By Dr. Chryss OKONOFUA
Asue Ighodalo is eminently qualified to contest gubernatorial elections into Osadebe House in Benin City. He is also an illustrious Esan son. We are very proud, as Esan people, to have these many accomplished sons and daughters dotted all over the world. How much Esanland has felt their impact in terms of development and identification is a matter for another day.
However, there are a number of potentially unpleasant issues with his candidacy.
Firstly, It is unclear whether he has been an open member of PDP. We do not know if he is a registered member yet; or if his membership is being fast or back (fore warded).
Secondly, it appears he is being ‘shunted’ into the queue of would be and eminently qualified candidates vying to move into Osadebe House in 2024.
Thirdly, Asue, does not appear (in my view) politically battle tested. At least, we are unable to observe visible or invisible political battle marks and scars on his slate. I hope political skin will be able to tolerate the cacophony of diverse voices, different shades of opinions, passions and political javelins that manifest in Edo politics.
It’s necessary to note that board room politics is different from street politics. In the former, it’s easy to overwhelm the audience with good grammar, compelling academic qualifications and arguments. In the latter it is trench warfare and urban combat tactics that are needed.
Fourthly, Asue grew up in Lagos and schooled at Ibadan. Like Obaseki, he has this seeming conquistador mentality and British ‘civilizing’ mission agenda.
Unfortunately, I have not seen it work for Obaseki. I doubt if it will work for him!
Fiftly, Obaseki appears to have been forced on the then APC, and inherited by PDP. His presence in PDP has been (at best) divisive and, has created a gulf capable of swallowing PDP in Edo State.
We must thank God for the general resolve of Edoites not to be intimidated and cowed by the threats presented by Federal ‘might’ or by the fight put up by Jagaban or the over reach of Oshiomhole in the last elections.
We stood with him and by him and for him. He won! But we are not now (exactly) rejoicing at the outcome.
However, the times have changed. Our opponents now have a performance baseline for comparative analysis, after eight years in office. The various mega phones and aligning social and traditional media affiliates of APC have been busy show-casing failed roads and dilapidated school buildings in view of telling the world that PDP and Obaseki have failed Edo state.
Besides, Tinubu, the Jagaban, has not forgotten the humiliating “Edo nor be Lagos” victory song of Edo youths, just a few years ago.
He also now has the federal purse, the sycophantic law enforcement and military apparatus of the federal government and a renewed vigor and determination to realize his sole objective of wresting Edo State from PDP. His passion should not be under rated.
This is why am concerned!
That at this crucial time in our fight for true representation, the Governor appears to be pushing forward a candidate that is hardly known.
It’s further baffling that in furthering the candidacy of this candidate, the Governor is not thinking of the division within the party and its potential of being widened by his fielding an unknown candidate.
This is even more so that the performance of this Governor has not been well advertised for the people to know and understand.
It is to be understood that one of the reasons for the poor advertisement of the Governor’s achievement is the fragmentation of the party in principles and practices. This division is likely to be cashed in on by the opposition party APC.
A candidates like John Yakubu who is well known, battle tested, with records that need no searchlight, passionate about the Edo of our dreams, and battle ready, should be encouraged and fielded. This is an all party candidate PDP can rally around and field for the greater glory. Some APC and labour party members will cross carpet for the sake of John Yakubu.
I appeal to Governor Obaseki to see reason rather than friendship in supporting a candidate of his choice. Put Edo and it’s people first. An APC victory will see the demise of PDP in Edo State.