Old Okpebho Federal Constituency In Edo State: A Call For Equity

by Lucky Diagi
Gov. Obaseki

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need”- Rick Riordan

As a political commentator and concerned democrat, l am indeed constrained to make this personal appeal public, concerning the upcoming primary election into the National Assembly, especially as it relates to the old Okpebho Federal Constituency( now Esan Central, Esan West and Igueben Federal Constituency), under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP).

It is unarguable that the contest for the old Okpebho Federal Constituency is normally subjected to horse trading, intrigues and heavy manipulations by interested political heavyweights in that locality.

Going down memory lane, one discovered that Bendel State as it was, gave birth to the old Okpebho and Agbazilo, now Edo Central, while Okpebho has metamorphosed into what we know as Esan Central, Esan West and Igueben Federal Constituency.

The above mentioned three Local Government Areas, could best be described as a political haven, thanks to the political dexterity of the then National Leader of the People’s Democratic Party, late High Chief Tony Anenih, who had the ears of his followers, who always aligned with his positive decisions that made all and sundry to speak in one mighty voice.

Retrospectively, since the creation of the then Bendel State, now Edo State, ‘Third term’ is an aberration in Edo Central. Those who attempted to go beyond ‘Second term’, were always rebuked to save their breath and money, by the then legendary National Leader.

Therefore, this precedent of ‘Second term’ must be upheld in the continuous interest of the unity and the laid down positive tradition of Edo Central.

The only unfortunate and regrettable scenario that worked against Igueben Local Government then was the issue of zoning of candidates, which the power brokers hid under. This time around, with a sitting Governor of a ruling party like the People’s Democratic Party, the issue of minority should not arise.

It is sad to note that this syndrome has put only this Igueben Local Government in a political purdah, since the creation of Midwest to Bendel State, now Edo State, as it has not had the benefit of a shot at the National Assembly.

The argument of numerical strength, is not tenable in a State where the party hosts a sitting Governor. This position must be viewed criticality now that the present crop of Representatives from the Esan Central, Esan West and lgueben Federal Constituency, are on the verge of completing their two terms.

Ironically, since the advent of the Second Republic in 1979, even after the return to democracy in 1999, these Local Governments in Esan West and Central have produced three Senators and five House of Representatives members respectively, while Igueben Local Government has been sidelined.

In the name of equity and brotherhood, it is now expedient for the entire Edo Central to pay an overdue political reparation to Igueben Local Government.

It is on record that aspirants from this same disadvantaged Igueben Local Government Area had been asked to step down in the past on several occasions, which they humbly obliged, by working assiduously for candidates from Esan West and Central Local Government Areas.

This is to challenge the critical political stakeholders in Igueben Local Government Area, to work with one goal of ensuring that the most competent, cerebral, experienced and result oriented individual is carefully and painstakingly sorted out, and presented to the whole Esan Central, West and lgueben Federal Constituency, when the time comes for the upcoming 2023 National Assembly party primaries.

Nothing must be allowed to jeopardize the chances of Igueben Local Government Area this time around. This decades old political jinx that has held National Assembly aspirants from this locality down must be shattered to pieces.

What will really profit a group of parochial political heavyweights in Igueben Local Government Area, not to work tooth and nail for the emergence of a consensus National Assembly’s candidate for the PDP, come 2023; not even unnecessary acrimony, disunity, backbiting must be permitted to stand as a road block, in this all important assignment?

If previously, candidates that aspired to go to the National Assembly from Igueben Local Government, compromised and worked for the emergence of other individuals from other local governments in this particular Federal constituency, this is the time for ‘pay back’, for others in Esan Central and West, to at least reciprocate by supporting wholeheartedly, a candidate from Igueben?

This development affords the dynamic Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki to write his name in gold letters, by righting decades old political denial, that have been hanging maliciously on the heads and shoulders of Igueben people.

Governor Obaseki as the leader of the People’s Democratic Party in Edo State, should add his voice and weight to the sincere and honest yearnings of the people of Igueben Local Government Area.

Let it be known that Governor Godwin Obaseki ultimately provides the magic wand for those aspirants from Igueben who are eyeing the National Assembly in Nigeria!

Now that the People’s Democratic Party is no longer in opposition in Edo State, with a sitting Governor in Godwin Obaseki, this is the perfect time for equity to come to play unconditionally.

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Bishop Aigbefoh Sunday March 7, 2022 - 9:01 pm

My brother though I am not a polictician, I read your comments, your comments is timely, I pray unity will reign in igueben Federal constituency to speak one voice so that if the opportunity comes, we will not be the one that will misbehave that will let other to say we are not capable of conducting ourself orderly and so we are not ripe for the position.

Comrade Patrick Enemiye February 3, 2022 - 3:37 am

Nicely, this has been the yearnings and aspirations of our people. I pray it comes to pass.

Pascal Ebhohimen, ph. D January 31, 2022 - 5:35 am

Great and excellent write up. It is the way to go to search and identify a competent person, with proven track record of service from Igueben government Area in the spirit of promoting equity , peace and progress for election into the national assembly. It is a team work for esan people.

Dr. Olumhense Imoisiki January 29, 2022 - 9:14 am

I am not a politician. I was a student in the now closed Benin Delta Teacher’s Training College, Benin City in 1966 to 1969. There was an Ishan Students Association where every Esan student was a member. The rule of ISA was that every student must speak the town version of Esan language. Those of us from Igueben through Ewohimi to Ubiaja would speak our Ishan version of the language. The students from Ekpoma, Opoji, Ewu, Irrua to Uromi would laugh at us wondering where we came from. They would mock us. That was our experience till I graduated in 1969.
I have watched the political evolution of Ishan since the new dispensation in 1999. Nothing has changed. The arrogance of Uromi, Irrua and Uromi along with Opoji and Ewu has remain stagnant. All the elected candidates have been drawn from the five towns of Ekopma, Irrua, Opoji, Ewu and Uromi and status quo has remained till. All the candidates elected to the National Assemblies have come from these five towns except on one occasion when Hon Igbesia was elected through the political weight of Chief Tony Aneni.
I don’t see any change of attitude among Esan politicians. It’s still a focus on the five towns: Ekopma, Irrua, Opoji, Ewu and Uromi. The other towns have been conspicuously and deliberately marginalised till date. I’m not a politician. I used to pride myself as an Esan man. The name Esan is becoming repugnant to us in Igueben. All we have known is marginalisation and discrimination.
I am not a politician. I am a voter. My vote can’t make a difference in Esan elections. The five towns of Ekpoma, Irrua, Ewu, Opoji have declared the rest of Esan as inferior Esan. Inferior Esan was the name students from the five Esan towns called us then. The current politicians are not any better. I had two occasions when as a minister of the Gospel, the Lord Jesus told me to pray for Chief Anthony Enahoro and Chief Tony Aneni to make heaven. Thank God they made heaven. It was the same Chief Anthony Enahoro who brought a Surveyor from Ibadan to survey Uromi. The Surveyor carved a portion of Igueben and added it to their land to make their quest for Uromi Division visible. Igueben didn’t know their land had been hijacked by Uromi. I gueben asked for their land and Uromi asked for wrestling match between the two Enijies. The winner took the land. Uromi stole the land and have occupied it since 1990. Some natives of Uromi moved from Uromi to the land of Igueben and spiritually overwhelmed us. They stole our land a second time and named it Eko Imolamen. Today, they occupy the land they stole from us. I was contacted by five neighbouring towns to deliver them from Uromi captivity. I found as I prayed that Uromi had also stolen the wealth of those five towns until last year. Last year, God the Father announced that He had made Igueben the seat of Christ on the earth. Uromi rose and declared war on Igueben. They matched with arms to kill us in large quantum. We had enough of the light of God to turn Uromi back after two weeks.
Why am I contributing this column to you politicians even though I’m not one of you. I know voting is next year 2023. You campaign and win elections. The winner forgets us immediately after elections. I am sounding a warning to you politicians. Esan is not in unity. If you are not united, how do you expect to make impact at the state and Federal level? If you are really serious, intervene and bring Esan to healing, restoration and unity. If you do that and turn your focus from Ekpoma, Irrua, Opoji, Ewu and Uromi to the entire people of Esan, elections in Esan will make sense. Unite Esan and we will match after you. Thank you. Dr. Olumhense Imoisili from Igueben.

Engr.Tony January 29, 2022 - 9:07 am

Good writeup. I was loosing faith of Igueben local,Government Area citizen going to the National Assembly. With your candidate opinion here, there is hope. My good people of Igueben local Government Area, should be able to present a formidable candidate that has wide spread in the federal Constituency to occupy that position. May God hear our prayers.

Dr. Felix Obinyan January 29, 2022 - 8:01 am

I thank God my people are now awake. It’s the turn of Igueben LGA to produce electable candidates for the upper and lower legislative houses of the National Assembly. It’s a moving train that cannot be stopped now. God bless Esan people.


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