BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
With the euphoria of the election over and ahead of his second inauguration as governor of Edo State, it was tempting to ask Comrade Adams Oshiomhole if he would fall into the trap of second term governors who do nothing in office.
“For me what I have done in the first term is not because I needed a second term, but because I believed that was the right thing to do,” the Edo governor told some newsmen penultimate weekend.
His conviction has no doubt impacted positively on the people of the state and it was not surprising that he was returned to office with a sweeping victory that has sent many of his political rivals to temporary political hibernation.
However, many challenges remain for the governor whose impact in office has lifted him to the admirable height of the best performing governor since the creation of Edo State in 1991.
But many challenges remain for the comrade governor in the second term.
Edo state as at today is faced with numerous challenges. There is an army of unemployed youths roaming the streets of Benin, the state capital and other cities in the state, many dilapidated roads despite the remarkable road reconstructions of the first term, challenges in the health sector especially in the rural and semi urban areas, challenges in the educational sector as a lot of public primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
One notable challenge for the Comrade Governor is the conduct of elections into the local government councils. Since his assumption of office in 2009 the governor has utilised caretaker committees in the running of the local councils.
The recent dissolution of the transition caretaker committee local government by the House of Assembly is a pointer that the people are tired of seeing unelected chairmen at the helm of affairs at the grassroots
An Ekpoma High Court presided over by Justice Tinu Akomolafe-Wilson, now a Justice of the Appeal Court had declared Caretaker Transition Committees as illegal.
However, another question that has continued to agitate the minds of most people in the state is what becomes of Edo State and indeed of the Action Congress of Nigeria in the state after the Oshiomhole administration in 2016? Will the principle of ‘let the people lead’ as enunciated by the Comrade be practiced during the local government election, will he impose candidates at the expense of other persons who may have worked very hard to bring about his re-election on the party’s platform during the local government election?
Will the election be free and fair now that the State Independent Electoral Commission (ESIEC) is under the ambit of the State Government? Will he listen to the opinion of party leaders and keep to the pact with party leaders that he will not impose candidates for elective positions?
Though Comrade Oshiomhole assured in the interview that godfatherism is dead, many would still be watching his political steps to see whether he merely liquidated the previous godfather to assume the position.
There is little doubt that the sustenance of the ACN in Edo State would to a large extent depend on how the incumbent governor manages the process of his succession.
Some point to the situation in Lagos state where the ACN has continued to dominate the politics of Lagos state due to the peaceful transition of power from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) who has continued to sustain the ACN legacy in the state. Will Governor Adams Oshiomhole allow this to happen in Edo state after his tenure in office against the backdrop of the avalanche of the hawks lurking around the prescient of government waiting to grab power immediately he completes his tenure of office in 2016? .
However, while former governor John Odigie-Oyegun believes that choosing who succeeds Oshiomhole will not pose a problem as that would be taken care of at the appropriate time, he added that the governor needs to have over ten would be successors to enable him choose among them the best man.
On his part, former Edo NUJ Chairman and also State chairman of the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), Comrade Godwin Erhahon said Edo people should not express fear on the would be successor of the governor.
Our expectations high – Senator Uzamere
Senator Ehigie Uzamere (ACN, Edo South)
The expectation in Edo and indeed in Nigeria from him is very, very high. Knowing what he has done in his first term, the next four years is like a relay when he would sustain the tempo.
I also believe that in the next four years it would be an opportunity for him to correct the mistakes, if any, in the last four years because he is already experienced right now.
He won’t slow down – Senator Domingo Obende (ACN, Edo North)
In the next four years, more is expected of him. If in four years he could transform Edo State, in another four years he would consolidate on the basis of the transformation he has been able to render.
I pray that the good Lord would help him because people say of second term governors are not given to development and they want to steal money, but I know that this governor will not steal money.
I also know that he is a strong governor and the passion that has driven him into governance and that same passion he would use it to complete his assignment and we pray that the good Lord would help him.