From Osamede Aghedo
His reputation precedes him. Engr. Gideon Ikhine, shelved his Edo governorship bid on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2020, in line with the principle of common and shared responsibility.
All these were made evident as he met a select team of Journalists on Monday August 29, 2023.
His decision then was based on the respect he had for the incumbent governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki to complete his second tenure on November 12, 2024.
The pills weren’t easy for him to swallow. Prominent leaders of thought in Nigeria and PDP leaders, prevailed on him to step down and promised him the right of first refusal in the 2024 governorship election if he accedes to the gambit without accepting any gratification from the Governor whose reelection, was made possible with cash payments.
As a man of integrity, he stepped aside honourably without selling his birthright. He yielded his campaign office in Benin City to the PDP and offered his service, as the Deputy Campaign Director of Governor Obaseki in the rigorous campaign across the 192 Wards in Edo State.
Political pundits predicted that the crisis that hit the State Chapter of PDP, arising from the outcome of the election and defection of some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not abate, if the Governor and ‘leaders of PDP Legacy members’ agree to bury their hatchet, which is another lazy cliche adopted by his traducers.
His outspokenness has made him one of the most necessary moral voices of the age like the late Obafemi Awolowo who said, “When I am convinced that there is nothing I can do to change a situation, I will turn my attention elsewhere”.
Presumably, Engr. Ikhine like one of the famous Philosophers, Nostradamus who saw tomorrow ahead of others, announced his resignation from PDP and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in July 2023 having discovered that the umbrella party is not the vehicle that could take him to Dennis Osadebbey Avenue (Edo State Government House) after the 2024 governorship election.
This was after several attempts by the Civil Engineer, to broker peace between the Governor and other aggrieved Legacy members of the PDP.
He knew the task ahead is daunting, and mountainous, yet, Engr. Ikhine has a date with destiny for a course he believes in that of politics for.
Engr. Ikhine believes that challenges in Edo State are gigantic. Hence aligning with the Central government could attract some sighs of relief for about 95 per cent of the voting population in Edo State when compared to the relationship as at present.
Like the Biblical Nehemiah who assembled nobles , the time to build the broken walls, is now for the state whose domestic debt profile is on the ascendancy. A recent data gleaned from the Debt Management office, indicates that Edo State debt profile has risen to N223.9 billon, making it 3rd, behind Lagos and River States which rank first and second.
Beyond rhetoric, as a man on a salvage mission, Ikhine who currently have over 350 people in his employ, deserves the support of stakeholders and the electorate to achieve his vision.
All these underscore the significant milestone that trust helps to build and shape public attitudes towards conduct in public life of leaders. Above all, guaranteeing their victory at the polls. To all intents, Engr. Ikhine is bound to succeed in his quest to govern the State in 2024.