I have tried to ponder on the negative narrative being peddled and promoted by a few disgruntled persons who now claim to speak for the generality of the Esan People of Edo State, against Governor Godwin Obaseki. This pseudo-ethnic campaign narrative which may be likened to ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, fabricated without even an anomalous grain of truth, while at the same time spinning a mountain-web of lies, is a deliberate misinformation and disinformation account concocted by political wanderers.
If we can remember vividly, it was an APC government, under the then leadership of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who attempted, howbeit fruitlessly, to dethrone one of our revered monarchs in Esanland, His Royal Highness, the Onojie of Uromi, as a result of alleged political differences during the 2016 election. It was Governor Godwin Obaseki, on his assumption of office as Governor of Edo State, even while he was still in APC, who reversed that suspension, thereby reinstating the Onojie to the hallowed throne of his forebears.
Unlike Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Obaseki understood that the sacrosanctity of our traditional institutions cannot be compromised and should be respected for its sacredness. The Governor understood that our monarchs remain the indisputable custodians of our culture and tradition.
That will not be the only time Governor Obaseki has treated our traditional institutions in the state with the utmost respect they deserve. Even while a few persons kept peddling falsehood about some minor disagreement between the Governor and the Benin Royal Palace, the Governor issued a statement restraining all his followers and aides from engaging anyone on the issue or saying anything negative against the highly revered, respected and ancient Palace of Benin Kingdom, which is and remains an institution of pride to all the people of Edo State.
Cases abound where the Governor has time and again given due regard to our traditional institutions; and the Esans must not forget so soon, the humiliation the Oshiomhole-led APC government intended to mete out to the people of Esanland by such ignoble action against the Royal Palace of Uromi. Thanks to Governor Obaseki, the attempt failed.
It was Governor Obaseki who, together with other well-meaning Edo people, made the case to the Federal Government of Nigeria that our very own hero, the late Prof. Ambrose Alli, a former Governor of Bendel State who the then General Buhari administration erroneously arrested and convicted, be granted a presidential pardon post mortem, in order to have the vexatious title of ‘ex convict’ expelled from his name. The president granted that request and the Governor on a yearly basis participates actively in the celebration of the Prof. Ambrose Alli Day.
In honour of our very own Ambrose Alli, Governor Godwin Obaseki is transforming the Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma into a world-class citadel of learning, through various institutional reforms initiatives, infrastructural interventions and tech innovations.
We, as Esan People, cannot be fighting against a friend of Esanland in the person of Obaseki, to support or vote for Oshiomhole-chosen APC candidates. It would be a great disservice and an insult to the memory of the Late Chief Anthony Enahoro and the Late Chief Tony Anenih and other Esan greats, who have paid enormous sacrifices towards the development of Esanland.
The Late Chief Anenih would turn in his grave to see that the PDP he spent his years building in Esanland is being betrayed by those who have reaped the fruits of the party for years. Anenih would never have gone with such a plan. He would have thrown his weight behind Governor Obaseki and the PDP to ensure that the House of Assembly seats in Esanland are delivered for the PDP.
We cannot as a people be fighting for the Esan Agenda and vote against our own interest; we cannot be seen fighting against a Governor that is supposed to help us promote that agenda. We will be shooting ourselves in the foot. It is time to tame our emotions and become strategic in our pursuit of power and the interest of Esan People.
Governor Obaseki, being a liberal administrator, has given every ethnic group a chance in his government, including Esans. Esans hold juicy positions in his cabinet, from Commissioners, Special Advisers, to Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants. Esans serve as MDs of many agencies in the state. How many of these benefits, including diverse Infrastructural interventions in Esanland, can one really relay in a short treatise such as this?
This is a clarion call, therefore, to all well-meaning Esan People to ensure that they come out en masse and vote for PDP candidates for the House of Assembly elections in Esanland on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in order to ensure that these benefits do not elude us again.
The Esan Agenda, for those who truly want its realisation, deserves no less!