THE LEGISLATIVE cum political
absurdity that is going on in Edo State
in which the speaker of the House of
Assembly from Edo Central, Justin
Okonoboh, has just been impeached
and replaced with Kabiru Adjoto from
Edo North, should worry well-meaning
stakeholders, political actors and those
who crave the unity and stability of the
state. Although Okonoboh is fighting
back to regain his position or to assert
himself as the de jure and/or de facto
speaker, it is clear that there is no fidelity
to the power sharing arrangement in the
The development has also forcefully
brought to the fore the issue of
lack of equity and the whimsical
accommodation of the minority Esan
tribe (Edo Central) in the fluidity
of power sharing by the ruling All
Progressives Congress, APC, in the
state. The strategic offices of deputy
governor and speaker of the House
of Assembly are, by implication, now
ceded to Edo north with the governor
domiciled in Edo south, leaving Edo
central out of the tripodal arrangement
for balancing the sharing of the three
topmost offices among the three zones.
Even if this resonated with previous
administrations, Governor Godwin
Obaseki should not allow it to continue.
As a stakeholder in the affairs of my
state, I am worried that this is the kind
of misguided development and political
injustice that have made agitations to
rise to boiling points in different parts of
the country. We do not need to tread the
unenviable path of the political mistake
made by President Muhammadu
Buhari, when he unadvisedly created
the infamous “97 percent versus the 5
percent” of those who should benefit
from appointments and the national
cake. Already, commentators on the
internet and the social media space are
already counting Edo central as part of
Buhari’s five percent who did not vote
for him.
I believe it is high time genuine
effort was made to work on and
birth a charter of equity that will,
henceforth, irrevocably underpin
political interactions and power sharing
among the three senatorial zones that
make up the state sans the factor of
voting population. Edo State does not
need distractions caused by agitation
from political marginalisation. It is
common knowledge that peace cannot
be guaranteed in the absence of justice.
Overtime, the marginalised people of
Edo Central are bound to react. We can
really avoid this insensitive action by
ensuring fair arrangement for all.
The charter should benefit from the
buy-in of political leadership and the
people as it will go a long way to assure
the minority and the majority tribes of
their fair shares and positions, at every
intersection, in government in the state,
as well as ensure that there is a seamless
ceding of power as and when due. This
is necessary to give every side a sense of
belonging. A whole senatorial district,
regardless of its minority status, is too big
to be politically denied and enslaved in a
state where everyone should be equal.
Government and governance will
derive traction from political leadership
once there is elite consensus on
equitable zoning and power transfer.
Edo people, on their part, will exercise
the imperative constitutional power by
voting in accordance with the consensus
to accommodate the minority concern. In
the interest of peace and in order to foster
a deep sense of oneness for a greater Edo
State, there should, indeed, be an end to
the tendency by the majority tribes to
always use their voting populations and
strength to wrest the position of governor
at the expense of the minority tribe.
This happened in the 2016 governorship
election when some political forces in the
APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,
that should have insisted on power shift
to Edo central, considered other desperate
and egregious self-serving reasons by
not giving any governorship candidate
from the central their support; whereas
the central had and still has competent
and qualified persons for the position of
It is a fact of our fourth republic history
that Edo South produced the governor
of the state in the person of Lucky
Igbinedion from 1999 to 2007. The victory
of Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor from
the central in the 2007 governorship
election was short-lived, following the
legal victory of Adams Oshiomhole in
2008 as the authentic winner of the 2007
poll. Oshiomhole was in the saddle from
2008 to 2016. Should Edo central not have
been given the opportunity to produce the
governor from 2016 to 2024 in the spirit of
political equity? But what we witnessed
was a collective pandering to the majority
Edo south in the desperate bid to grab
gubernatorial power. Edo south clinched
it on the platter without opposition
because the APC and the PDP selected
their candidates from there.
To dismantle the tyranny of the majority
tribes in their self-realisation of, and selfperpetuation
in the power to govern
the state, we must dispassionately
contemplate and interrogate the basis of
our communality; and, necessarily redefine
the terms of our association with one
another such that there will be a deliberate
shift from the dogma of entrenched
political forces and majority tribes forcing
their will on us to the pragmatism of the
entire Edo people now having their way.
Entrenched political forces and majority
tribes can have their say in the dictum
of democracy, such enduring statewide
pragmatism that detracts from primordial
support or consideration for tribes with
the highest voting populations, which
have consistently short-changed the
minority Edo central, will now place
greater importance on political equity.
Of course, Edo Central, when it gets to
its turn, will become a sea from which Edo
south and Edo north will fish for the “best”
candidate that satisfies considerations
and meets requirements of vertical and
horizontal equity in the election of a
governor from among Edo Central people.
This is an issue that should, without any
sentimental inclinations, engage very
reasonably the interest and attention
of political leadership in the state. If
political leadership in the state has been
introspective about the marginalisation
and exclusion of Edo central from the
governorship deal, the impeachment of
Speaker Okonoboh by some members of
the state assembly without picking his
replacement from Edo central provides
an opportunity to verbalise and ventilate
innermost concerns about the shambolic
application of power sharing arrangement
that is observed more in the breach by the
state chapter of the APC.
The early lesson to learn from the
“grudge fight” in the Edo House of
Assembly is the attention that it has
adverted to the chicanery and weakness
in the power sharing arrangement that has
rendered Edo central easily subjugated
and subservient to the majority Edo
South and Edo North; and, the trigger to
have a charter of equity that will assuage
fears and feelings of marginalisation, if
conscientiously implemented. This is
surely a good starting point for political
renaissance in Edo. We must avoid
needless political agitations that could
unsettle the heartbeat of the state.

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