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Edo: Oshiomhole, Anenih and the battle next time

By Akhabue Okogie  
 Published June 28th, 2011

The 2011 general elections have been won and lost. While the winners unite in celebration of their electoral success – some even placed Thank-You outdoor advertorials in very many corners of the state, the losers recline in scornful but very painful mood to lax back on the drawing board for another round of elections.

The winners who walked on their earlier mandates and/or whose political parties delivered on their promises to the people and were so charitably rewarded have learnt their lessons, as much as those who served exultantly at the alter of the godfather; the revered tribal elder to whom some levels of political deity has been attributed.

Now, they have learnt that democracy is not an ethnic census or a gathering of tribal elders where elective offices are allocated to protégés at will. But we must pity Chief Tony Anenih in the twilight of his political dosage as he now has a great political requiem behind him.

The bottom has been knocked-off from his political base, with the cry of freedom renting the entire state and with widespread disaffection occasioned by PDP mis-governance in the past. The cookie crumbled in its entirety. They could not climb the political palm tree with a weak rope made from banana fronds. This is the crux of the matter.
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They all came up wanting in their stewardship, and they were thoroughly disgraced and shown the way out. But their ill-mannered media minders like Okharedia Ihimekpen, Callistus Omoregie, Tony Ikpasaja and Sufuyan Ojeifo attempted to stack heavy stones and pour a large gulf of water in a puny port made of straw! They have been putting their disruptive talents into wrongful use; engaging in blatant blackmail and devious arm twisting of Esan people, inciting them against the Governor.

Okharedia Ihimekpen, in particular is a distortion of human decency that savors the dregs of crude assumption. He has not seen any strand of development in Esan land except for the insane asylum which is his mind. He has a memory so short as to border on amnesia. He has stubbornly stuck his head in the sand and refused to acknowledge the changes that are taking place in Esanland and elsewhere in the state.

He prefers to observe that Governor Oshiomhole is an accident on state political stage: “But the Tribunal and Court of Appeal, in their wisdom, forced him on the people and ever since he has been behaving like a bull in a China shop, reclaiming the state from PDP.”

The stale words had all the worth of shouting “stop” at rushing river. That is how far his brain could carry him with muddled reasoning, disapproving of a mandate that has long been assumed. Ihimekpen thought that by artfully juggling words he could turn PDP desultory stalemate in Edo State into victory for Chief Anenih. Aside that, the above statement did not only call to question the peoples’ sovereign rights to free choice in an election, but also deride the integrity of the judges who voided the farce called victory by PDP in 2007. There is no doubt that PDP is not in the good book of Edo people, even by the reason of their woeful failure in the last April elections.

Yet, they fail to realize that it is easier for an elephant to stand on one foot than the enlightened Edo people to be deceived by the PDP after 10 years of composite ruin. But for such a dynamic, talented, naturally heroic and assertive people to cave in for regressive politics requires a deeper enquiry. It is not unlikely that the godfather’s strategy – infusing threat in the minds of the people and the fear of loosing his patronage of subversive generosity is at the heart of it.

Whatever it is worth, the people have no reason whatsoever to vote a political party into office that craves the retention of their poverty status, ignorance, mass joblessness, disease, insecurity and other indices of chronic underdevelopment. Edo people have no business with a political party whose loudest achievement throughout its 10 years in government was that it solely engaged in the popularization of the mantra “share the money.”

The peoples’ aspirations were shattered by the PDP; they punched unwanted hole in the hope of the people who looked forward to purposeful governance – creation of jobs for the teaming electorate; revamping of comatose health care delivery system that are worse than consulting clinics, rundown public schools where pupils seat on concrete floor in open roof class rooms, state roads that have remain distended and impassable and transportation system that was run aground.

The ACN-led pro-people government under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has changed all that. A coronary of government vision of an effective and affordable transportation service has replaced the non-existent state-owned transport service with 100 units of brand new air-conditioner luxury buses to kick-start a dedicated inter and intra-city commuter bus service.

That, to a large extend, has substantially cushion the problem of transportation for people and it is made affordable for even the very poor to ride in air-condition buses like any other car owner in town.

The determination of Oshiomhole to make meaningful impact in effecting a positive facelift for the Benin metropolis and other selected urban/rural centers in the state is underscored by the spate of road construction works going on that has virtually turned Edo State into a vast construction site.

A total number of 64 roads have either been completed or are near completion in the course of rehabilitation, reconstruction and outright construction, accompanied by side drains, walkways and street lights particularly in built up areas.

But Oshiomhole’s hecklers are wont to say the man has not done anything in Esanland, regardless of the Governor’s avowed commitment for even and equitable allocation of government projects across the state.

To prove them wrong, here are some of the under listed projects embarked upon by the State Government in Edo Central include: the reconstruction of Igueben/Udo road (Edo Central) – ongoing, reconstruction of Isua/Uzenema/Ebele road, reconstruction of Amendokhian/Ugboha road, reconstruction of Irrua/Usugbenu/Ugbegun-Ebudin/Ujiogba road, reconstruction of Igueben/Ewatto/Ohordua road, all in Edo Central, the home stead of “Mr. Fix it”.

The Oshiomhole administration has not defaulted either in his promise to revamp the health sector across the state. Particular mention must be made of his notable strides in Esanland where his political detractors thought he has abandoned. He has constructed two-bedroom staff quarters for facilities in Ewatto (Esan South East), construction of 3-bedroom and 2-bedroom staff quarters for the hospitals at Iruekpen, Ubiaja, Uromi, and Igueben (Esan West, Esan South East, Esan North East).

The state government has completed the renovation of Labour and Maternity Wards at Iruekpen General Hospital, (Esan West), and that of Ekpoma (Esan West). It has also completed the renovation of Uromi Central Hospital (Esan North East), Igueben General Hospital, Olinkpujie Primary Health Centre, (Igueben), Isolo-Emu Primary Health Centre, (Esan South East), Obiyon Primary Health Centre, (Esan North East), Ewohimi Women and Children Hospital, (Esan South East). The Cottage Hospital, Ewu (Esan Central), Cottage Hospital, Usugbenu (Esan Central) and Primary Health Centre, Ujiogba (Esan West) are at the commencement stage.

Arising from the ashes of dilapidated schools where many students were compelled to seat on stones or under the trees, Oshiomhole has renovated several public schools in the state among which are: Annunciation Catholic College , Irrua, (Esan Central, St. John Bosco Grammar School , Ubiaja, (Esan South East) Pilgrims Baptist Grammar School , Ewohimi, (Esan South East).

The contract for the renovation of Our Lady of Lourdes in Uromi (Esan North East) was recently approved by the State Executive Council. Contract for the completion of the administrative building of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Esan West was also endorsed recently while the building two hostels for male and female students for the school have been slated for this year,

Oshiomhole has also embarked on the construction of ground and elevated tanks in all the General Hospitals and Maternity Homes in Esanlnad to compliment the effective utilization of the provided health facilities. He has, within the 12 months of his administration released the sum of N20m to recapitalise the EDP and ensure the supply of genuine, affordable and efficacious drugs and medicaments in all the healthcare facilities under the control of the State Hospital Management Board.

If Governor Oshiomhole steadies himself in delivery on his electoral promises to the people and warms his way steadily into the hearts of his people as it were, the chances are that he will continue in the saddle beyond 2012. The seafarers of ethnic cleansing will surely be consumed by their dementia.

Okogie public affairs analyst wrote in from Uromi, Edo State.

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