BY EBOMHIANA MUSA
It is no longer news that the Comrade Governor of Edo State had a landslide victory in the July 14 governorship election in the state, scoring over 77 per cent of the total valid votes cast. It is also known that the governor is set to be inaugurated for the second term in office come Monday, November 12.
Therefore, by this huge success, one could conveniently say that the governor has erased all previous records of election victory in the state and of course, by his performance in office in the last four years. He defeated his opponents in all the 192 wards across the 18 council areas in the state. This giant killer has also delivered concrete democracy dividends in all the nooks and crannies of the state without discrimination against any group or section. Today, there is even development across the three senatorial districts despite the fact that he got the least votes in the central senatorial district in the 2007 polls. The Ishan never wanted him, as they chose to queue behind the godfather.
They never made pretences about this, as they repeated the ‘feat’ in the 2011 polls for the national and state Houses of assembly, where the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) in the state lost the senatorial zone to the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Fortunately, today they have seen the light, dumped the godfather and voted overwhelmingly for the governor. The victory was total. No more darkness in any part of the Edo State. But this victory comes with a lot of challenges.
It was the late MKO Abiola who was quoted to have said that the size of the head determines the severity of the headache that comes with it. By this total victory, the governor has a heavy burden on his shoulders. The burden of accommodating this victorious army and their interests is enormous. I do not really envy the governor, as he surely needs something close to Solomonic wisdom to accommodate all these rampaging forces who are yearning for the piece of the cake.
Trust the politicians; they only go to where their bread can be buttered. The governor is an independent minded core unionist cum politician. So, I have no doubt in my mind that he will successfully steer the ship to a safe berth, notwithstanding pressures from the godfathers. The comrade himself is quick to tell whoever cares to listen that government is like an elephant, big enough to take care of everybody except the greedy and gluttonous ones.
I believe he will stubbornly resist anybody who attempts to twist his arm in his determination to put in place an enviable cabinet in this last lap of his eight-year tenure, a tenure of consolidation for which he will be remembered by generation yet unborn. This is the time to do a proper assessment of the man Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole. The first tenure could be taken as a period of learning. Call it a period of trial and error if you so wish, a period when mistakes can be forgiven. Now, there’s “no more learning curve,” as he usually says. However, I believe there is no shaking.
Yes, no shaking, because his frequent foreign and local trips outside Benin City since July 14 are not for jamboree, especially for a workaholic like him. It was all attempts to flee from political pests to safe haven conducive for cerebral work. This is why I always dismiss with a wave of the hand when some people talk of an implosion in the ACN before 2015. I tell them that the ACN has come to stay here.. Edo served and worshipped the PDP, like a god for close to a decade; something akin to fanatical support. Instead of succour, she was battered, raped and abandoned. So, I do not really see this victim going back to the party that thoroughly abused her.
With all sense of responsibility, I must say that those who talk of an implosion in the ACN if this success is not properly managed are living in a fool’s paradise because the man on the driver’s seat, with the assistance of his conductors, will surely grow the party in all its ramifications and I dare say that the party will outlive them all. But permit me to sound a bit selfish at this juncture. I am an authentic Etsako man. No apologies. So, I proudly belong to the second largest ethnic group in the state, ranked after the Bini. I am also proud to say here that within Etsako itself, my local government is the least in terms of population but about the richest in terms of human capacity.
This is a local governments that boasts of a sizeable number of retired military generals cutting across the three services. It is home to former number two man in this great country, Admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe, General Luke Ajiama, Brig Gen Alfred Ilogho, who was former Commander in Liberia, Serria Leone and the JTF in Warri at the peak of the armed militancy in the Niger Delta Region. The list is endless. The Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan is also from here. So it is understandable if one says it is one of the politically volatile councils in the state.
Etsako Central has 10 strong wards with 79 polling units and 39, 387 registered voters (as at 2011 general election). For administrative and probably for political convenience, the council is divided into four zones. Zones one and two have three wards each. Zone three, two wards, while the latest creation of them all, zone four also has two wards. Unfortunately, some of the wards in the zones, to say the least, have only existed on paper in terms of distribution of political offices.
This lopsided distribution of political appointments is dated back to the beginning of this Fourth Republic. For instance, ward three (zone one), ward 5 (zone four), wards 7&8 (zone2) and ward10 (zone three) have been groaning and weeping silently over what some of them called injustice and unfair distribution of political appointments in the council . They have been under the perpetual oppression of other wards in the council area.
This is rather unfortunate because they are not in any way lacking in human capacity. Relatively, this present government in the state has tried to right the wrong in the last four years. As a man who abhors injustice in all its ramification, it is hoped that the comrade governor will further look in the direction of these “unfortunate” people and put smiles on their faces as he settles for a new government to run for the next four years.
They should never be left to feel as if they are not wanted in the local government. • Musa is a Public affairs analyst based in Benin City, Edo State.