THE PITFALLS BEFORE THE ESAN AGENDA
By Amb. Tony Okonigene
No doubt, the most pressing political dream of an average Esan son and daughter today is to see an Esan governor in Dennis Osadebey House, Benin. This has been the most dominant topic that seems to bind the whole Esan people together irrespective of political or religious affiliation. There are so many groups that have been formed recently with this binding factor.
The Esan Agenda as this dream has popularly come to be referred to is a dream that is possible and realizable. However, like every venture, the road to Dennis Osadebey is full of pitfalls that can derail the train unless properly and carefully navigated.
1. *Political Differences*
After the 2003 elections that saw Governor Lucky Igbinedion of the PDP elected for a second tenure, the clamour for an Esan Governor to succeed him started. But then there was a great political divide amongst the political gladiators in Esan. While Late Chief Tony Anenih held sway in the ruling PDP, Late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, the then Chairman BOT held sway in the ANPP. Thus Esan could not move the agenda with one voice.
There were deliberate efforts to bring the duo under one umbrella. This was achieved in late 2005 when Admiral Aikhomu led the ANPP to merge with the PDP in Edo state.
With the two of them together, Esan was able to produce the governor in the person of Senator Osereme Osunbor.
As things stand today, there is the need to bring the main political actors in Esan together if the Esan Agenda is to have a headway. A politically divided Esan with our disadvantaged population cannot land in Dennis Osadebey.
2. *VOTERS REGISTRATION.*
Out of 621,723 valid votes cast between the ACN and PDP in 2012, Edo Central accounted for 114,445 votes ie 18.40%
In 2016, out of 572656 valid votes cast between the APC and PDP, Edo Central accounted for 111238 votes ie 19.40%
In 2020 the total valid votes cast was 537,407 and Edo Central accounted for 97703 votes ie 18.18%.
From the above analysis, Edo North and Edo South accounted for more than 80% of the votes cast. Why then should any party interested in winning elections take its candidate from central? Zoning? One will ask if it is binding on all parties
The fact is that Esan people make up a great percentage of this 80% and a lot more are either not registered or registered outside the state.
The coming voters registration starting on June 28th, 2020 offers a window to shore up our registered voters. This is a key step that must be embraced by all if we want the Esan Agenda to succeed.
For sometimes now, the insecurity in Esanland has assumed a worrisome dimension. This has discouraged a lot of people from coming home. If this thrend is not arrested soon, the possibility of having our people coming home in numbers to assist in driving the Esan Agenda is remote.
TO BE CONTINUED