Who Marginalised Esan Land?

Since the campaigns for the September 10 governorship election in Edo State started, the main opposition party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has been telling the world, especially some gullible Esan people that the state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his All Progressive Congress, APC marginalised Esan land in his developmental efforts in the state. However, the picture is getting clearer as the D-day for the election draws closer. In fact, it’s better to declare here, instead of begging the issue that the blowing wind has exposed the anus of the fowl for all to see. A first class traditional ruler and the vice chair of the Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs in the state, who is no less a person than the Onojie of Opoji, HRH Ehidiamen Aidonojie 1 has hit the nail on the head, he puts the records straight, quoting facts and figures to remove any iota of doubts, except in the minds of the gullible. Barely 10 days to the election, these hard facts as reaveled by this fire brand no- nonsense royal father has finally unmasked the character(s) behind the criminal marginalisation of a section of Esan land, commonly referred to as the old Opkebho comprising three local governments of Esan West with Ekpoma as the headquarters, Esan Central with Irua as the headquarters and Igueben Igueben. According to the Onojie, in the 10 years when the PDP held sway in Edo State, virtually all the developments and key appointments in Esan land have always been concentrated in two local governments otherwise known as Agbazilo, the darling of the Lion of Uromi. That is, Esan North East with Uromi as the headquarters and Esan South East with Ubiaja as the headquarters, alleging that one man, and PDP chieftain, Chief Tony Anenih was behind the manipulation, using his influential position in the party. He said Oshiomhole was God sent to right the wrong, adding that indeed, the Comrade Governor has corrected the injustice in the last seven and a half years of his tenure in office. He vowed, saying that regardless of the alleged threats, himself and his people shall reciprocate this gesture with their PVC come September 10.

To further amplify these facts and bring them to the knowledge of the common man on the street, I have to donate my today’s back page collunm to run an excerpt of an interview the fire grand and courageous Onojie granted Vanguard’s Simon Ebegbulem as published in the last Saturday’s edition of the widely circulated tabloid. Excerpts:
On Anenih
………Just because we said no to his candidate, Ize-Iyamu, then he thinks that Esan land must fall. No way, because we are not fools. Recently, he was going to homes of traditional rulers in Esan land campaigning for Ize-Iyamu. He went to Esan West at the place of Onojie of Ekpoma and asked him why they were allowing me to lead them. They responded that I am the first vice chairman and as such , if I call a meeting they will attend. Anenih is not a traditional ruler and as such, he was advised not to dabble into matters concerning the traditional institution. …….The 29 traditional rulers that endorsed Godwin Obaseki of the APC in Esan land have already reaffirmed their decision that it is irrevocable.We did that because we have never had it so Good in Edo State until Oshiomhole’s APC came.

Why we oppose PDP
Let me tell you why we are opposing anything PDP. During the administration of Lucky Igbenedion, under Anenih’watch, the 5 per cent approved for traditional rulers from the allocation accrued to the state was never given to us, it was denied us. Rather, they were giving us 2 or 3 per cent maximum and that was when this same Ize-Iyamu was chief of staff and SSG to Igbinedion. The records are there. We never knew that they were cheating us until Oshiomhole came and we started receiving the full 5 per cent. Chief Anenih has been going round begging traditional rulers to support Ize-Iyamu but many have told him that it is not about sentiments but the future of our people. Besides, you cannot go to local governments where you removed two of their sons as governor and speaker asking for votes and support. There are some no-go areas here. Anenih has forgotten what happened some years ago when Ugbesia was campaigning. He said it was the last campaign for him, I am surprised that he is saying Ize-Iyamu’s campaign is the last for him. So, when will he retire from politics? He has used Esan people a lot but we are now wiser. Esan people will vote for progress and not for poverty and of course, no man is God.

How he removed our sons
How can we support PDP when Chief Anenih masterminded the removal of Prof Ambrose Ali as Governor of old Bendel State? He also went against Osunbor both of them from old Opkebho and at the same time, he removed Thomas Okosun as Speaker and gave it to Matthew Egbadon from Uromi. He removed David Iyoha who was Speaker from old Opkebho and gave it to Friday Itulah from Uromi. After removing Ambrose Ali, he took the flour mill from Ewu to Uromi. It was General Useni who reverted the Flour Mill to Ewu. All the appointments due to Edo State since 1999 Anenih assembled all in Uromi. Prof Okojie, Executive Secretary, National University Commission, Austin Okojie, INEC Commissioner, Prof ibadin, CMD, UBTH,( this is his second tenure), Dr Okpere, CMD, UBTH. For 16 years he was in charge of UBTH. Matthew Egbadon, Nigeria Maritime Authority. It was in Anenih’s time that Lucky Igbinedion closed down Ambrose Ali University for one year. That helped Igbinedion University to grow.So, PDP spearheaded by Anenih himself marginalised Esan people. Some of us see Oshiomhole as the man God sent because prior to his coming, they ensured there were no primaries in the PDP. Even councillors from my village were hand-picked. Esan people had no voice, Oshiomhole has done well for Esan people that is why majority of us traditional rulers endorsed Obaseki. APC government built schools, constructed borehole and beautified roads including the one leading to chief Anenih’s house.

The late Chief Anthony Enahoro who is from Uromi gave water to the whole Esan people but the water Obasanjo promised Esan people when his wife, Stella died, Anenih was asked to execute the project, and when he brought the equipment, he went to the stream in Ugboha the neighbouring town to Uromi he took water from there to Uromi but he did not give to Ugboha. That prompted the people of Ugboha to destroy the pipes.You can see the marginalization, you are either an Uromi man or you get nothing. If you see any appointment by anybody outside Uromi, then you know that the person got it through some powerful connection in Abuja. It was Gen Abbey, a Benin man who helped Dr Osifo into the board of Civil Defence and Immigration. From there, Osifo empowered several sons and daughters of Esan. Because he is from Opkebho, Anenih was not happy that he got the job. When Osunbo was governor, he promised to build a model secondary school in Opoji because that was where he was born, but Anenih quarreld with him and asked him to take the school to Uromi. Ize-Iyamu is a product of Anenih and Igbinedion, so we cannot support him. We are happy with the present APC government and we are going to support Godwin Obaseki.

We didn’t endorse Ize-Iyamu
There was no time we endorsed Ize-Iyamu in Uromi. How can we do that when he was one of the kingpins who marginalised the Edo people, Esan people in particular while he was SSG? If you can remember, Ize-Iyamu was more powerful than Igbinedion who was governor then.And it is because I said the truth that the PDP does not deserve the vote of Esan people that Anenih is fighting me. On the 10th of September you will see what is going to happen. Those that endorsed a pastor with native chalk on his head and those that spoke with the bible, the war is between darkness and light. I see the native chalk as an affliction. During the last governorship election, somebody received that same native chalk from some Onojies but Oshiomhole defeated the person. You do not compare darkness with light. God will decide on the 10th. I must tell you that we have 29 traditional rulers who have endorsed Godwin Obaseki. Recently few of the traditional rulers called a meeting at Ewatto, they had only nine members when I called my own I had 19. The governor of Edo State is our son, he has done well, we cannot go back to Egypt. Obaseki has come with his programme, Ize-Iyamu also came with his own. So, we made a choice, we compared the two parties what they have done in the past. We then asked ourselves, what did the PDP do for us? Which school did they build? Did they build road? Did Benin have a new look? Oshiomhole even build the roads leading to Anenih’s house, Edo people will decide and Esan people cannot be foolish to vote poverty.This election is not going to be on sentiments but people will vote on the reality on ground.