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Edo 2024: Esan Will Not Choose Mundanity Over Competence, Capacity – By Darlington Okpebholo Ray


In the height of the clamour for Esan governorship otherwise known as “Esan Agenda immediately after the 2023 general elections, not many knew who the All Progressive Congress, APC would throw into the mix.

There were notables sons of Esan who were jostling for the sole ticket of the party and these were mainly men and women with proven integrity and competence- all professionals in their own rights who had distinguished themselves in their respective endeavours.

Apart from those who were already in the party like Prof Osehreimen Osunbor, a former governor of the state, Dr Dolly Okojie, Rev Fr Obinyan, et al, there were also those joined from the main opposition party in the state, from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, such as Dr Mike Onolememen, a tow-time minister of the federal republic, ministry works and minister of state for defence, Engr. Gideon Ikhine and others.

But when all of a sudden the party eggheads in the state came up with the unholy idea of screening the list of Esan aspirants for them to come up with “the best”, some political pundits raised eyebrows and thought it was an attempt to circumvent the good people of the contemporary Esan Nation by not allowing them to choose their candidate, especially when the idea was mounted by Adams Oshiomhole, a known and an unrepentant hater of Esan nation.

Oshiomhole had a willing tool in a certain Gen Cecil Esekhaigbe, a retired general in the Nigerian Army who some school of thoughts were of the opinion that he could even run for the coveted ticket to represent the APC, alas, he was made the screening committee chair which automatically removed him from the race.

There was an alleged ‘demolition assignment’ handed the retired General by Oshiomhole to ensure the shining lights like Osunbor, Onolememen, Obinyan and Ikhine were screened out of the race why only a serving senator in Monday Okpebholo was left in the race and of course, everyone knew the game plan was to weaken the challenge from Esan and empowering their preferred candidate from Edo south against the run of play.

While these manipulations and marginalisation were taking place in the APC, the PDP was of course zeroing in on a professional, an economist and top corporate lawyer, Asue Ighodalo, with little or no resistance, going by the outcome of the primary.

Esan people saw the manipulations that went on that saw the emergence of Monday Okpebholo as the candidate of APC, and Esan people were disappointed that he was the one APC could bring out among the lots.

Putting Ighodalo side by side with Okpebholo, there’s a distinct difference between the two which is akin to comparing honey with bitter leave.

Asue Ighodalo has a strong track record of success and leadership in both the corporate world and in his involvement in Nigerian economic development initiatives. His experience as Chairman of notable companies and his grassroots political engagement, particularly during his time as a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, suggests a deep understanding of both business and community needs.

On the other hand, while the source “sudden wealth” of Monday Okpebholo remains unknown as speculations are high on some questionable narratives about his wealth, he has also faced criticism for his uneventful or at best lacklustre performance as a senator, which has been characterised by allegations of failure to deliver meaningful development and proper representation of his constituency.

His lack of accessibility and accusations of seeking personal gain through scheming and deceptive politics raise concerns about his suitability for the role of governor.

In terms of credibility, trustworthiness, and reliability, Dr. Asue Ighodalo appears to have a stronger case based on the information provided. His proven track record in various leadership positions and his demonstrated capacity for grassroots engagement suggest he is surely the better equipped to govern Edo State effectively.

The contemporary Esan nation will not slaughter Ighodalo’s capacity, competence and proficiency on the alter of mundanity, cluelessness and mediocrity which are the characteristics of Monday Okpebholo, even though the duo are their sons. There are many unanswered questions about Okpebholo which we will try to unravel in the coming days.





Deacon Darlington Okpebholo Ray, a PDP Chietain from Ward5 Uromi, a spokesperson at Team Asue Media Organisation, (TAMO 2024), Publisher, Journalist, political strategist, media and communications consultant, writes from London, United Kingdom.



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