P. whereas it was discovered few days later that the truck belonged to an A.C.N. member.
The Comrade Governor in his cleverness has renovated five major roads terminating at the center of Benin – City. He knows that all eyes would behold their glory. This political stunt has fooled many of my people, the Binis. They forget that Bini land does not start and end with Benin.-City. Bini land which is about 56% of Edo – State land is housing seven local government areas and more than a half of the state’s population. It is a tragedy that many of us know no other place than Benin – City. We have abandoned our villages which are now farm settlements with mud buildings many of which have collapsed. If the Comrade Governor should construct (not renovate) a road in each of the six Local Government Areas in his Senatorial District, he would have surpassed by a wide margin his achievement on roads in Bini land.
Some Bini leaders believe they owe the Comrade Governor a lot of gratitude. They have made him a patron of a Bini heritage organization, a gesture which I consider an abomination for the reason that he is not a Bini. There is no tribe that is superior to the other but we should not desecrate our most revered tradition. If there is a ceremony in Comrade Oshiomhole’s village and the governor is present, priority will be given to a Bini man (even if he is fifteen years’ old) to break the kola nut before the start of proceedings. By so doing they have honored the Oba, themselves and all Edo people. Edos who are not Binis obey the Edo tradition better than us the Binis. May God continue to bless them.
We should appreciate the governor if he has done well but not grovel at his feet. I felt ashamed when a friend told me my Chiefs had been bribed with jeeps and their children made Personal Assistants without offices. There is no wisdom in telling the Binis to vote against their son who is a candidate for reasons other than incompetence. I pray the Binis will not weep without tears when Comrade Oshiomhole will no longer need their votes.
It is unfortunate that we have over exposed our sacred palace to all manner of politiking. I thank God that our revered monarch has put a stop to all this nonsense. It is we, the Binis, who did the governor a favor by massively voting for him. In Nigeria, voting for a governor into office makes the governor an emperor and a billionaire. It should be noted that our governors owe us a duty of good performance.
The problem of Edo State should not be attributed to any imaginary godfather. All the hungry politicians who decamped from the P.D.P to the A.C.N. gave Chief Anenih as the reason for their action. Why did they not decamp when the P.D.P. was in power? If this man alone could shortchange all of them for thirteen years, then, they should be ashamed of themselves. It means they are all worthless.
It is pertinent to inform the unwary that the total length of all the roads renovated in Benin – City by the A.C.N government is not up to the length of the Benin bypass given to the city courtesy of Chief Tony Anenih. He also facilitated the construction of the Benin – Sapele express road and the completion of the Federal Secretariat in the city which had been abandoned since 1975. You are free to hate or despise Chief Anenih, but the fact remains that this is the gospel truth.
Someone once told me the bypass was done with federal government money. I asked him if the renovated roads in Benin – City were done with the Comrade Governor’s pension benefits from the Nigeria Labor Congress. Whichever way we look at it Chief Anenih’s reputation is safe in the hands of instructed people.
We should not be sentimental about the politics in Edo – State. There is nothing extraordinary the Comrade Governor had done. The people are highly taxed and school fees have increased. Few months ago, three female students of the state’s University at Ekpoma fell into a well and died while fetching water. This is a shame. For the four years the Comrade Governor had being in power, the Local Governments have been run using Caretaker Chairmen. He collects all the money since all powers belong to him. This is happening in a state headed by a self ordained apostle of democracy who chants at all time, “one man, one vote”. If we must praise the governor, then, we should make graven images of Governors Chime (Enugu) and Imoke (Cross River) that have performed wonderfully without oil money.
I accept the fact that the previous P.D.P government led by Chief Lucky Igbinedion failed woefully in Edo – State. He did not fail by virtue of his being a P.D.P. member. By the way, who can be more P.D.P. than the Comrade Governor? Didn’t he tell Edo people to vote as President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in an election his party, the A.C.N., had a Presidential candidate? Didn’t he support the federal government’s policy to remove fuel subsidy? It should be known that Chief Lucky Igbinedion financed his election to power. It is for this reason he has never one day verbally assaulted Chief Lucky Igbinedion. Most of the mighty men of the P.D.P. who ruined Edo – State in the previous government have decamped to the A.C.N. party. These include the two A.C.N. Senators in the state. They won their tickets for the Senate with money. They supplanted better candidates who had suffered with the Comrade Governor from the beginning.
We should not allow empty propaganda and noise making becloud our sense of judgment.
Mr. Osagie Jacobs – (A business man)
No 321, Ilepa Street,
Ondo – State.