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Why Buhari should show new interest in Edo State

THE Edo State governorship election has come and gone and the outcome has left sweet and bitter taste in the mouths of many. For those of us in the All Progressives Congress, APC, the outcome of the election has surely consolidated the hold of the party in the state, nay the country.

It has helped to reverse perceptions that your President Muhammadu Buhari’s popularity may have sunk on account of the torments that the economy is passing through presently.  The election in Edo State showed that though the people may be passing through difficulties, the factors and good wishes that brought him to power have not been eroded.

We are in no doubt of the bond that binds Mr. President to our state. A reflection of this bond  is underlined by the fact that Edo State is the first state he came to campaign since his inauguration.

It is in the light of this strategic value that Mr. President has for Edo State that we take time to address him on the underlining issues that need to be addressed for the good of the State, for party unity and for the promotion of justice and equity and indeed, for the realisation of Mr. President’s long term objective of Change in Nigeria.

Of course, the fact that the APC won the governorship election in the state would give the impression that all is well with the party in the state. This is far from so. Mr. President ought to know that what happened was that many party members and elders looked at the bigger picture, looked at where we were coming from and also took into consideration Mr. President’s  presence at the campaign. These were the motivators that propelled the party to victory. It was not anyone’s solid work in the state as some have tended to canvass. Yes, the comrade governor may have performed compared to his predecessors in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but as we all know, things have been very challenging for the APC administration in the second term.

It is in the light of this that one would draw attention to the great injustice that has been directed to one section of the state; to wit, the Edo Central Senatorial District.

There is no other way this injustice is seen than in the sharing of the stakes in our state, most pointedly as seen in the distribution of political offices both at the federal and at the state level.

It is easily recalled that it was not until the eve of the election that the conscience of those in power was stirred to give Edo Central the symbolic position of Speaker of the House of Assembly. Before then, Edo Central was completely excluded from the principal offices of state. The governorship and position of Secretary to the State Government were in Edo North, the positions of deputy governor and Speaker of the House were in Edo South. In the Civil service it would be interesting to note that of the about 35 permanent secretaries in the state, only four are from Edo Central leaving Edo North and South to share about 30

Even more, positions at the federal level have not been equitably distributed. The Minister representing the state is from Edo South, the national chairman is from Edo South and the non-career ambassadorial position for the state has also gone to the favoured sections of the state. It is worthwhile to note that high level board positions and other positions of influence at both the federal and state levels have been so apportioned to make Edo Central look like an unwanted appendage of the state.

The people of Edo Central are certainly not so. It is in this light that we appeal to Mr. President to evaluate the situation in Edo State and cause justice to bear through moral suasion, through his leadership of the party and other influence at his disposal to bring the people of Edo Central into the power equation in the state.

One can say so on fact that our confidence in the present system to grant us a sense of belonging has long been frustrated and we call on the president to look beyond the current players and search out  men and women of tenacity from Edo Central who have through thick and thin shown their connection to the people and have the capacity to bring about the long term change that brought you to power. The present arrangement in Edo will certainly not help Mr. President.

Ima Ekpe, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.


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