May 18, 2024

Edo Politics: Why Oshiomhole Can’t Assume Role of Anenih

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By Simeon OSAJIE

In politics you assume leadership role through trust, credibility, selflessness and detribalized attitude. Also, the ability to bring everyone on board irrespective of tribe, language or class is another quality of a leader.

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These attributes above you can easily relate with the late Chief Tony Anenih, a political tactician and unifier whose political influence spread across the entire Nigeria in his life time.

In Edo State, during the reign of Chief Anenih, who was popularly referred to as “Mr. Fix It”, played the role of a real father. He distributed political appointments and elective positions equally amongst the three senatorial districts. He was never a sectional leader but was for all. He didn’t believe in hate speech rather he saw Edo people as one family.

Records are abound to show that during his time, Chief Tony Anenih empowered several people in Edo North, like Chief Tunde Akogun, Senator Yisa Braimoh, Senator Kassim Oyofo, Chief Dan Orbih, Late Samson Ikhabafe, late Zakawanu Garuba and many others. In Edo South, General Godwin Abe, (Rtd.) Sunny Uyigue, Hon. Matthew Uduoriyekemwen, who was serving as a House of Assembly member and a member of NDDC at the same period, while in Edo Central, Sen. Odion Ugbesia and Hon. Barr. Akhere Ugbesia, Arch. Mike Onolenmemen, Barr. Matthew Egbadon, Prof. Osarhiemen Osunbor, among others.

But for former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, assuming position of leadership in Edo is an inheritance. He thinks he can achieve leadership position with braggadocio attitude instead of earning it with exemplary attributes. First of all, he tried to talk down on Chief Tony Anenih but he failed totally because the more he tries to do that the more he gives Anenih a larger than life image.

In a nutshell, Chief Anenih brought honour to Edo State through major appointments and developmental projects which are on ground as evidence.

In fact, Chief Anenih supported a Benin man, Chief Lucky Igbinedion to become the Governor of Edo State for two tenures even though he had the power to make his kinsman a governor at that period due to the political influence he had at that time.

He also installed Chief John Oyegun as governor through Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the build up to the 1993 presidential election. Recall also Anenih joined hands with late Samuel Ogbemudia to chase his kinsman, late Prof. Ambrose Alli from Osadebey Avenue.

Anenih did all that because he believed in one Edo. Also, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole became governor through the support of Chief Anenih. I guess Edo people know the story.

But since Chief Tony Anenih died Oshiomhole has made several attempt to assume the power of political leadership in the state, but ending up being a sectional leader due to greed and selfishness.

He started it in his own senatorial district where he has refused to allow Akoko-Edo and Owan people to breathe politically as he makes sure all appointments and national elective positions permanently remain in Etsako. Those two areas have been suppressed politically and the facts are clearly there for Edo people to see.

In recent times, Oshiomhole has also tried to assumed the power of a leader in Edo South Senatorial District where he has always dictated who became the governor of Edo State in that zone. And this has never gone down well with the people in that area, because the last time he did it when he brought in Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Benin people revolted against him by massively voting against his preferred candidate during the governorship election in 2020.

From all indications, it seems he has not learnt a lesson from the past events as history has again repeated itself as he singlehandedly picked a candidate for Edo South senatorial district through the All Progressives Congress, (APC), with the support of Governor Hope Uzodinma who happened to be the chairman of the committee the National Working Committee of the party assigned to conduct the party primary without consulting the political class in Edo South, last weekend.

While Uzodima committee declared Dennis Idahosa from Edo South as winner of the party’s primary election, the returning officer declared Senator Monday Okpebholo “Akpakomiza” from Edo Central as winner of the same primary.

The true results of the primary which earlier was temporarily disrupted by thugs was later announced by the returning officer of the primary election, Mr. Ugboaja Stanley Uzoamaka, Ph.D which many believed is the authentic.

Obviously, Comrade Oshiomhole is not really concerned about the unity of the state neither is his action for the interest of the party but simply for selfish interest and the long existed hatred he has for the Esan nation.

As I write now I begin to feel for the Esan sons and daughters in APC who see Oshiomhole as their demi-god. Will they have the courage to swallow their pride and stand with their kinsman in this coming Edo governorship election just for equity and justice?  Because it is now or never. Will they still boldly come out to work for a candidate Oshiomhole imposed on APC against their kinsmen who may emerge in other political parties?

Another question here is has Edo South handed Oshiomhole the prerogative to be choosing governorship candidate for them in every governorship circle election in Edo State? Or he is now the political leader of Edo South? This question is begging for answer.

Oshiomhole trying to compare himself with Chief Tony Anenih in leadership position in the politics of Edo State is a great insult to the late politician. While Chief Anenih could be described as a unifier who believed in the unity of the people of Edo state because he truly worked for it, that cannot be said of Oshiomhole who believed so much in marginalizing others for greed, division and selfishness.

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