Odion Akhaine is fit and proper for the job, contends Igbotako Nowinta

“Having known and networked closely with Comrade Sylvester Odion Akhaine as a human rights/pro-democracy activist, at the levels of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) and the Campaign for Democracy (CD) between 1995 and 1998, none of the present array of personalities throwing themselves up to be the next Governor of Edo State, can match his monumental prowess in taking Edo State to the next level of meaningful development. 

 Prof. Odion Akhaine has gone through the hottest furnace of democratic struggle in Nigeria; he has the urgent, special and needed experience, knowledge and the pragmatic know how to give the masses of Edo State what they desire in the market of positive democratic governance in Nigeria.

For me candidly, come Edo 2024, he is standing shoulder high above the rest governorship aspirants.

When the Genevan writer and philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote :”Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”, he was apparently referring to the present state of Edo State, where the current highest political leadership has alienated the mass of the people to their fate, even after they had played a significant role in its coming into power.

Comrade Odion Akhaine is not only an established constant friend of the people, but a furious uncompromising advocate, who believe in taking the societal chains off the necks and legs of hapless and helpless citizens of Nigeria.

For several months now, most especially after the brazen electoral coup of February 25th, 2023, when Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) allowed himself to be used to the tilt, in thwarting the wishes and aspirations of the masses of Nigeria, a lot of individuals have been coming out to signal their intention to be the next Governor of Edo State.

Well as far as l am concerned there is no problem in people indicating their interest to aspire to the highest political office in Edo State come 2024, given the fact that the tenure of Governor Godwin Obaseki expires on November 12th, 2024.

As a critical observer, stakeholder cum commentator on the State of Edo State and the State of the Nation, l have been closely monitoring the legion of personalities who have been openly indicating their interests to be the next occupant of Government House, Dennis Osadebey Avenue, Benin City, Edo State.

Therefore, it gladdens my heart to know recently that Sylvester Odion  Akhaine has made up his mind to throw his hat into the ring of partisan politics, to sweat it out openly with other aspirants for the soul of Edo State.

Looking at the politics of Edo State, particularly since the return to multi- party democracy in 1999, this is the first time ever that a hard core human rights/pro-democracy activist who had been opportune to offer himself as a perpetual faggot, that burnt the machines of military rule in our country while it lasted.

Comrade Odion Akhaine is a scientific social crusader; an ideological heavyweight; a warrior per excellence in the field of democratic struggle; a tireless organiser; a selfless patriot and a nationalist of the highest grade, who has tested positive to the fluid of profound and dynamic democratic struggle in our country.

Where is Comrade Sylvester Odion Akhaine coming from? Comrade Akhaine studied in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. He earned his PhD in Politics at the Royal Holloway, University of London in 2004. 

He is currently a Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University and Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarization. He was former Editor of The Victims, a human rights newsletter of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), and subsequently its Secretary for Research, Publication, and Documentation.

He is currently the Editor of The Constitution, Journal of Constitutional Development (arguably the leading journal in Nigeria today). Also, he is a contributing Editor to the UK-based Review of African Political Economy, as well as a Visiting Member of The Guardian Editorial Board. 

A 2005 Stanford University Fellow on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (now Draper Hills fellow), Comrade Akhaine has over 100 publications, including books, monographs, book chapters, and essays in learned journals such as African Affairs, Review of African Political Economy, Journal of Asia and African Studies, Canadian Journal of History and Political Studies Review.  

His latest works are “Political Economy of Claude” Ake in S. Oloruntoba S and T. Falola, (Eds.), Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy (2020); Populism in Africa and the Anti-corruption Trope in Nigeria’s Politics” in Michael Oswald (Ed.). The Palgrave Handbook of Populism (2022) and “Boko Haram Insurgency” in George Klay Keih Jr. & Kelechi A. Kalu (Eds.), Insurgency, Terrorism, and Counter terrorism in Africa (2023), Lexington Books.

Our governorship aspirant was one of the frontline leaders of the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria. He was at various times, the General Secretary of the Campaign for Democracy, Joint Secretary, and General Secretary of the United Action for Democracy in the thick of the anti-military struggle. Between 1995 and1996, he was illegally incarcerated in solitary confinement by the military regime of General Sani Abacha in Birnin Kebbi Prison, Kebbi State.

On account of his ordeal, he was named Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International in 1995. In 2004, he was nominated for the John Humphreys Freedom Award, while in 2005, he was a recipient of the Golden Award from the Law Students Association for the Sustenance of Human Rights and Democracy in Nigeria.

Also, in 2009, he was a receiver of the Tell Communications Democracy Award in appreciation of his outstanding contribution to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. 

The case for the governorship aspiration of Comrade Sylvester Odion Akhaine, is not only being pushed in the name of genuine ethnic balancing or political equity, so that our brother from the Esan speaking area of the state can have a taste of the juice of supreme political power in Edo State; it is being pushed vigorously now, because this fantastic character has an edge over the rest. Simply and concretely, he has cleverly articulated a fantastic road map that will catapult the state to enviable heights.

 Igbotako, a conflict resolution expert, media/research consultant @ Nigeria Good Governance Research Centre, could be reached via: nowintaigbotako@gmail.com

Related Articles