By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – IT was a gathering of who is who in Edo State weekend at the 90th birthday celebration of the Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri where national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu said the APC would win the coming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Also elder statesman and nationalists leader, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai urged Nigerians to continue to fight for the economic independence of the country which he said was the second phase of the struggle after independence that he said was proposed by Edebiri when unexpectedly, the British colonialists agreed in 1957 to grant Nigeria independence in 1960.
Among the dignitaries present were the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Iyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, Chief Sam Igbe who was also the chairman of the ceremony.
Also present were Yakassai, palace chiefs and the Secretary Benin Traditional Council, FramkmIrabor, Speaker of Edo state House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, former Minister of State for Works, Dr Chris Ogiemwonyi, Minsiter of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire represented by the Cjief Medical Director, University of Benin teaching Hospital, Professor Darlington Obaseki, Minister of State for Health, Prince Clem Agba represented by his Special Adviser, Dr Philip Ugbodaga, former Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mike Ogiadomhe, former deputy governor, Hon Lucky Imasuen, the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chris Nehikhare and others.
Tinubu told journalists that “I expect nothing less than victory in Kogi and Bayelsa States, who is the other party”
On complaints that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has not done well for his people, he said “If you don’t have complaints in politics, then there is no democracy so we only pay attention to the noise in the market because we have so many apples, oranges and various fruits of different character but there is one thing that is consistent, this is a market of many branches and this is the broom; they will come together as a bunch to sweep clean all the debris of the past, that is it, we are going to win.
Yakassai said Chief Edebiri was among the few statesmen alive who fought for Nigeria’s independence.
He said Nigeria has the largest market in Africa and the struggle is to make the market benefit Nigerians.”We should struggle to make sure the market serve the interests only of our people. We will continue until victory is achieved.”
“Chief Edebiri believes in the unity of his fatherland. There are only few of us who are still alive, who can beat their chest that they fought fearlessly for the independence of this country, Esogban is one of us. We fought for Nigeria to be independent unexpectedly the British agreed in 1957 to give us independence in 1960. Most of our leaders were not prepared we did not expect that the British will agree to give us independence at that time but they agreed so we now sat down and said after independence what next, Chief Edebirir was one of the young people in those days who said after political independence, the beginning of economic independence should start now unfortunately we have not achieved much in this regard but the struggle continues, we will continue to fight for economic independence of our country”
On his part, Comrade praised Chief Edebiri for adopting him as a son and supporting his emergence of governor.
The former Edo Governor said he would use any available opportunity to empower people from Benin Kingdom.
He recalled how Chief Edebiri before the last general elections helped solved problems within the APC.
He said “Chief Edebiri speaks truth to power, never afraid, never bending it, it doesn’t have to be convenient, he simply says it. I am forever indebted to the Omo N’Edo Uku AKpolokpolo, the institution of the Oba of Benin, the paramount traditional ruler of Edo land. You guided me, you prayed for me and by the grace of God I le3ft without issues. I remain committed eneyhting that is within my discretion to do to uplift this great kingdom and uplift and creat opportunities for menand women of this kingdom I owe it as irreducible minimum duty so to du because this kingdom has been great, this kingdom has been kind and generous to me
Chief Edebiri said it was his first time of celebrating birthday since he was born and that Oshiomhole did not disappoint him as a governor.