By Egie Imafidon
The above question has become relevant against the backdrop of the argument which the proponents of the idea of a Benin Governor for Edo State in 2012 are selling to win over the uninformed to support their cause of getting nomination for the army general political recruit on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) who it seems may need a waiver to be eligible to contest unless he was issued a backdated party membership card, which is not impossible in Nigerian politics.
The argument has been predicated on two elements, one seeming mythical while the other is banal, and therefore in the same breadth illogical. The first element of the argument is that it would take a Benin man for the PDP to defeat Governor Adams Oshiomhole at the next governorship poll.
The mythical essence of this reasoning is that since Edo South where the Benins originate constitutes more than half the voting population of the state, any Benin man contesting an election with a non Benin man, that includes the incumbent, will win the election. That may be presupposing that all the voters in Edo South are Benins and are bound by an oath to support the Benin man. Well, it is yet to be put to the test.
The second element, which is basically partisan, is that since an Edo North man is the Chief of Staff to the President and an Edo Central man is the Minister representing Edo State, the “Governor” should come from Edo South. The term governor is put in inverted commas to draw attention to the distinction of its realization in a democracy, which the agitators for a PDP governor of Edo State have deliberately or conveniently overlooked.
Of the three important offices mentioned here, whereas the realization of the Chief of Staff and the Minister can be whimsical upon the disposition of the president or the political party, the realization of the governor is essentially not, particularly if the party is contesting from the position of the opposition as the PDP is in Edo State. Therefore such an excuse is tantamount to crass illogicality.
Beyond the illogicality of the argument for the PDP to nominate a particularly person from Edo South, the design has been so orchestrated as a conspiracy to frustrate or push the most viable aspirant, in the person of Sen. Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, the immediate past governor on the platform of the PDP out of contention.
The scope of this unreasonable conspiracy goes beyond the boundaries of Edo South which, if wishes were horses, so to say, should be the direct beneficiary of the 2012 governorship proposition. Interestingly, the Benin agitators derive their strength and their hope of success from their collaborators in Edo Central or Esan Land, which by the natural order of the PDP zoning arrangement is supposed to present the next governorship candidate of the party.
But given the identity of these few but extremely powerful people involved, it would not come as a surprise for them to wish that Osunbor would not become governor again even in the absence of a better or any option. In fact, there are those that would rather have PDP remain in opposition for another four years than have Osunbor become governor. What are the reasons for this position?
It is clear that the wounds of the last battle for supremacy in the party, which many see as being very contributory to the loss of the governorship at the courts in 2008 have not been healed. And it has quite become convenient for some of these persons to blame their varied woes for which they seek revenge on Sen. Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor by attempting to deny him the 2012 ticket which he is most qualified to get.
For some, it is a response to the fear of having Osunbor regaining power that they may not have the morality to access for patronage having offended him as may be assumed in the most disparaging of ways. And yet for others it is an opportunity to scheme for future opportunities.
It is relevant to mention here by way of illustration, a certain person from Sen. Osunbor’s enclave who has been trying to buy support of his people for the Benin Governorship Project by saying that he has been promised the position of deputy governor which if he becomes, he has the opportunity of becoming the governor when the Benin man may have done his bit. Talk of opportunistic ambition.
It is in the human nature to exhibit the fears and ambitions alluded to here; but given the collective ambition and the need for collective success, are the obvious stratagems justified? The simple answer is, no! The answer needs emphasis for the fact that these revengists do not stand to lose much because they are in good stead to access federal government patronage even if PDP were in opposition in the state. On the other hand, they are even well to do in contrast to the majority they may just lead astray.
There is no need stressing this matter but to conclude that the argument that the next governor of Edo State which PDP is hoping to produce must be a Benin man amounts to nonsense because the office is not going to be by appointment. He is going to be decided by all the voting publics of Edo State, north, central and south.
The only way the PDP could help itself is to be sensitive to the sentiments of the general public which should guide them in choosing the most viable candidate to bear their flag. For the good of all, personal egos, petty fears and unreasonable ambitions should be discounted. And without equivocation only one man has been made for this season to help the party out. That man is Sen. Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor. He is the only man whose campaign statements can match Comrade Oshiomhole’s own. The reason goes without saying. With him the party does not need to experiment.
At any rate the PDP should know that political experiments, particularly with an unknown element, can be very costly, and in every sense of the word.
By Egie Imafidon, a political analyst, wrote in from Benin City