IN a few months, precisely November next year 2016 Governor Adams Oshiomhole will cease to be the occupant of the state house in Benin. Indeed, if the people of Edo state had their way, the distinguished labour leader of the radical mould would rule Edo State till the end of time. Such is the impact he has had on the state and the people. But the constitution only permits two terms of four years each.
As such, his departure next year is certain as the sun rises from the east. It is against this background that as the comrade governor prepares to hand over the baton of leadership in Edo State next year, his successor should be properly screened to ascertain if by his antecedents, he can further lift Edo State to the next level.
What is, perhaps most interesting is that all the gladiators in Edo State politics have moved into the APC and are jostling for its 2016 gubernatorial ticket. The problem of Nigeria is poor leadership and corruption. The leadership is more interested in power and authority for self benefit which gave rise to the saying “if you cannot beat them, join them”. This self-centredness of the status seekers resulted in the present rush for self fulfillment against social responsibility and commitment to the general welfare of the public which has now become the bane of progress and public spiritedness.
This has led to mass poverty and the very few rich most of whose wealth are due to “man know man” cult. If you are not part of them, you remain where you are. The truth of the matter, however, is that the phenomenon of “Man know Man” is detrimental to national development.
A few specific examples will explain the evils of this phenomenon.
In 2006, former Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, was removed from office and his deputy Adebayo Alao-Akala was sworn in as the new governor through the influence of late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, using his supporters in the Oyo House of Assembly. Although the charges against the former governor were hardly proved, eight of the 24 legislators held a session in hotel which the supreme court condemned in his judgment.
The said legislators adopted the report of a panel and passed a motion for Ladoja’s impeachment within 25 minutes. However, Chief Adedibu had another reason for the impeachment. Hear him, “I put him there. So, if I demand money will it be wrong? Do I need to ask for it before he gives it to me? I never demand money from him” (Adedibu in Tell, January 23, 2006 Pg 21.) Yet, it was said he had received up to N100 million from Ladoja’s private account since he became governor in May 29, 2003.
Before Ladoja, the first democratic governors of Anambra State after the return of democratic rule in the country in 1999, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Dr. Chris Ngige, had the same experience. The issue of “Man know Man” should not be allowed to raise its ugly head in Edo State.
Indeed, there is need to address this evil of “Man know Man” if Nigeria must develop politically, socially and economically. We must undertake a massive political enlightenment of our people to let them depart from following this philosophy of “Man know Man”.
From this standpoint, it would appear that gubernatorial aspirants with clean past records, who have not soiled their fingers as it were and have made tremendous success in their chosen fields may as well find favour during APC primaries in Edo State. We are reminding the voters that Edo state wants credible persons who would consolidate the achievements of our dear comrade governor and conceive innovative ideas for the betterment of our people.
This will perhaps explain why Paul Obazee acknowledges the fact that Engineer Chris Ogiemwonyi is a visionary leader, who has proved his mettle having rendered meritorious service to Nigerians in general and Edo indigenes in particular in his chosen field of endeavour. Chris is a man that genuinely has the passion to serve Edo people. He has the potential to transform Edo state in the area of human capital development, and infrastructure.
As we move towards the 2016 governorship race in Edo State, all eyes are on the rising profile of Chris who is expected to hold the APC banner in the state after the primary to continue on the solid foundation laid by our comrade governor.
Mr. David Ikehueoya, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Benin City, Edo State.