Edo South Plead For Federal Government Presence

Nigeria in the pre-colonial era was subdivided into four (4) eco-political regions, for administrative convenience and to give a sense of belonging to each region. For emphasis, the region comprises of Northern region, led by (Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto), Eastern Region (Dr. Michael Okpara), Western Region (led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo) and South region were Midwestern Region (led by Denis Osadebe) was carved out. By this geographic and political characteristic, they were often times referred to as premiers.

Each of these region ran self governance and focus on development in their various region. There was a common central government called National Assembly where the four Premiers negotiate for their regions. It should be noted that after the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorate in 1914, Nigeria became divided into Northern and the Southern province and Lagos Colony. From the south, the present day Edo South Senatorial District made both economic and political contact. It was true that the Edo people interacted more with British and the Europeans due to the coastal economy situated at Gelegele port.

Soon the independence era ushered in a tremendous change as well as apt opportunities to the outside wide. At this point the Nigerian nation had her independence, an event that simultaneously took effect between 1960 and 1963 respectively. This was the period of self governance, where complete non-interference was given to emerging Nigerian leaders at that time to rule themselves. The first elected Governor-general was Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe (October 1, 1963 – January 16, 1966).

The country maintained it uniform sharing of allocation and needs and this era snowballed into new administration led by General Yakubu Gowon (Aug 1, 1966 – 29 July 1975). As interest and challenges increased, there came the need for creation of more states by hanging governance systems from region to states. This strategy to ease developmental objectives, he created twelve states.

The Benin Empire (1440–1897; called Bini by most Nigerians) was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It should not be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey. Edo South Senatorial District of Edo State amount to one of the rich cultural, political and economic heritage of present day Nigeria. In the South-South geopolitical zone, in term of the political scheme of things. By definition Edo South is a political and economic factor, as well as a power denominator in the historic arrangement of the nation.

However, in all of this, Edo South has been relevant in the scheme of things and has helped define and designed the paths of the old and new Nigeria. Our minority status has not undermined our roles in nation building; the kingdom has done her part in shaping, in partnership with our ethnic nationalities, the destiny and unity of the Nigerian nation. Benin Kingdom, being the economic and social political hub of Edo land, our rich cultural heritage is second to none, our people were never considered for juice position at the Federal level, even though they were more qualified, experienced, educated and morally upright Benin sons and daughters in various vocational chimes across the nation.

Consequent upon the present realities, there are various indicators designed by enemies of the kingdom aimed at diverting federal government from the development of the overall wellbeing of Edo South Senatorial. Perhaps the Federal government is not aware that till date, Edo South is still being relegated to the background. Although we have couple of good reasons not to be too ambitions, based on the clear spirit of unity amongst Nigerian ethnic groups – a practice that the revered King (His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo) demonstrates to bill his subjects.

From 1999 till date, underdevelopment of the Edo South region of the State has been backward; despite the revenue allocated to the overall development. A higher percentage of the monies were diverted to personal funds by various successive administrations, even when selected groups petitioned the systemic usage of state funds by individual elected officials. By this sharing formula, these leaders (who often arrogate to themselves the status of demigods) then considered whatever was given to the two other senatorial districts i.e. Edo North and Central as our collective benefits. This sharing formula was expedient on the political whims and caprices of sectional dimension, a tendency that is rippling Edo South in recent time.

As concerned group poised to reawaken development of the region, this is an issue to re-examine critically and thus propose a very urgent interventionist policy to remedy the situation before it get worse.

Our youths, elders, traditional rulers and our great Monarch are aware that Edo South has not been fared well politically. These agitations have been on and a reference case was the publication of our Royal Prince; Prof. Edun Akenzua on the Guardian Newspaper dated January 24, 2012.

The presidency should be aware of the potentials within the region comprising seven (7) local government areas that include: Uhunmwode, Ikpoba Okha, Oredo, Ovia North East, Ovia South West and Orhionmwon respectively. The region account for majority of votes from the state, and thus we have always achieve political decorum and morality by our voting population and landmass. For statistic purpose, we account for 1.4 per cent of the Nation’s landmass and 1.7 per cent of Nigeria’s population; invariably translating into 53.8 per cent land mass in the state and 61.3 per cent of the population. Based on the fauna, the region abounds in plenty. In agriculture, natural resources, industries, economy, tourism, culture, Edo South in some ways feeds the nation and lead the process in the development chart of state; yet one wonder why Edo South region has been so inestimably disconnected.

From the Intellectual recourse of Ayo Teriba, it is indicative that, the South-south still had the largest gross regional product, N15.65 trillion (38.6% of Nigeria’s GDP), followed by the North-west’s N8.4 trillion (20.65%), South-west’s N8.2 trillion (20.26%), and North-central’s N5.7 trillion (15%). South-east’s N1.4 trillion (3.27%) and North-central’s N1.2 (3.11%) trillion were the smallest GRPs in 2012, each being even smaller than the increase in South-west’s regional output that year. More importantly, South-east and North-east not only had the smallest economies in 2012, they also recorded the least absolute and percentage growths. From this statistics, Edo South is part of the huge statistical elevation, yet we are relegated far below development benchmark.

Beyond our numerical strength that have accounted for the huge electoral victory from Edo State in all major political power play, we also boast of the following:

• Rich oil communities spread around three (3) local governments where productions of crude oil and gas – (in recent time in Orhionmwon LGA) in large quantity have been generated for over a decade.

• We can identify more than ten (10) E & P companies operating in Edo South. In Ikpoba Okha and Orhionmwon respective, major E & P that play key roles in commercial oil and gas have shown little or no efforts to meet their part of the GMOU agreement based on outlines. These we doubt have a major contribution to the national income of the country.

• It is a fact however that the entire country share from the proceed of oil as we did in the days of the groundnut pyramid in the North and the cocoa plantation in the South-West.

Although we have intention to advocate for resource control, just like our neighbours of south-south/Niger Delta States, but we obliged you (Mr. President) to reconsider our potentials which lies in our human capacity, arable land and rich oil wealth t

o give what is due and appropriate to Edo South when benefits comes to the state.

A journey back into the historic archives of our nation from 1999 till date, on how many Edo South indigenes of Edo State have fared, the gory tales, economically and politically are scattered in various archives and no longer news. The Edo South indigenes that has given juicy opportunities by the Federal Government, above all has been alarming. The intellectual work of Prof. Edun Akenzua speaks volume on the bad manner, and the deliberate marginalization of Edo South region in the political scheme of things. Copied from internet, this research has revealed more areas of marginalization.

The presence of E & P companies in the region, of which Edo South contribute immensely to, is of no benefit to our people. Federal Government and private partnership agreement such as NPDC and DSL do not engage or patronize our people; we see this as outright marginalization and usurpation of Edo South people. For instance, we earnestly suggest that the Federal Government should make it a must that every contract in the tune of N500, 000 and below be given to our indigene; while the large one should be on open tender; will this not empower our people; instead of giving such contracts to one Mallam or Alhaji Musa or Ahmed in Katsina or Zamfara.

In terms of functional infrastructural presence, our communities’ especially in oil producing areas, as well as the major economic hub of the state lacks infrastructural development. For the negligence, our arable land and farm produce are not properly harnessed.

The National Assembly representation is not commensurate with our population and landmass; as representatives are not the electoral expressions and mandates of the people. Which means most of our leaders that purported represents us; are often time than not the godsons and daughters of men and women with no clear-cut progressive ambition for the overall growth and prosperity of our land. The population of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo South as it is recorded is 374,671 as at the 2006 census. Taraba State alone was 2,294,800, while Kogi was 115,900. While Oredo have one federal representative, the other two regions in their minute population also have one. Same strategy is use to marginalize Uhunmwode/Orhionmwon with 182,000 population (a landmass bigger than Edo Central), yet it has one representative.

While political representative’s constituency project budget for the larger amount. Major development, sensitive to need based communities hardly gets the desired impacts, irrespective of the huge sums of monies earmarked for infrastructural development and wealth creation for the downtrodden. Whereas while the larger stifles for budgetary realization; as some of these monies are corned into private bank accounts, those with lower population celebrate bounty. Edo South people must re-examine our system and work out an equitable sharing methods for the sake of one Nigeria and one nation and we call on the Federal Government to look into this inequality and disequilibrium with all sense of urgency.

We have over the years console ourselves with the fact that maybe we do not have sons and daughters that are close to the presidency as other senatorial districts; who often negotiate for the Edo South Senatorial districts based on needs and representation. All and sundry will agree that this is a fact. For the record, we have Chief Tony Anenih (the Iyase of Esanland) who speaks for Edo Central senatorial region, the cases of late Augustine Akhigbe and Late Okhai Aikhomo we similar case study. Today above all else, we also have a powerful personality of the presidency; Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, who of course speaks for the Edo North Senatorial districts. The question that comes too quickly to the minds and lips of indigenes of Edo South is; who is that Edo son or daughter that is our mouthpiece?

Over the years leaders of the Edo South stocks have emerged; we have Charles Idahosa, Osazee Ize-Iyamu, Prof. Edun Akenzua, as well as others too numerous to mention. These Sons and Daughters of the realm who have carved a niche for themselves; who one way or the other has had the blessings reverence of all and sundry in the Kingdom, merits various juice policies; so that in times of relevance, we can have true representatives of the regions who speaks for Edo South region of the Edo State.

There are numerous development targets that must be met for the region to spring back to board; for her to regard her proper place in the scheme of things; diverse strategies should be encourage for the region to grow fairly, while leveraging on the transformation agenda of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Federal Government led administration to thoroughly take the right steps towards genuine development of Edo South senatorial districts. Among our demands includes but not limited to the following:

a. Respected Indigenes of Edo South be given Ministerial, civil service, and other Federal appointments; so as to demonstrate serene distribution of positions based on fairplay
b. Edo South is given administrative power of the state in the next eight years; to allow for comprehensive infrastructural development.
c. That the Federal Government must guide our actors to allow for fairness and equity of represent, by allowing Edo South people to choose the leaders of their dreams.
d. A state of emergency be declared in the hinter land local government areas, where natural resources of its great dimension is present; such as the establishment or a University of Technology to build the capacity of Locals to harness the potentials that abound the region
e. An Oil and Gas institute be cited in Edo South Region, to play host to engaging Edo South Indigenes in exploration, as well as engineering venture; such as drilling, milling and other relevant oil and gas trades.
f. Employment and Job opportunities be even distributed along cashment areas.
g. Engage the grassroots people in participatory democracy and political enlightenment via an enabling environment that gives room for tolerance, especially through the official presentation of the whitepaper report on constitutional review.
h. Emerging young politicians be allowed to grown and network through access to federal appointments, employments and other benefits.
i. Since we have capable and credible men and women, leaders of repute in Edo South, the Federal Government should create a mainstreaming approach to identify and work with these leaders to bring positive change, irrespective of any political affiliations.

Written by
Carl Collins Ogunshola Oshodi
Join the discussion