Letter to Edo State House of Assembly

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

To the honorable members of the Edo State House of Assembly: it does not give me any pleasure to write these lines to you. Sometime ago, I think in the year 2000 or so when I was a rookie stringer and a fledgling journalist, I wrote about you via the Nigerian Observer telling you how much I admired what you were doing and what you stood for as members of an organ of government that should keep the executive on its toes. In that essay, I told you all that I was proud of you, how you changed the name of the Edo State House of Assembly to that of an elder statesman that contributed immensely to the Nigerian nation. I saw you then as the group that God has sent to Edo State to bring about much-needed growth and development especially in the area of the human being. But today, the kind of appalling silence that comes from you as Edo State and particularly Benin City falls into ruins is louder than the booms of hand grenades and the rat-tat-tat staccato sounds of an AK-47. So, what I have to say to you now comes from deep inside my guts and I have no regrets whatsoever if you take my words amiss.

There is one of you now whose vocabulary is known to invoke fire and brimstone and sulphuric acid. If he makes three sentences and the word ‘imbroglio’ was not among them, then it was not him that made the utterance. A long time ago, he came to our house in Benin on bathroom slippers begging us to vote for him. Back then in Uniben, he was known as a radical on the side of the progressives and a Marxist on the side of the rights of man. He told us, swearing by his grandfather’s grave, that he would go right down there and take the bull of stagnation in Benin City by the horns and by the balls. What is it that has happened to him? Has he compromised? And why did such a seeming bright chap allow himself to lie with the strange bedfellows in that house? It is a person of his character and disposition who may want to let you know from Thomas Jefferson that the one man who refuses to be cowed usually makes the majority.

Some houses of Assembly in Nigeria today are the hope of the common man against the tyranny of the executive across the country whether some believe this or not. From the Senate to the House of Representatives; from Bayelsa to Oyo and from Ekiti to Anambra and to Plateau, the battle axe of impeachment has fallen decisively on the tin gods of these states either on account of their insensitivity, their high-handedness or that they were guilty of all of these. In your state, Edo, the governor has not tarred roads; there is no power supply in that whole town, leaving some of us to wonder whether or not there is any iota of government in that state. The only viable industry in that ancient town of yours still is the okada and the Italian Connection. As soon as anyone enters that City of yours from any part of the country, the feeling one immediately gets is that this is an abandoned town. Whatever is it that you people are waiting for to impeach a governor who hardly performed in his first tenure and his father begged that he repeat a class that he failed so woefully? Has the governor given you so much money that you have allowed your very own town to dilapidate and rot? If the governor were not an indigene of Edo State, would you people allow him carry on the way he is doing? Are you aware that in conspiring and aligning with the governor, you abdicate your primary responsibility to the people of Edo state who are supposed to have elected you, even though some of you got there by crook?

By far the most nauseating project that you have almost embarked upon that will establish you as a coterie of semi-jobless people who lack the drive and vision for leadership is that you are considering changing the name, ‘University of Benin’, to ‘Samuel Ogbemudia University’. I do not know where the need to change the name of the only institution that energizes our spinal cord and establishes a nostalgic touch with those of us who are not even from that state came from. There are burning issues; there are urgent needs to be met in Edo State; there are roads begging to be tarred and people hunger for the economic activities that power supply can trigger in Benin City. Are the honorable members saying that with the change in the name of the University of Benin to Samuel Ogbemudia University, that the roads will be automatically tarred; that there will be electricity; that there will be jobs for the virile young men and women who are now armed robbers and prostitutes in Italy? Is that what you are saying? One would have thought that with the change of name from Ogbe Stadium to Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, Edo state should bounce back to her days of glory when she was part of the old Bendel state. But that has not been the case. In the last National sports festival, Edo state was not among the major players. Bendel Insurance FC’s fortunes are at its lowest ebb. Her athletes, sportsmen and women live their lives daily measured out in tiny spoons of bournvita. Take for instance too the BENSU of yore. As soon as the name of that university was changed to Ambrose Ali University, anarchy seemed to have set in. That school’s law faculty that was one of the best in Nigeria began to experience a slide and before anyone knew what was happening, the school became known as a haven of cult activity. Take too the instance of the change in the name of the Edo State House of Assembly. People became more myopic and less universal in their approach to issues as soon as that name came into effect. It seemeth then that change in names of once virile institutions in Edo State is the injection of a virus that cripples the creative potential of those institutions. If this is what the honorable Edo state legislators have in mind then it is most unfortunate. They should remember that the fact that that school is cited in their domain hardly is the reason they should tinker with a school that represents some sort of spiritual umbilical cord to some of us.

The name they have in mind to change the University of Benin to is an auspicious one. The man Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia was the architect of that town even when he was a military man and the kind of stories we used to hear about him gave us a sense of pride and belonging then and now. As recognition for his contributions to that State, there is nothing wrong really, if they name an equally auspicious school after an auspicious person. But that is not what we in Edo state are after now. Naming that school after him will not tar the roads, will not provide electricity and will not stem the tide of poverty in that city. The lawmakers should focus their energies on how to impeach the governor and bring some air of decorum to the business of governance in that state. If you look at it a little deeper than what is on ground, I sense a very parochial and a very mundane reason why they want to engage themselves in such trivia as the changing of the name of Great Uniben! to something as drab as Great SOU!

You may also like


Saggy Priest November 25, 2014 - 10:28 am

i’d like to take this opportunity to thank the comrade governor the eye opener
of Edo state,for taken the state to the next level.
Never the less your name have entered into the list of good governance we ever
had in Edo state; yes!you will be remembered among the good governance in our land
the comrade governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole,you tried my comrade,may the God who made
heaven and Earth gives you longlife and good health Amen.
who will be the next governor after Oshiomhole? that will bring about a positive change
in our land.
May the lord God bless Edo state Amen.

courtesy:Osagiedoghama Eghobamien a.k.a (Saggy Priest)
G.S.M no 08036108597

Doris Imiegba March 29, 2010 - 10:55 am

The recent fracas in Edo State House of Assembly is not only disturbing but a shame! A politician talks; A thug fights; which side are you members of Edo state House of Assembly? Honourable or Dishonourable?

Impeaching Hon. Zakawanu Garuba as speaker without an earlier caution, or warnings is a political. Members of Edo State House of Assembly should borrow leaf from their counterparts who are executing poverty alleviation projects, free school uniforms and text books, free lunch, to primary school pupils and a lot of infrastructures like roads, schools, hospitals, just name it. We know you have eaten to your full but do not be bloody fools. Cooperate with yourselves and people’s governor Comrade Oshiomhole so that he can deliver, otherwise Nemeses will strike.

elvis February 13, 2010 - 10:33 am

this article is exellent, the first coment on the article is well enformed i am inpressed

DESTINY November 28, 2006 - 9:33 am

It is on record to note that Edo state is the most backward state in Nigeria inspite of the abundant resources and the federal allocations to the state. In as far as the the three tiers of government in the state are corrupt, inefficient, backward and redundant, there will never be any meaningful development in the state. I always bury my face in shame each time I tell my friends that I am from Edo state because of the the high rates of crime, cult activities in the schools, poor infrastructural developments, blind godfatherism, dwarfism of the house of assembly members and other ills too many to mention. When a ruler does not have shame ever when the community he rules wears the garment that has the label of prostitution of her women in far away lands coupled with the robe of 419 of her unemployed youths, such a community is headed for perpetual doom. Edo state seems destined for that route. The elders are not ever helping matters as they are as corrupt as the governor and his cohorts. In short, the head, body and the tail of governance in Edo state are all rotten. Only GOD can save us.

DANIELLA DANIEL July 2, 2018 - 12:02 pm

God is our present help and he will help EDO state and it is filled with the love of God.

prince kennedy Iyoha November 23, 2006 - 5:24 pm

Mr. MajiriOghene Bob. I want to thank you for this very touching article. To be honest most of us from that state fills disgusted and helpless about the situation of the state. It is true that Dr Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia contributed to making the state what it is today, but one cannot help to think that he is part of the problem the state is facing right now. It is like the old man has began to connive with his best friend Mr Tony Aneni, and the father of his Excellency. Governor Lucky Igbinadion, to ruin the state. What is surprising, is why Lucky knowing that most of the young Edo men and women worked fervently to seeing him in the state house, hoping that with his background as a master degree holder from one of the top University in the states, we believed he was out to work for the interest of the people. Beside he was young and dynamic. The filling about him today, is of disappointment, helplessness, and hopelessness. It is hard to see how Dr Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia and those who called themselves the PDP giants of the state force the Governor to rather satisfy their personal need, for helping him win the second term in Office. The ex military leader has made a legacy for himself, and therefore fighting with cone means any other Governor that will supersedes his achievements. If he thinks his past work will remove the peoples eyes from his dubious work, he should better think again. We are watching closely the trial of the vice president where his name came to light about money given to an agency under his control. It is sad to hear how the Edo state police force is wasting the lives of young men and women without accusation or trial under the noise of Governor Lucky Igbinedion, and the so called Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia. Nemesis will defiantly catch on them soon or later. And they will be brought from grace to disgrace. Like you rightly mention, the people of Edo state constitute more than 50% of both legal and illegal migrants in Europe and America. The poor state of socio economic situation is next to nothing. Most of these girls worked themselves up in many occasion without cloths on them, to help feed their family back home. When you retune to the city after some years in Europe, you will be forced to ask. Where are all the money sent from Europe, America, Asia to that city? Unless people like Mr Igbinedion senior, Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia, Tony Aneni and a host of them are bunt in hail, the state will never see the light of day, because in the next election, they will handpick the person they know will serve their interest, to the detriment of the entire people of the state, and Dr Osaigbovo Samuel Ogbemudia, will think people will not see his handwork in all the backwardness of the state, and the pressure he is putting on the supposed honourable members of the Edo State House of Assembly to honour him with the renaming of the Ogbe Stadium to Samuel Ogbemudia stadium , and now Uniben, to Samuel Ogbemudia University'. Why has he not put the same pressure on the very same house to improve the infrastructure of the state, or improve the economy. Time alone will put all of this evil men to their place


Leave a Comment