From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo Central senatorial district, Chief Francis Inegbeneki, has said that the candidacies of the two governorship candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Esan extraction is a blessing to the Esan region and not a curse.

The PDP has Asue Ighodalo as its governorship candidate while the APC has Senator Monday Okpebholo as its own governorship candidate. Both are from the Esan-speaking extraction.

He said this while fielding questions from newsmen in his Benin City residence.

Inegbeneki said that the region is going to place their wealth of experiences into play in the forthcoming governorship election having known that the two contestants are from the central.

“I will not say it is going to place the Esan people in a tight corner rather it is going to be the best thing that has ever happened to the Esan people.

“In the past, we have had national chairmen from very strong political parties who were from Esan. At the time we had from the National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) both from Esan.

“I must tell you that Esan people are very pragmatic politicians. If you check the history of democracy, in Nigeria, you will see that the Esan people have always played a significant role in any of the democracy so far.

“So, this time around, we are going to teach people politics and other people will learn from this election that Esan, despite the fact that both leading parties and their candidates are from Esan, it is going to be a blessing to Esan and not a curse.

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“There will not be any much problems as I said earlier, the people will decide. No bad blood because politics is not war.

“Those who want to vote for PDP, will vote for PDP and those who want to vote for APC in Esan land, will vote for APC in Esan land but at the end of the day, the people will decide”, Inegbeneki said.

While also commending Senator Okpebholo, he said that he has been able to learn the art of winning from the late Chief Tony Anenih and he is going to do it again, come September 21.

“Senator Okpebholo graduated from the college of Late Chief Tony Anenih. He learnt very well. As you can see, in 2023, during the senatorial election, you saw that Okpebholo changed the political narrative in Edo Central politics.

“For the first time since 1999, APC has never won Edo Central in the area of senate. It has been PDP all the way but when Okpebholo came out because he was well tutored, only one shot, he got the senatorial ticket and today, he is a senator.

“So, what we are seeing now, is what he has learned from him (late Tony Anenih) and come September, he is going to use that again”, Inegbeneki added.

He maintained that is not being disturbed about the issue of who is a homeboy rather, the electorate will decide who the homeboy is.

“The people will decide who will be their next governor and not issues of homeboy because the people will read between the lines and make up their minds as to whether to vote for somebody in the diaspora or a homeboy.

“So, we will now actually know who is the homeboy or a diaspora boy”, Inegbeneki said.