By Osamede Aghedo Many heroes stretched the boundaries of human bravery, but while some remain uncredited, others received the highest honours and awards. Late Brig-General Samuel Ogbemudia (Rtd) and Prof. Ambrose Folorunsho Alli remain the fairest among the few personalities that etched their names in the annals of history in the defunct Bendel State, now
By Osamede Aghedo
Many heroes stretched the boundaries of human bravery, but while some remain uncredited, others received the highest honours and awards.
Late Brig-General Samuel Ogbemudia (Rtd) and Prof. Ambrose Folorunsho Alli remain the fairest among the few personalities that etched their names in the annals of history in the defunct Bendel State, now Edo and Delta States. It is truism that their policy thrust transcends ethnic, religious, and geographical space.
In September 1989, Professor Ambrose Alli passed on his 60th birthday at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. He died shortly after being released from prison.
Since then, the confidence of Edo people have continue to ebb in search of true and purposeful leadership – no thanks to the low living wage, intolerable level of poverty, high rate of unemployment, pervasive insecurity, decline in investment in education, high mortality rate occasioned by dearth of other basic amenities etc.
Edo people in particular and Nigeria at large are introspecting about what the future holds for them and how to secure the future of the upcoming generation.
30 years after Prof. Alli’s demise, history has beckoned on Engr. Gideon Ikhine on this salvage mission to rescue the people who seem to have found answer to their problems which a defacto former State governor, Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor attempted to solve during the brief period of his governance in 2007.
The PDP has not zoned the ticket in which about 10 governorship aspirants have indicated interest but it is likely that it will be zoned to Edo South because of its huge voting population and to give the All Progressives Congress a tough fight.
However, PDP leaders in Edo Central Senatorial district are not giving up in their quest to see that the candidate comes from the zone.
In 2016, the PDP picked Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who hails from Edo South, and the election was fiercely contested.
Those in the 2020 race for the PDP are Kenneth Imasuangbon, known as ‘Rice Man’, Gideon Ikhine, former Minister for Works Mike Onolememen, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, Senator Matthew Urhoghide and Pastor Ize-Iyamu.
The contest for the PDP ticket, as it seems, would be between aspirants from Edo South and Edo Central senatorial districts.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu who was the PDP Candidate in 2016 and Senator Matthew Urhoghide have not declared interest. They are still consulting, according to sources.
There are indications that the feud between Ize-Iyamu and Chief Dan Orbih who is the State Chairman of PDP may affect the chances of the former who until recently was still being referred to as the PDP’s governorship Candidate.
Political pundits have predicted that the fall out of the supremacy battle between the National Chairman of the All Progression, APC Comrade Adam’s Oshiomhole and his predecessor and the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki which may spur Pastor Ize-Iyamu to join in the race, is a blessing in disguise for the PDP.
The interest of Gideon Ikhine in the race shows how serious politicians from Edo Central are buying into the Esan agenda in the PDP.
Ikhine is a PDP chieftain from Esan West. He is a businessman with interest in the oil and gas sector.
Some PDP stalwarts have said his vast network within the PDP may work as an advantage for him.
“He is holding wide consultations to convince delegates on why he is the right man for the job”, according to sources.
A close ally said Gideon would approach the campaign with a message of hope to the common man.
According to the source, “Gideon was the first in Edo Central to declare intention to run for governorship because there is no time politicians will say it is the turn of Edo Central. He wants to restore the heritage and old landmark and give hope to the hopeless”.
“Gideon wants a state where everybody will be equal by giving back to the poor. By the time he unveils his program, the people will know he is the right man for the job. He want to see through the challenges first as the Esans are already speaking with one voice”.
Another source, who craved anonymity said, “If a Benin man is a governor the Esan man should be happy because they are all one and so if an Esan man is the governor is the same as well. Look at when Esan man was the governor, his legacies were remarkable and visible even in Edo South.
“It is also important to also remind our people that the constitution of our party goes against discrimination. The governor of Edo can come from anywhere.
“What is important is if the person has the mental sagacity to lead the people. If you ask me, I think it is only fair in the spirit of justice and equity that the people of Edo Central should be given the opportunity and chance to fly the PDP flag come 2020 governorship election”.
Ikhine has remained on the side of those in need, notwithstanding his status, and he place immense value on people which is not on bias or conjectures.
Before he broke through as a business mogul, he has impacted lives and equally been widely acknowledged for his benevolence based on public opinion and facts.
He is a breath of fresh air in such difficult times when hopes have been dashed. His words are a revelation of his person – a person whose efforts and results are good enough to take Edo State to the promised land.
Despite his status and sustained success in life, his humility has earned him a reputation and considerable popularity, which places him ahead of other PDP aspirants for the Edo State governorship election, as the logical sequence of the seeming back-and-forth movement of political events continue.
The burden of leadership on Engr Gideon Ikhine no doubt requires high standard of proof which is a herculean task to undertake but not impossible, through due diligence.