A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo South, who is also the proprietor of Paragon Schools, Benin, Martin Osakwe, has disowned Asue Ighodalo, the man Governor Godwin Obaseki, is parading as his choice to succeed him in 2024.
He declared that: “I don’t know him. We don’t know him. I have played politics here(in Edo) for more than forty years since 1978. I was in UPN(Unity Party of Nigeria). I was a founding member of PDP. It is when you know people that you know their pedigree.
“I look at this man(Asuen Ighodalo). What has he done for my constituency(Education). What has he done for Education? How many people is he training in the university? What free Education programme do we have? What has he done for his community? There are people in Edo Central you can present to us.
“If you bring somebody like Anselm Ojezua, we will say okay we know him. We can study him etc. That’s what leadership does. This idea of creating emperor governors has been the greatest undoing of the 1999 constitution. The constitution didn’t provide for it but gradually we started seeing governors having more power than the President.
“It should not continue. Mark my words. It is not that a governor should not have a say in who succeeds him. But it should not be the determinant. He should not be the one to say it must be this person. The person you choose will determine the support you have. If, for instance, we chose a world bank as governor in the last eight years and he has transformed Edo State. The first thing people will suggest is that lets go for another international consultant.
“You’re coming to say that because somebody is a bank manager or chairman of a bank somewhere … They called me. I told them that they’re cooking a bad soup. I didn’t mix words. That soup is already rotten. Nobody will eat it unless you want to have a running stomach. You want to go to the hospital. I don’t want to go to the hospital at this stage. I won’t have a hand in that. That project is dead on arrival.
“Morally, it is even wrong for governors to determine their successors. Why? It blocks a major ingredient of democracy – accountability and transparency. Why are you picking this person?”
On the crisis in the PDP in Edo State, Osakwe said that there is only one PDP in the state adding,”you can call it the authentic PDP or the Legacy PDP led by Chief Dan Orbih. The chairman of the party has kind of abdicated. He left his position. He watched while his house is being destroyed. We’re rebuilding. As far as the party is concerned the process of rebuilding is in top gear. We are prepared for 2024.
“Everybody knows that the governor in 2024 will come from those you have identified as Legacy PDP who I will call the original PDP. We will produce the governor. As to what kind of governor we will have it would be determined by the experience that we have had in the last 18 years. Let me say without equivocation that we know those who should not be governor, who cannot be governor and who ought not to aspire to be governor.”
He stressed that experience has taught the PDP leadership that being a technocrat or international consultant is not a perequisite for governance or leadership.
“What we need is what I have called a ‘politnocrat’. He is somebody who has experience in politics, who is home with the culture of the people and who has experience in human and economic resource management. That’s a ‘politnocrat. Somebody has called the person a home boy.
“Our next governor will be a home boy. The person who will be governor will combine the qualities of Samuel Ogbemudia and Ambrose Alli. How do you do this? You will take the visionary, developmental approach of Ogbemudia. His developmental vision, his tenacity, his selfless distribution of amenities and projects across the state. That was what Ogbemudia was known for.
“Then you come to the UPN governor, Ambrose Alli. You take his selflessness, his humaneness, his compassion and empathy. These two qualities, compassion and selflessness, you needed them. The combination of these two have been absent for a while now. We need the sagacity of an Ogbemudia.
“When we’re looking for a governor we are looking for somebody who grew up amongst us. Who knows the value of Edo State been a transportation hub in the country. Who knows the value of Edo State being a link between the West, the East and the North.
“A governor who is compassionate and empathetic enough to make sure that the Benin – Auchi Road is never bad. A governor who will make sure that whether it is federal or state the people who live here are the voters. That your first priority is the welfare of these voters.
“We have one father, that is the Oba of Benin. A governor who will see the Oba of Benin without being prompted and go on his knees whether it is at the airport in London or anywhere. That’s the governor. It’s not been subservient. A man who does not recognize the dictates of his culture is not a man because you’re a product of your culture.”
On zoning, Osakwe said: “Considering the mess that we are in in Edo State. We have passed the stage of it is our turn where governorship is determined by the slogan it is our turn. We have passed that stage. Now, we are looking for somebody who can repair. The vehicle going to Abuja doesn’t know whether the governor who is repairing it is an Esan man or Etsako man or a Benin man. What’s important is that it is repaired and it gets to Abuja. You go to Lagos when you want to go to Lagos.”