By Peter Okhiria
The article: â€œIntrigues of INECâ€™s Constituency delineation in Edoâ€ written by Ehis Osajie on Page 46 of Thursday, April 15, 2010 refers.
Ordinarily, one would have dismissed the report as an opinion of the writer, however, a critical reading of the article suggests that it is rather a job by the writer to please certain interest in the state.
Edo is not entirely homogenous as the writer wants the readers to believe, it is made up of Binis, Ijaws, Esan and Afemai people and for political convenience, the state is divided into South, Central and North constituencies.
It is noteworthy that the State Government, the Benin Forum, Esan Leaders of Thought, Bini Political Coalition, Etsako Citizens Club and other well-meaning people and groups in the state have condemned the proposed constituency delineation exercise carried out by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state.
INEC, in its delineation exercise had proposed the ceding of two Local Government Areas, Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon, from Edo South Senatorial District to Edo Central. Edo State is mainly inhabited by the Binis and Edo Central is the home of the Esans, where a certain godfather and the writer, Ehis Osajie come from.
Besides the political colouration to the delineation exercise which would tilt the balance in favour of Edo Central, home of the Esans, ensuring that they have more constituencies than Edo South and Edo North, it also has economic implication as it would deny Edo South of its oil-producing Local Government Area, Orhiomwhom. Also, it has traditional implications as merging the two Local Government Areas to Edo Central would deny the Oba of Benin, Omo Nâ€™Oba Nâ€™Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa direct control over his people, the Binis, inhabiting the two local governments.
So for any well-meaning Edo man,Â to ask INEC to go ahead with the planned delineation exercise is rather unfortunate and unpatriotic.
The position of the government of Edo State on the proposed delineation exercise is clear, to wit: â€˜that INECâ€™s plan will disarticulate the geo-political stability, which the current arrangement has helped to sustain. By INECâ€™s proposal, the Bini-speaking Edo South Senatorial District, which is linguistically and culturally homogenous, would be compelled to lose two critical Local Government Areas to another Senatorial District.
The implication of this is that these two Local Government Areas (Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon) will invariably be marginalised and disempowered in the new Senatorial District. Even for electoral purposes, this is undesirable, unnecessary, unacceptable and patently unjust.â€™
To seek to pit one Senatorial district against the other all in the name of politics should be rejected by all well-meaning Edo people. The impression which INECâ€™s proposed delineation exercise has created is that it is an orchestration of a very unsavoury political agenda, capable of disrupting the peace, security and stability of the state and everything must be done to ensure that the INEC plan is not allowed to sail through.
*Peter Okhiria, is Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State