The Gentleman Handshake: Lucky Igbinedion Goofed

by Sylvester Fadal

In my in-depth analysis of Lucky Igbinedion in 2004, I refused to portray a negative image of him.While many commended my analysis, a few complained about my review claiming it had parochial leanings and that I was in support of Lucky.Despite the widespread emails I received on the article titled “Lucky Igbinedion: Servant Leadership Intentions Going Wrong” as indicated here for those that didn’t have the opportunity to have read it, I held back a lot of information that I could have shared.A year later, I had a voice message upon arrival from Long Beach, California to the San Francisco Bay Area where I reside.It was Lucky’s staff.At 10:00 p.m., I called Lucky’s hotel suite and was told by his Personal Assistant that he was asleep.Additional information was relayed to me.I inquired of a few commissioners and was told they resided at a different hotel in Downtown Sacramento.The next day I met with Lucky.He looked tired and I inquired if he was having a jet lag to which, he responded that he traveled a lot and was fine.He looked sick based on my observance and I alluded to his personal doctor that travels frequently with him, Fred Igbinedion.Fred claimed Lucky was just a little tired but was fine.After Lucky received the key to the City of Citrus Heights, we proceeded across the street to a quasi-Chinese restaurant to a reserved session for lunch and general discussions.He was pleasant and told me of the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly that was from my town.I considered Lucky’s comment an off-topic but an attempt to be friendly.The now ex-Speaker, a lousy, self-compromising and unfaithful individual with little depth and breath of knowledge, that I have moderate regard for, was not one I wanted to discuss.In a buffet sort of setting, reserved for Lucky’s entourage, I was filling up my plate alongside the governor and I noticed a raggedy looking man that was somehow, always about 15 feet behind us.I stared at him and Lucky caught my gaze and in his smart ways, read my thought and said, “Oh, that is my Chief of Security.”It was sad that his chief of security looked like one who hadn’t had a decent meal in years.His suit was faded and though he looked all happy to have accompanied the governor on this trip, he looked more like a homeless that was clothed and borrowed for a prearranged, politically-driven sight seeing event.This was one of my clear indications among others that Lucky had a mischievous, and rather un-contemporary approach to save-guarding the allocations of Edo State for his pocket alone.This issue will be expanded on much later.

Lucky’s commissioners (he brought well over seven of them among others) looked like employees that functioned in an energy-depleting coal mine with very little replenishing resources.They seemed more excited to have visited the United States.The issue with the commissioners was Lucky.His intensity at hording all the allocations of Edo State, ignoring development and creating an emotionally painful system whereby his commissioners can’t function without acting as lepers needing permission in every step of the way is pathetic.Lucky has transformed the state into a one-man, one-family financially depleting show where he aggressively steals the funds earmarked for the growth of a State that was recognized as one of the most notable in terms of infrastructure.All diagnostic evaluations reveal a State in ruins.An in-depth research conducted by the Guardian Newspaper in an opinion poll showed that 81% of the Edo State indigenes were highly dissatisfied with Lucky.An independent survey by Thisday Newspaper indicated that Lucky has one of the most wasteful and unproductive government in the history of Edo State.

In most well managed states, commissioners are allowed to manage the affairs of the classifications they are assigned.Lagos State for instance grants reasonable authority to some of its commissioners. Bayelsa State under Jonathan Goodluck sometimes does same, all for the development of the states.These commissioners are technically accountable for the projects and growth within their jurisdictions.They award contracts, monitor progress and report back to the people and governor.Not in Edo State.Commissioners have no rights or power to award contracts.Lucky and his handful of buddies are solely responsible for awarding any and all contracts to ensure that all kickbacks and up-fronts payments get back to the governor and/or his team.A series of events have shown that if the Governor’s representative were not well rewarded, a contract could be withdrawn and the commissioner removed if subsequent violations occur.

Anyway, before I digressed, I was speaking of Lucky’s discussion with me at the buffet table in Citrus Heights, California in 2005.He had made a comment about Honorable David Iyoha, the speaker of the Edo State House at the time.I noted that I hold very minimal regard for the ex-Speaker.Lucky didn’t know I had a slight dealing with the Speaker a year prior when I reviewed the Speaker’s doctoral dissertation (yes, he is doing a monkey doctoral program) and I commented that it would not qualify for an undergraduate project in the institution in California when I teach MBA business courses.I was graceful and kind in my feedback because I had to maintain his sense of pride.As we all know, the Speaker has since been impeached and disgraced.The dissertation issue I will revisit in a later write up.

Anyway, we ate, chatted and Lucky invited myself, and our mutual friend back to his hotel.It was approximately 4:00 p.m. and I declined, stating that I would return the next day.He invited me to visit him in Nigeria and then said, “If you fly into Abuja, Sam Iredia can arrange to pick you up.”Sam was present of course, as a good friend of Lucky.A few other folks like Pascal Ogbome (Lucky introduced him as the mayor of Edo City) were present among others.I departed.I never did visit his team till this date despite my personal trips to Lagos.The essence of this analysis is about Lucky, the state of EDO and his comment on the South-South presidency.Lucky as his name indicates has had opportunities go his way.During his education in the United States, he was once robbed and shot and he survived after a miraculous blessing.The experience back in the eighties in the United States is perhaps one of the reasons why he is very protective of himself.A lot happened during his days at the University of Wyoming and during his masters program at the Jackson State University in Mississippi.He knows he has been very fortunate in his days and is a person that should have created a whole-system leadership style of growth in Edo State.

Lucky’s Hypocrisy on Gentleman Agreement

Despite his loyalty to his friends, he has strayed over the years and has failed as a governor.His failure knows no bound.Many, after his first tenure rejected him but Anenih literally returned him to power out of loyalty and pleads from numerous areas.The agreement that returned Lucky to power was a “gentleman agreement” that was reached by Anenih, Ogbemudia, Osama (Lucky’s father) and Lucky himself.The Binis did not endorse the return of Lucky to power.His return was solely a one-man decision and that was Anenih’s.It was also decided during that meeting that the next governor would be from Edo Central after two tenures by Lucky and recognizing the two tenures by the current deputy governor who is from Edo North.

As we now know, Lucky later rejected that gentleman’s agreement after he was returned to power, using his vocal puppet Eze-Iyamu to announce that if it wasn’t documented then it is invalid.In his state engagement conflict with Anen

ih, Lucky continue to disregard an agreement that was not only clearly implied but also finalized with a handshake.The intent to impeach him last year was stalled because OBJ held Anenih accountable for the decision to return Lucky to power.With a clear breach of a contractual agreement by Lucky, it is interesting that he feels qualified enough to speak of the gentleman agreement between the South-South and the North.Somehow, Lucky intricately believes his comments will influence the opportunity of Northern political aspirants while nullifying the opportunities of the South-South or South-East.

For a governor that is noted as one of the most inept, it is amazing that he made such a disappointing, unscrupulous and un-partnering comment.Was Lucky present at the gentleman’s agreement with the North?Was he there when the so-called promises were made?If so, in what role?What qualified him to be a member of the negotiating team when he gets very little regard from OBJ?It is noted that he was scolded by OBJ several times including a decision by OBJ not to visit the State of Edo until Lucky improved his leadership and performance.Since the comment by OBJ, he has not set his foot on Edo State soil.Was Lucky not the same governor that was hosting some of the South-South meetings on presidential reviews?When did he suddenly remember the gentleman’s agreement with the North?Was the promise by aspiring northern candidates that he will not be investigated after his tenure be the cause of his decision to flip-flop on issues?At this point, it is important to note that Nigeria is not balanced enough to effect a fair and realistic election and opportunities must be created for the South-South or South East.These regions deserve a fair chance.

Lucky was a good man with a good intent back in the days.He still is reciprocal to his friends.Despite it all, he could be deadly and very vindictive like IBB yet loyal to a few.He is known to have rewarded his friends over the years.Charles Idahosa for instance from Ehor, his godfather back in the United States during his school days was rewarded with a commissioner of Information position, companioned with some level of independence of decision making.Several other reciprocal rewards happened but then again, that is poor leadership based on connectivity and favoritism and ultimately retrogressive in nature to the growth of a state.Lucky has rewarded his family well.He has made millionaire and billionaires of many.His siblings are all contractors and key members of his cabinet.

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Egbun Igbarra January 10, 2008 - 9:08 pm

Good piece of writing.I hate people like that,if they could only be dealt with.They are the ones turning Nigeria into a cesspool,squandering the local people’s resources and monies and making them into madmen,robbers,prostitutes and destitutes.I visited N. last year the roads are terrible indeed.

Pau Odu July 15, 2006 - 6:50 pm

You rightly identified Mr. Lucky Igbinedion as someone who is very inept and lacking the necessary skills to transform Edo state. I am not surprised at all for his recent alterances because making such an unguided statement (that the North should produce the next president for the country) shows the poor qualities he is made of. He has failed woofully in his almost eight years as a governor. There is no visible development program or programs in the state since he became the governor. He only succeeded in breeding tugs and criminals all over the place. He would be remembered as the worst governors produced by the PDP. Because he came to power through the back door, the result is his inept leadership skills and the poor performances he recorded in the state. Mr. Igbinedion cannot give what he does not have and if he benefited from any of the Northerner to warrant that statement, he should find a way to pay back such a fellow rather than indulge in statements that further confirmed his ignorance and arrogance.

Anonymous July 15, 2006 - 3:11 pm

good analysis. needs some editing though.

We need more persons to corner their respective "leaders" or "rulers" and tell them to their face that they are the problem with Nigeria.

I suggest a visit to the Finance Ministry Website to include the federal revenue given to Edo State.

We must hold them accountable or they think they have gotten a free ride. Thanks once more for exposing one of the charlattans.


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