In a couple of weeks from now, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, would be a year old in his second term in office. He would be going down in history as the second Bini son, doing a record two term as an executive governor of the state, after Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion. In between them, the Esan nation had on the saddle, a certain seasoned Professor of law, in the person of Osarieme Osunbor. Sadly, his tenure was cut short by the process of litigation. He barely had a year in office. The circumstances surrounding his failure in the court, is a subject of his own. However, it suffice to mention that, electoral legal tussle, is one of the most complex cases in jurisprudence. But, how easy it was to judicially defeat Prof. Osunbor in the court! Conspiracy could have been the name of the game. Osunbor could hardly get a single witness to attest to the fact that, in the original contest, he won fair and square. The court was therefore, left with no option, but, to terminate his tenure, after a chunk of an alleged unsubstantiated votes were subtracted from his original scores. This was how Adams Oshomhole from Afemai tribe, got on the saddle. He went on to do eight solid years as an executive governor of the state.

Before the creation of Edo state from the old Bendel state, an Esan man, a renowned professor of Morbid Anatomy, in the shape of prof. Ambrose Folorunsho Alli (may his soul rest in peace), was governor for four years. An attempt to get a second term, was met by the formidable candidature of Brigadier General Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, of the Bini extraction of the defunct Bendel state. The era of military interference in politics, saw the posting of all manners of officers who were non indigens serving as governor of the state. Their record of performance, is a topic for another day.

From the foregoing, particularly taking into account what has transpired over the last twenty years, the Esan nation had clearly been in the doldrums as far as the affairs of the state is concerned. Being in power for barely a year, within the over twenty years of the present republic, can not be said to be a fair deal. Is it anybody’s fault? May be not. Throughout history, no individual or group, voluntarily surrenders power. It is sought after. In other words, you demand it. Better still, you lay claim. The choice is yours. This is the obvious choice before the people of Esanland. The tribe that makes up the Edo central senatorial district of the state. The great people of Edo land that, produced one of the frontline nationalists and indeed, the man behind the motion for independence for Nigeria, Chief Anthony Enahoro. It is also the land that begets the great Ambrose Alli. And more recently, the land that produced two principal officers of two major and only political parties in Nigeria. Chiefs Tony Anenih and Tom Ikhimi of the defunct SDP and NRC respectively, on my mind. With these and more, the Esan people can not be said to be laid back. They have been quite active domestically, nationally and internationally. Differently put, they have paid their dues in all spheres of life.

Following the intrigue and bitter nature of the last gubernatorial contest of 2020, Esanland was a battle field. It was a “swing” zone. To a reasonable extent, it was a deciding factor as to where victory ultimately resided. In other words, winning Esanland takes victory beyond all reasonable doubt. Admittedly, they have a population that can not decisively win the gubernatorial election in Edo state, outside other influences. But, they remain a formidable stakeholder in the scheme of things. Edo south senatorial District accounts for about 58℅ of the voting population of the state. The rest 42℅ is a split between the central and the north. The implication of this is that, the south (Binis), possess what it takes to travel alone whenever they wish to produce a governor. Conversely, the Esans and Afemais haven’t that capacity or clout. They have got to reach out to the Binis to actualize any gubernatorial dream. That was how Prof. Osunbor got it, before the courts spoilt the party. Adams Oshomhole also needed a huge slice of the bini votes, to be able to defeat Gen Charles Arhiavbere for his second term.

“Esan agenda” was a popular dictum during the last election in the state. It was an unambiguous statement of support for the candidature of the incumbent governor. Of course, a possible return of favour wouldn’t have been out of the card. They were not only committed to the cause, they were resoundly resolute concerning the return of Gov. Obaseki back to office. To the glory of God, the governor got his job back. As usual, the Bini votes played a massive role in that regard. The Esan votes took victory far beyond the reach of the opposition. The rest is history. However, 2024 is close by and it is the hope of Esan people that, they would have the support of the Binis to achieve the dream of producing the next governor. Justice demands that, the quest is a legitimate one. Equity demands that, being on the saddle for barely a year, out of over twenty years, of the current political experiment isn’t right and fair. Therefore, It is only proper that, as as important leg in the political tripod of the state, whether the Esan people have the population or not, to do a solo run, it is imperative on good conscience, that, they produce the next governor. It is a prayer and the conversation starts now.


TV Presenter/ Content Writer

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