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Edo Local Councils: Much Ado About Nothing

By Erasmus Ikhide
 Published February 24th, 2009

The people of Edo State have lived under a siege and godfather-dominated political structure since 1999. When it comes to politics, trite elections are power pyramid. This nearly unbroken 11 years of vague domination and subjugation is what makes partial successes of the PDP until they shot themselves in the foot. It is a big relief that the Action Congress, AC has taken the task of reprieve to opening up and fastens the power structure of Edo State political landscape.
The PDP local government chairmen and councilors in the 18 local government councils have never really been there on behalf of the people, vis-ŕ-vis the fraud that attended their elections. They are only focused on their joys, pleasures, and certitudes of their everyday lives. Now, they quivered at the likely disruption of that routine meanness that takes away the peoples’ patrimony for which they earlier pride themselves of retaining till Heaven – knows – when. We have argued repeatedly that electoral corruption will only encouraged and entrenched material corruption and that is what we have had in the last 12-year or so of our democratic experiment.        
There is no use stressing the fact to an elastic point that those who have held Edo State and her people hostage insouciantly for years at the expense of the peoples’ aspiration; amassing unearned wealth and perquisites of mob governance are at best troubled about their dangling fate, at worse, their outright failure to keeping the people in the ditch, perpetually. The foregoing altercation, blackmail and the illogical stand point from which the 18 local councils are viewing their objection to the creation of jobs for the teaming youths of Edo State indigenes and none indigene alike calls for concern.
It is laughable as much as it is bemoaning that the local government chairmen who had confessed to doling out N10 million each every month to minister to the ego of a petite hounds of godfathers – not the people – have engaged themselves in a self-destructive pursuit that will deepened the state’s poverty index in the long run. Granted that it is not easy to change power arrangements even in a nation or state where people have gained tremendous freedom of speech and the right to vote and be voted for, but it is pertinent however that the people whose behest government is constituted deserve the minimum right to access the basics of lives. No government worthy of the name which cannot afford her people that contractual obligation of being there on behalf of the mass of them ever existed.
The most disturbing of it all is the statement credited to the Chairman of Edo State chapter of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties, Dr. Samson Isibor in support of the position of local government chairmen ‘‘that Oshiomhole was only attempting to force the council chairmen elected under the manifesto of another party to contribute to the actualization of the manifesto of his party, the AC’’. That, regrettably confirmed what an elected councilor under the platform of PDP, Owan West local government area of ward 7 told me few days ago in my local government that the job creation drive of Adams Oshiomhole-led administration is a misnamed gambit harped on party patronage for Action Congress AC, members. He gave a logic that had solely characterized PDP style of governance – winner takes all – since 1999. He was categorical that if for instance it was his billing to give job to, say 100 people in his ward the chances are that 99.9 percent will go to his party, the PDP. But when I reminded him that Oshiomhole had appointed other political parties’ as his Commissioner and the like; he retorted to drawing binocular.
Sadly, that is the local government council where, for nearly 8-year the chairman, Daniel Asekhamen has been on sabbatical. He simply emerges from the blues at the end of every month and drives from the state capital, pays salaries and shares other monies and disappeared until it is time to share the next subvention. Now, his status grows over night at the penumbra of the creeping poverty everywhere you turn, while he promptly proceeds to maintain a luxurious lifestyle in the heart of the state capital.     
The job creation is one of the assurances Oshiomhole-led administration had given the good people of Edo State which will remove the state from the parlous state of civil service state to industrialized state. One of the policy trusts of this administration is the creation of jobs for the idle youths; to lead in the vanguard of job creation that will see government at all level embarking on job creation, without which the intimidating army of unemployed youths will break free from the given squalor and idleness and help themselves to criminality. If government is not to partner, cooperate, and work harmoniously in the interest of the people who elected them irrespective of party affiliation, why else is it there?
Whether or not local government council chairmen are ready to cooperate will not deter Oshiomhole-led government to back off from its quest of continuing the actualization of the set objective of job creation. It is on record that Oshiomhole as a social change agent, a very highly organized and disciplined personage, drawing in the main from great physical and inner strength and from his strong moral belief and supreme confidence in his shared theoretical analysis, will make a great impact in Edo State, with or without PDP local government chairmen contributions. If things must change in Edo State , then people have to get out of their routine enlightened self-interests one way or the other. There has to be a social disruption, a process that has a shared political identity such that people can aggregate their wants within a system they help to put in place.
It is disgraceful to hear the local government chairmen whose duty it is to create jobs at the grassroots, but never did, constitute themselves into antiestablishment; just to plead loyalty to their various or central godfathers who goaded them on to back off from their earlier agreement to partner with the Adams Oshiomhole administration in the area of job creation and youth empowerment. This administration is just extreme enough to bring about effective synergy that will galvanize an ailing state as Edo, revamps its cultural heritage, resuscitates the comatose sports industry, rehabilitates the decayed infrastructures, paves the roads and make Edo state great again where one and all will be attracted to do business irrespective of his political learning or geopolitical divide.
Erasmus Ikhide is a Special
Assistant to Edo State Governor
on Documentation and Publications


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