A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State, and former political aide to former governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has knocked some governirship aspirants jostling to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2024 for playing the ethnic card, dismissing them as “lazy lots”.
In apparent reference to the agitation by Ishan-speaking people of Edo Central senatorial district that for equity and fairness it is their turn to produce the number one citizen of the state, Charles Idahosa, who, a stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was Oshiomhole’s special adviser on political matters, pooh-poohed the suggestion. Rather, he encouraged all Edo people interested in the office to come out irrespective of their ethnicity or any other primordial sentiments.
Idahosa, who spoke on Tuesday at a press conference in Benin City, admonished that “Let us leave all this sentiment and look for any aspirant that can be governor to all”.
According to him, whoever is seeking to occupy the number one seat of the state must put the interest of Edo state first and must be someone with the competence and capacity to unite the people.
Idahosa, who also served in the administration of Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion as information and orientation commissioner, insisted that “Edo state belongs to all of us, and the beauty of Edo State is that no ethnic group or tribe in Edo State cannot trace their origin from Benin, and it is a statement of fact. We don’t want a situation where a politician will use ethnicity, religion, to divide us. We need a true Edolite this time in our quest for a better Edo.
“We want a proper Edo person, not Benin, Esan, or Afemai. Every Edo person is eminently qualified to run for the governorship of Edo State and we are now left to look at their profile and make a choice.
“Reducing our choice to an area will not be accepted. There was no time when elections were conducted in Edo State that it was tied to a particular ethnic group or senatorial district. And of recent is that of Governor Obaseki. When Obaseki contested, no time was it left for the Benin alone; every other tribe in Edo partook in that election, and the best person won.
“So the issue of somebody or any group of persons saying it is this tribe’s turn is totally unacceptable to me and my group. What Edo needs now is a person who has the capacity to unite every group.
“If we want to start breaking it down, you will discover that each senatorial district can give reasons why it should be their turn because there are so many advantages some areas have had above others.
“For example, like the Benin, we can say we want to hold on to the governorship because we haven’t produced the Vice President of this country. Late Admiral Aikhomu was Vice President; Akhigbe (Admiral Mike) was Vice President, and we the Benin have never done it, or had that privilege. There was a time two Esan men were national chairmen of political parties -Tom Ikimi and late Tony Anenih.
“So, let us leave all this sentiment and look for any aspirant that can be governor to all”.