It’s normal in politics that once a declaration is made, there must be those that will not be favourably dispose to it.
This is unconnected to the reaction of a section of Edo people, when Governor Adams Oshiomhole declared support for the governorship aspiration of Godwin Obaseki.
With the governor’s statement, though not even public, the political equation in the state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) immediately changed, with all other aspirants who are nursing the ambition of succeeding Oshiomhole vehemently opposing it.
Their reasons for opposing the governor’s choice may have varied widely, but the ones infamously touted by the various groups that kicked against the choice of Oshiomhole were those of loyalty and fear of being thrown out of job by the technocrats if he wins the governorship race.
Many believed that they are worried because the outgoing governor of the state run an all inclusive and all embracing government wherein you don’t need to be a son of a big man or political godfather before you are given appointment, claiming that ‘manager’ GO may go and bring his friends from Lagos for appointment after he becomes the governor, who many believed is not popular to win the 2016 guber race in the state.
They argued that he ought to have support Ogie Osarodion as mark of reward for loyalty who many believe to be more popular and enjoy the support of the party leadership and the Oba palace.
But the governor’s position was very clear on the matter. He will not sacrifice competency for loyalty and popularity.
It could be recalled that the positions of the various stakeholders in the party soon pitched APC in the state into two major groups of those that oppose the Governor’s choice and the other that supports it. Each also began to sell its aspirant to the delegates and electorates.
Some Benin elders and palace chiefs in the state, with vested interest, has be speculated to have threatened to abandon the governor on his choice if he refuses to change his mind about GO. The group opted for the incumbent commissioner of work of the state, Barr. Osarodion Ogie as its aspirant.
If the elders and the youths do not want GO, what they should simply do is sell their candidate to the people, and GO will be voted out if actually they have the prerequisite and the credentials.
But the group would not do so. They keep blaming and attacking the Governor, such that they virtually forgot to project the good qualities of their aspirants for the primary.
But unfortunately, one thing they are forgetting to do is to start campaigning for, and selling the aspiration of their aspirants lined up for the primary to the people that were supposed to vote for them.
On the other hand, the Governor group has continued to campaign for their aspirant; efforts have been devoted to selling GO to the delegates.
The Governor group believe that we must move the discourse away from loyalty to competence and the ability to move Edo State forward in the interest of the generality of the populace.
For equity, justice and fairness to be said to have been fully realised, a level play ground should be provided and whoever it pleases God to enthrone, let APC and Edo people rally behind such a person to take the state to the next level. But to say other aspirants should fold their hands and watch who becomes governor is to ask them to mortgage their rights to vote and be voted for.
Let all APC members concentrate on issues that bind us together as a party and not allow the aspirations of a few people tear us apart We are already having a fragmented polity along tribal and zonal lines. Elders and Youth alike who have aspirants they are supporting should rather sell their products than push it down the throat of others.
I urge our governor, party leaders and teaming youth supporters, to shun sentiments and divisive tendencies and support credible, competent aspirants during the 2016 primary.
As party leaders and youths, we must break the barrier of political sentiments in our state to give room for credibility and competence. We must collectively work hard to give our state the best of what we have.
We are happy that Governor Adams Oshiomhole did not disappoint the people of Edo State and he believes that the young people have the capacity to deliver the state. That is why today he is a strong advocate of handing over power to the youths in 2016.
What the governor has done is a standard, and we will continue to build on it, adding that, the Edo youths have a future that is rushing with high speed and. I urged us to be prepared to summon the courage to face the challenges without fear of anyone.
God Bless our Comrade Governor!
God Bless Edo State!
Ambrose Kevin Akhigbe is a postgraduate student of international politics from OAU