By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THEY say behind every successful man, there is a woman. So it is with the incumbent governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. His resilient wife, Mrs. Clara Oshiomhole, who died 2010, would have aptly fit into the position, but for untimely death. In her absence, however, her husband’s government is not lacking in women of substance, who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
Sevenfold political army
The list of women who have been instrumental in his administration include the present chairman of the Edo State Civil Service Commission, Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, Executive Director Office of the First lady, Hajia Memunat Momodu, Managing Director, Information Communication Technology, Edo State Government, Yemi Keri, former APC state woman Leader, Madam Modino Emovon, Chairman of Ovia North East Local Government Council, Mrs. Lucy Omagbon and Chairman, Edo State Market Women Association, Madam Blackky Omoregie.
While some of the women are solidly involved in ensuring that the economy of the state and the civil service run without interruption, some are political foot soldiers of the governor and are ready to confront any opposition once they are called upon by the Comrade Governor.
Governor Oshiomhole is wont to tell anyone who cares to listen: “Give any of these women a job, you can go and sleep.” And to be fair to him, the women have executed their various duties with passion over the years and that has endeared them to the Comrade Governor.
Princess Inneh- proven performer
Princess (Mrs.) Ekiuwa Inneh is from the Benin Royal family. She was Head of Service and now Chairman of the State Civil Service. Hear Oshiomhole on the day she was sworn-in: “The choice of Princess (Mrs.) Ekiuwa Inneh as Chairman of the Commission was prompted by her numerous contributions and achievement as Head of Service in moving the civil service to greater height.”
Niger Delta Voice observed that her office and that of the Managing Director, Information Communication Technology, Yemi Keri, had weeded the state of ghost workers through biometrics. The Benin princess has never wavered in this direction and the state is getting results
Keri- ICT guru
Apart from being a member of the state Economic Team, Yemi Keri brought her intellectual capabilities in ICT to bear in the affairs of the state government. While the Benin princess is from Edo South, Keri is from the North Senatorial district like Oshiomhole. She ensured that all government offices and parastatals were computerized while identities of staff of the state government were properly documented for effective payment of their salaries and wages.
She created a website for the state government and today, 1,000 persons have been employed and trained in that department. She drives government policies effectively and never compromise due process in all her dealings. She has been with Oshiomhole from the inception of his administration and has made the state one of the leading role models in ICT in the country.
Hajia Momodu’s Mrs Integrity
Hajia Memunat Momodu was former Commissioner for Women Affairs, but following the sad demise of the First Lady, Mrs. Clara Oshiomhole, she was redeployed to the office of the First Lady, as Executive Director. She is a calm mother that can hardly be involved in any controversy. She is from the same Etsako race like Oshiomhole.
To ensure that monies appropriated for flood victims in the state in 2012 were properly managed, the governor calculatingly gave her the responsibility to take care of the victims. And she never disappointed any one as all the funds allocated and food items were distributed to the affected persons. She has been handling strategic responsi-bilities in the Oshiomhole administration.
Emovon: Political Iroko
The trio of Modino Emovon, Madam Blakky and Lucy Omagbon are high-quality officials to Oshiomhole and the APC interest in Edo South. Madam Emovon, who is generally called Mummy by many is about 72 years old, but still dogged when it comes to politics. Both the opposition PDP and APC leaders respect her a lot because of her influence, not only on women but men too in Edo South.
She was very active during the defunct SDP days which brought Chief John Odigie- Oyegun as Governor of the state then. Daughter of the Arala of Benin Kingdom, she is a born politician. Her late mother was a very strong politician during the Otuedo days. Oshiomhole calls her Mummy and has absolute trust in her.
In fact, during the last APC state congress when some leaders of the party such as Chief Tom Ikimi, who is now in the PDP brought the current Woman Leader of the APC, Mrs. Amadasun, to replace Madam Emovon as state Woman Leader, the singular action almost threatened the dominance of APC in the South, as PDP leaders swooped on her with a view to pull her to the party knowing her political strength.
But Mummy told the hawks that she could not leave Oshiomhole because she believes that the Comrade Governor means well for the people of the state. She shunned the PDP overtures and stuck with APC.
Madam Blackky, great mobilizer
Madam Blackky is the state Chairman of Market Women Association and a staunch supporter of the Comrade Governor. She is a great mobi-lizer of women and capable of leading any assault against any perceived enemy of the Oshiomhole administration. In Benin Kingdom, market women are basically 100 per cent loyal to the Oba of Benin and whoever the Oba loves, they love too, and whoever the Oba hates, they dislike as well. Despite attempts by the opposition PDP to break their ranks, the women have remained solidly with Oshiomhole.
Omagbon, political giant killer
Mrs. Lucy Omagbon is regarded as the iron lady of Edo politics. She was formerly the PDP state Woman leader before dumping the PDP to join Oshiomhole. She is currently the chairman of Ovia North East Local Government Council and Oshiomhole’s eyes in the politics of that area.
The Esama of Benin King-dom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion is from that axis and during the 2012 governorship election she proved to Oshiomhole that she is a woman he can rely on by doggedly demobilizing Esama’s foot soldiers in the PDP to win the area for APC.
Even though she is a woman, she is politically ruthless when battling the PDP, no wonder she is feared by her opponents and respected by the Comrade Governor and other APC leaders in the South.