Edo politics and the perennial pretenders
THE race towards who succeeds Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State on November 12, this year has already begun; while the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission is yet to come out with its guidelines for the election, people in the state and, indeed, political watchers already know those who are in the race for the tickets of the two leading parties: the All Progressives Congress (APC), the ruling party in the state and at the federal level and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the opposition party.
In the APC, a certain Kenneth Imansuagbon, a lawyer by profession, an educationist by vocation and politician by calling is one of those ready to throw his hat in the ring for the ticket of his party. Better known as the rice man for his annual ritual of assaulting the sensibilities of the Edo people every December, when he ‘distributes’ rice, actually, he flings one kilogramme sachet of rice to a handful of people in a most embarrassing and dehumanising manner, Imansuagbon has taken his ridiculous ritual to a nauseating height.
He now believes his annual ritual is enough to buy him the seat of governor of Edo State. For Imansuagbon, a few posers: he has a thriving school for children of Nigerians in the upper class, those who may have fed fat on the common patrimony and his school is located not in Benin City, the capital of Edo state nor is it located in Ewohinmi, a local place a few years ago whose fortunes have undergone extreme transformation under the administration of Oshiomhole. The school is located in far-away Abuja,the capital of Nigeria, home of the rich and powerful.
Now how will Imansuagbon convince Edo people of his love for them, when he can’t even establish his school which employs more than fifty people including teachers and others in his state? On his annual rice ritual, Imansuagbon should tell the people of Edo State where his rice farm is in the state or better still, tell the people which of the rice farms he engages to produce rice for him for distribution at Christmas.
The man will simply find it difficult to answer the questions. . He has no rice farm or buys from the many rice farmers in the state. He simply imports from Thailand or elsewhere and re-bags into one kilogramme sachets with which he seeks to worm his way into the hearts of the people. He seeks to replicate the stomach infrastructure politics of Ayo Fayose in Edo State, but he forgets that Edo people are very proud, industrious and sophisticated people who can’t be bought with a handful of grains of rice! In the PDP is another ‘pretender’, a man who prefers to call himself “Pastor”. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former Secretary to Government in the administration of Mr. Lucky Igbinedion. He has left no one in doubt that he wants to be governor .
The man, who many swear was in charge as Lucky was mostly outside the country, now speaks from both sides of his mouth. Sometimes, Ize-Iyamu would seek to whitewash the infamous Igbinedion’s government explaining that the government performed, even beyond what the people see and know. At other times, he would seek to extricate himself from the mess of that government and he has hired some hack writers, to launder his image. Now he has extended all this to the government of Oshiomhole, believing that running down the government and lying on the achievements of the administration will win him the PDP ticket.
He has suddenly turned a TV jester, such that people now refer to him as Baba Suwe. Sometimes he would say the state has collected over N1 trillion from the federation account under this present government, at other times it would be over N4 trillion; sometimes the debt profile of the state would be over N200 billion at other times it would be over N700 billion. What confusion! His confusion has extended to the Central Hospital.
He claims the brand new 200-bed hospital, the cynosure of all eyes in Edo, the pride of the Edo people, an architectural masterpiece which bestrides the landscape and sits with all glory and majesty on Sapele road close to the Kings Square is a white sepulcher. Sometimes, he claims it is not a new hospital, at other times he faults the location of the hospital, saying it should have been sited far in the bush, away from the city centre.
The antecedents of Mr. Ize-Iyamu, his role in the many losses the PDP suffered in the hands of the Action Congress, Action Congress of Nigeria and All Progressives Congress are still fresh in the minds of the PDP. His abuses and the many insults he heaped on PDP leaders will come back to haunt him.
A man who could not even manage Jonathan’s campaign rice which allegedly diverted, cannot be trusted to manage Edo State. As I advised Imansuagbon, the earlier Ize-Iyamu packed up his campaign bags, the better for him. Edo people have moved on, they are wiser, they will not be dragged back to a horrible past.
Nosakhare Osahon, a commentator on national affairs, wrote from Benin City, Edo State.