As the 2016 governorship election in Edo State draws close, Solomon Ibharuneafe x-rays factors that may shape the choice of voters from Edo Central zone
The Esan ethnic nationality in the Edo Central Senatorial district may not vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 28 governorship election in the state. The simple reason is a perceived marginalisation of the people by the Adams Oshiomhole government in terms of political appointments, and infrastructural development. For instance, out of 40 board appointments the administration made, only one was given to Edo Central. Of 215 special advisers, only 15 are from the zone. The position of Head of Service occupied by an Essan person was declared vacant when Oshiomhole removed the then occupant.
A cursory look at the appointments below indicates the alleged marginalisation:
1. Governor – Edo North
2. Deputy Governor – Edo South
3. Speaker EDHA – Edo South
4. Chief Judge – Edo South
5. SSG – Edo North
6. Head of Service – Edo North
7. Chief of Staff – Edo North
8. Chairman, Board of Internal Revenue – Edo North
9. NNDC Commissioner – Edo South
10. National Commissioner RMAFC – Edo North
11. Accountant General – Edo South
12. Executive Director, MDG – Edo South
13. MD, Rapid Response Agency – Edo North
14. MD, Edo City Transport Service – Edo South
15. Auditor General – Edo South
16. Executive General, ICT – Edo North
17. Director, Edo Liaison Office, Lagos – Edo South
18. Director, Edo Liaison Office, Abuja – Edo North
19. Security Adviser – Edo North
20. Government House Accountant – Edo North
21. Attorney General – Edo South
22. The Only Consultant in the State – Edo North
23. Solicitor General – Edo South
24. Chairman, House of Assembly Commission – Edo South
25. Chairman, State Civil Service Commission – Edo South
26. Chairman, Neighborhood Watch – Edo South
27. Chairman, Local Govt. Service Commission – Edo North
28. Chairman, Edo State Universal Basic Education – Edo North
29. Chairman, Judicial Service Commission – Edo North
30. Chairman Oil and Gas Commission – Edo South
31. Chief press Secretary – Edo North
32. Chairman, Economic Team – Edo South
33. Principal Security Officer – Edo North
34. Chief Medical Officer – Edo North
35. MD Govt. House – Edo North
36. Chairman Post Pry Education Board – Edo Central
37. Recently, Governor Adams Oshiomhole appointed the Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma – Edo North
38. Edo University, Iyamho – Edo North
39. Tayo Akpata University of Education – Edo South
Although Edo Central has the lowest population of voters, it has produced great men and women who have contributed in no small measure in reshaping the political structure of the state and the nation at large. Of specific mention are; Chief Tony Enahoro, a former Information Minister, who moved the motion for the independence of Nigeria in the 1950s. Others are, late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, who was a former Vice President of Nigeria in the General Babaginda administration, Prof. Ambrose Alli, a former governor of defunct Bendel State: Tony Okpere, erstwhile Minister of Aviation, and Prof. Julius Okojie, the immeditae-past Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC
There is also Chief Tony Anenih, a former Minister of Works, Chief Tom Ikimi, a one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs, Architect Mike Onolememen, a former Minister of Works. The list is unending and little wonder why the cry of marginalisation of the Esan nation is deafening under the government of Oshiomhole, which they worked so hard to bring to power.
At the flag-off of the PDP campaign in Uromi, the headquarters of Esan North East recently, Anenih, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP told the bewildered people that his presence at the rally in spite of his failing health underscored the direction Esan people were going. He said Esanland could not be extinguished by Oshiomhole and his like. He accused Oshiomhole of denying Esan people of water when he (Anenih) personally sought and got approval from the Federal Government of former President Goodluck Jonathan to finance the water project in Ugbalo. According to him, the government committed N1.2 billion to the project but Oshiomhole has refused to release the N300 million counterpart funding.
Similarly, Ikimi, a chieftain of the PDP accused Oshiomhole of betraying Esan people, saying that Esanland must be rescued from his grip. According to the former minister of foreign affairs, Esanland was being threatened, adding that it was a threat to their heritage which must be collectively fought to triumph. Ikimi noted that an ethnic nationality with over 350,000 voters in the last INEC registration exercise was not a population that could be trampled upon by anybody. He called on all Esan sons and daughters to vote out the APC in the coming election.
Dan Orbih, the state chairman of the PDP also pointed out that the total neglect of Esanland by Oshiomhole was enough reason for the people to vote for the PDP. While presenting Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Orbih said Osagie would right the wrongs done to the Esan people.
As the clamour for the rejection of the APC and its candidate rages on, no fewer than 30 traditional rulers from Esaland endorsed Ize-Iyamu at the palace of Ojuromi of Uromi, His Royal Majesty, Anslem Eidenojie. The traditional rulers unanimously said Esan people had been made second-class citizens in a state they belong to. They appealed to Ize-Iyamu to correct the imbalances once he gets to office as the next executive governor of Edo State.
––Ibharuneafe, a journalist and public affairs analyst wrote from Lagos