The Man Who May Beat Obaseki

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Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama

Allison Abanum writes that Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, member of the House of Representatives, representing Oredo Federal Constituency in Edo State and a governorship candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party has all it takes to defeat Governor Godwin Obaseki in the governorship race

On September 19, Edo citizens will decide through the ballot the man that will pilot the affairs of the state in the coming four years. There have been speculations on who gets the ticket of the different political and subsequently becomes governor. Edo State has been on the spotlight for some time now. Considering the fallout of the war between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his estranged godson, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who he endorsed as governor in 2016, no one knows for sure how things will play out in the forthcoming APC primaries. From all indices, we are in for a lot of drama in Edo politics.

As build-up to the governorship election is in top gear there is tension among leading officials that the results may not end well for the All Progressives Congress (APC), considering the internal political crisis in the state that remains unresolved since last year. The rift between Mr. Oshiomhole with his erstwhile protégé, the Edo state Governor Godwin Obaseki who is seeking re-election for another four years, has contributed in the fractionalization of the ruling party in the state, with one faction pitching tent with Adams Oshiomhole and the other throwing their weight in support of Obaseki. There is also pending issue of 14 lawmakers who have not been sworn in one year after. The party is also faced with the challenge of whether the ticket should be zoned to a particular senatorial district.

Fresh controversy has further trailed the decision by the APC National Working Committee to adopt the direct primary in deciding the party’s flagbearer. They cited the spread of COVID-19 and APC 2018 NEC resolution. Apparently, there are certain conditions to be met if there is going to be an indirect primary and as it stands according to the committee none has been met in Edo state. But, Obaseki and his group are not buying that, they want the indirect primary used in the forthcoming primaries. How Obaseke/ Oshiomhole fraction hope to drive home their point is a matter for future decision.

For the APC, the battle line has been drawn for the governorship ticket of the state between incumbent Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu., a former secretary to the Edo state government, a chieftain of APC before defecting to PDP for failure to get the support of Mr. Oshiomhole for his governorship ambition. Now, he is back in the race on the platform of the APC. The question is, will he get the support from APC chieftains, considering Ize-Iyamu’s numerous court cases?

Obaseki’s average performance in the state during his first term in office may be speaking for him at the polls as Edo decides come September. We wish them the best at the primaries. However, a note of caution to APC is to tread with care and handle the internal crisis carefully and promptly so that the scenario that played out in Zamfara and Bayelsa does not playout in Edo. After all, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Apparently, the race for the seat of power is between two big political parties, the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The choice of candidate nominated at the forthcoming party primaries by delegates will determine who gets the ticket to represent each party at the polls.

Meanwhile, under the umbrella of the PDP, among all other contestant; one man that stands out is Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama. A man with a heart of gold, focus, dedicated and commitment to service. He has been able to combine personal and corporate experiences in handling issues in law making that has placed him on a pedestal of high achievers.

His working life began in Engineering, where he secured a position at the Exxon Mobil as a Drilling Engineer. With a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA in Oil and Gas Management from Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, Scotland. He has gained incredible experience working with several multinational that garlanded him with solid character and experience in the oil and gas sector before venturing into private business.

In public service, he was elected to represent the Oredo constituency at the House of Representatives. His love, passion and interest for the people of Oredo constituency is outstanding. As an active member of his community, he has contributed both his time and money to numerous charities and community development project in Edo state. Other committees he is currently serving includes Environment and Habitat; Ports, Harbour, and Waterways; Power, Basic Education; Housing; Capital Market; and Public Petition.

Some of his outstanding achievement since his election in 2015 and his re-lection in 2019 have earned him awards and recognition from various quarters one of which is the award by the Alumni of Edo State University, where he graduated as a Civil Engineer. The award is in recognition for his laudable achievements as he continues to fly the banner of his prestigious university through the results he has produced on any assignment embarked upon.

As Chairman House committee on Culture and Tourism, this fine gentle man set out to organize an Annual programme to ensure that culture which is our pride as a people is not relegated to the background. With the advent of modern technologies like the World Wide Web, the world become a global village. The tendency of alienating long aged culture passed down by our founding fathers was visible due to western civilization. In a bid to preserve the Edo culture and pride; the 4th Annual cultural orientation and sensitization programme for secondary school is being organized to ensure that every Nigerian child understands our long-preserved heritage and pride as well as practice it in their daily times.

In a bid to position Edo state in hall of fame; this proud son of the soil by virtue of his position as House committee chairman on culture and tourism went the extra mile. Remarkably for the first time ever in over 40 years the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) was organized in Edo State in 2019. The one-week long event remains one of the major cultural festivals that provided a platform for assembling stakeholders in the Arts and Culture industry. it also provided an avenue for showcasing talents, embellished in rich cultural and artistic heritage for the purpose of fostering unity, spirit of national identity and peaceful co-existence.

Another notable milestone credited to Ihama is the empowering of small and medium scale enterprise so that the people of Oredo can be self-employed. The role of SMES in the economic development and poverty alleviation cannot be downplayed as this sector remains the key driving force for a vibrant and buoyant economy. It is reported that SMES represents about 95% of all enterprises. this is an indication to the expected contribution of this segment to the economy. Consequently, years after the empowerment scheme was carried out residents of Oredo constituent still count the many gains the empowerment scheme has had in their lives. The training and empowerment scheme like skills acquisition; serve as means of livelihood to beneficiaries. It is one thing for a scheme to be initiated; but another to sustain it.

Honorable Ogbeide Ihama introduced double decked buses and launched free transportation for all. The scheme was initially aimed at providing free transportation on designated routes for school children only, but for the outcry of the people this initiative was extended to other members of Oredo community, with emphasis on the school children. Some doubting Thomas’s were of the opinion that the free buses was a campaign stunt that will fade away the same way it came. They were all proven wrong. Years after the buses are still plying the road. He has given his word that they would continue to be there, serviced from his pocket. He has indeed mastered the art of public service. Little wonder his constituents passed a vote of confidence in his representation at the House of Representatives.

One personal quality a good leader must possess is empathy. Ihama went the extra mile in addressing problems affecting people. He supplied and installed 400 litre capacity borehole, six public taps and a brand new generator to go with it to Oba market. Apparently during the campaigns, the traders had complained about the lack of water in the entire market. He kept his word and made their dream a reality. One thing is certain Ogbeide is a man that can be trusted to deliver on his promise to the good people of Edo when he becomes Governor.

Since his journey into lawmaking he has shown that he has interest of the people he represents at heart. It is time for him to obey the clarion call to give the people of Edo state a taste of quality, true and exemplary leadership. He has shown reliability and trustworthiness. Honorable Ihama is the man to beat at the election. No matter what happens it is going to be a strong contest to defeat him. He is a man to watch out for. This is because he has all it takes to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any candidate. He is younger, a performer and has the will of people to govern them. He needs all the support he can get to make Edo state great again.