The race for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket in the upcoming Edo State governorship election promises an intriguing watch. Recently, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, reportedly Governor Godwin Obaseki’s favoured candidate, questioned the “homeboy” status raised by Comrade Philip Shaibu, asserting that jumping from one Mama Put to the other is not what defines a true Edo boy.
Opposition to Ighodalo has been fuelled by claims that he is unknown in the state, a narrative that Shaibu has since advanced by declaring himself the homeboy who does not need to learn the ropes of governance and being familiar with the nook and cranny of the state.
Responding, Ighodalo fired back during his interaction with locals in his Ewohimi community, in Esan South Local Government Area. He emphasised his long-standing service to the state, dating back to the Adams Oshiomhole era. He particularly highlighted his role in the Economic Management Committee which Obaseki chaired.
The interaction faced controversy due to Ighodalo’s limited knowledge of the native dialect. Nonetheless, with the assistance of an interpreter, he confidently proclaimed himself as a true Edo boy.
“I am a true Esan Boy. I am not going to use homeboy because they have used it badly. I am a true Edo boy, I am a true Nigerian…People can say what they like because we are not noisy or because you are not jumping from one Mama Put to the other does not mean you are not a true Edo boy.
“This issue of Edo boy, the issue of a true son of the soil is in the heart. There are many of our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora who are more Edo than many people who live here. It is in the heart. It is not how many pepper soup joints you go to. For those of us in the Diaspora and Nigeria, all the best hands must come to develop Edo State. Sometimes we cannot sit in the village in the Mama Put and say the rest of us cannot come and develop our state. It is not done.”
Undoubtedly, Ighodalo’s assertion of being a real Edo boy will be a topic of discussion as the campaign season unfolds.