By Emeka Nwagwuna
AS politicians in Edo State struggle to outshine one another in the build up to the forthcoming September 10th governorship election, Edo people must be vigilant to avoid the deceit that has become the hallmark of many politicians and ensure they elect the best candidate. The narrative in informed circles across the state captures this sentiment and the need to return Edo to its glorious past.
It is unfortunate that even the modest infrastructure which Edo inherited upon its creation in 1991 has so lost value to the extent that one wonders whether successive governments have been asleep. Take the roads in Benin, the capital city for instance.There’s hardly any in the main city without deep gullies. Even where you manage to find a tarred road, be rest assured that the adjoining streets will be no better than swamps. Driving in Edo during this rainy season is particularly hellish for motorists.
In the area of sports, one hardly hears anything these days about what government is doing to develop sports in the state. Even Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium which had all manner of training equipment back in the days of yore is now a shadow of its old self as there is hardly anything on ground for athletes to train. A nostalgic recall of the good old days of sports performance can in fact induce tears.
In the realm of human capital advancement, Edo showcases one of the worst case scenarios in the country. Figures released by National Bureau of Statistics ranks Edo State 7th among the top 10 states with the highest unemployment in Nigeria.
Consequent upon the above, it is not surprising that the security situation in Edo has so degenerated thereby making it a cesspit of crime wave. The youths nowadays easily take to such monstrous crimes like kidnapping, cyber crimes and daylight robbery to mention but a few.
In the education sector, public schools can no longer boast of full staff . Dearth of qualified teachers and inadequate teaching tools are now the order of the day. Even the red roof campaign in primary and secondary schools started by the out-going administration is only a scheme meant to mask the true state of these schools. Most of those red roofs have no chairs in the class rooms they adorn. When the non-payment of salary to state and local government staff is added to the woes currently being experienced, the gloomy picture of what Edo has become will be vivid.
The argument that the dwindling federal allocation should be accepted as excuse for this parlous state of affairs can’t be sustained. In 2015, Edo ranked 5th in internally generated revenue in Nigeria yet with nothing much to justify the tax burden on the people.
When a government becomes insensitive to the yearnings of the people, that government has renounced its legitimacy. The APC government in Edo State has abandoned the people and can therefore not be trusted to decide who occupies government house later this year.
The September 10th 2016 election in Edo State is another opportunity for the people of Edo to make a statement concerning their future.
Although all the candidates cleared by INEC for the election certainly have some selling points, Earl Osaro Onaiwu,the APGA candidate for the election stands out in so many respects. As former DG of Governors’ Forum, Onaiwu’s exposure to the patterns of development in all other states of the federation means he is not coming to learn on the job. Having also piloted the affairs of Governors’ Forum without any blemish indicates that he can be trusted because he has already been tested.
At a time when other candidates hire thugs that are armed with dangerous weapons and rascally parade same to further warp the psych of the people whose votes they ostensibly canvas, Onaiwu simply surrounds himself with decent, fair-minded supporters. A honest man, Onaiwu is not one that will not send his children far away from himself just because of an imminent election. For him, it is not a do-or-die venture but one that signposts his passion to build the Edo State of our dream. He has severally been spotted with his eldest son even on a road show. This attribute speaks volumes about his congruence with the people.
Similarly, an encounter with Onaiwu reveals a man at peace with himself. No wonder he speaks with so much wisdom embedded in a patriotic desire to realize his vision for the state. Unarguably, it is at the level of vision that the aspirations of a people are subsumed in a clear cut policy direction. Onaiwu understands this, hence he christened his campaign solution.
It is therefore easy to see the need for the solution that Onaiwu represents, a solution that simply means, the emancipation of Edo people from prolonged underdevelopment caused by governmental mediocrity and lack of creativity. In real terms, the solution matrix purports to offer Edo people a creative way out of the doldrums that have become their reality.
A fine gentleman with a penchant for excellence and a track record of being associated with progress in so many states of the federation, Onaiwu has never meddled with politics of bitterness. At a time when APC and PDP in Edo State are struggling to outdo each other in campaigns of calumny, Onaiwu restricts himself to an issues-based campaign. He humbly engages the electorate one on one on street corners, markets and major roads across the state.
With a character like Onaiwu at the helm of Edo State affairs, the transformation that has eluded Edo people for years would have been achieved.
•Emeka Nwagwuna is reachable at