By EMMANUEL JIMOH, Benin –
The pan socio-cultural non partisan organisation, Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), says that its ongoing consultative engagement with prominent political and influential leaders in Edo State, which kicked off in Benin City at the weekend, has been largely fruitful and insightful on the political dynamics in the State.
A release issued after the series of consultations which was signed by EOI President, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon and the Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Iyare is upbeat about the outcome, describing it as “heart warming” and positive.
“We’ve had meaningful heart to heart talks and exchange of ideas with our leaders on how to move Edo State forward and getting them to appreciate the need for the next Governor of the state to be of Esan extraction. The discussions have been quite enriching, frank, heart warming and largely fruitful,” the release maintained.
The group seeks to interface with prominent leaders of the north and south senatorial zones of Edo State on the need for the next Governor that will succeed Mr Godwin Obaseki, whose term expires on November 11th, 2024 to be of Esan extraction. This, it contends, is to ensure justice, equity and fairness among the near homogeneous people in the State.
Egbadon, who led the EOI Cosultative Committee, says that since the creation of the state which is founded on a tripod, (Edo South, Edo North and Edo Central districts, respectively) in 1991, the Central zone has not produced the Governor, except for the short period that Prof. Osunbor was governor for about 18 months.
“Chief Odigie Oyegun from Edo South was the first Governor after the State was created in 1991. Governor Lucky Igbinedion from Edo South did 8 years. After him, Governor Adams Oshiomhole from Edo North was also on the saddle for 8 years. Governor Godwin Obaseki also from Edo South will be rounding off his 8 year tenure by November, 2024. To ensure political inclusion, it’s only fair that Edo Central be allowed to take a shot at the governorship seat in 2024.” Hon. Egbadon, who was the pioneer Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly at its creation in 1992, contends.
The group which began the series of consultative meeting on Friday with an engagement with prominent chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Osi Orbih , was later received by the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, CFR. as well as by Hon Charles Idahosa, a former Political Adviser to Governor Oshiomhole. The delegation also met with other leaders including the former Majority Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Mathew Iduoriyekenmwen as well as the All People’s Congress (APC) Candidate in the 2020 Governorship Election, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. The team also had talks with some of the leaders of the Labour Party (LP) and APC.
The EOI leadership will continue the consultative engagement with prominent political and influential leaders in Edo South and Edo North with a view to encouraging them to support Esan candidates in their respective parties.
While noting that there are many aspirants from Edo Central angling to contest the 2024 governorship election on the platform of the various parties, EOI President reveals that a criteria committee headed by Constitutional Law Scholar, Prof Mike Ikhariale, has been put in place to help prune down the aspirants to a manageable numbers.
“While we seek to present the best candidates, only aspirants with gravitas and have support base in the northern and southern senatorial zones, will be supported. They must also be persons who demonstrate very high commitment to the overall development of the nooks and crannies of Edo State,” the group insists.
Other members of the EOI delegation include the Vice President, Eng George Okoyo, Secretary, Dr Celey Okogun, Treasurer, Eng Henry Ikheloa, PRO, Mr Tony Iyare and the Vice President, Association of Esan Professionals (AEP), Eng Obehi Okosun.
The Consultative team under the aegis of the EOI, also consists of former Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Post Primary Education, Dr Rosaline Etiti Okosun, renowned academics, Prof Friday Okonofua, Prof Oyaziwo Aluede and Prof Austine Aghemelo.
Others are Mr John Okoh, Hon Eugene Iyoha, Mr Christopher Atako, Hon Mike Enaboifo, Barr Tony Enaboifo, Sir Martin Ibhazekhioria and Mr Alex Orukpe. The team also had Mr Prosper Iyere, Mr Peter Tahir Akhimien, Ms Lawrenta Okojie, Mr Batholomew Okoudu and Hon Joshua Akhabue.