By Ebor Cletus Ralph Jr

2024 is three years away. Yes, three years appear long especially, given the transformational possibilities that, life offers. However, politically speaking, three years run in the manner that, seconds tick by, if not effectively utilized. Unless you are a thoroughly grounded politician, there is hardly any useful time left in three years to strategize and put effective political structure in place capable of winning a serious political contest, like a gubernatorial duel.

For the serious minded, now is the time to hit the road running. After the bitter electioneering campaigns that saw Gov. Godwin Obaseki retained his seat, there appears a subsisting gentleman agreement in place, for an Esan son or daughter, to occupy Denis Osadebe Avenue, come 2024. Politics as a game, is fluid. It is unpredictable, just as the actors are. Whether that undocumented agreement holds or not, the irrepressible people of Esan must brace up for a fight. They have got to take their own destiny in their own hands. Yeah, like I earlier postulated in one of my several write ups on this subject, we may not have the population to go head to head in a contest with other tribes, especially, the Binis. That does not mean that, we should simply roll over. At least and most critical, we have the intellect and political sagacity to open a line of conversation with any tribe, with a view to secure their buy-in towards our aspirations. The same political chess game that saw Prof. Ambrose Folorunso Alli and Prof. Osarieme Osunbor enthroned as governors of the defunct Bendel state and Edo state respectively, can still be re-enacted. We have the men and women. Without sounding immodest, we have the resources and intellectual capacity to undertake the task. From the grapevine and given their body language, the following are probable candidates for the Edo top job in 2024, at least, from the Esan point of view.


Gen. Esehkaigbe hails from Irrua town, the headquarters of Esan central local government area of the state. A man with the heart of a lion. It takes such to enlist in the military. He got admitted into the elite Nigerian Defence Academy in 1980, as a member of the 27th regular course. In 1982, he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant after a distinguished program. He was a member of the United Nations’ peace contingent to Yugoslavia in 1994. In furtherance of his military training, he was at the famous Korean military staff college. Military staff attache at ECOWAS was also part of his assignment at some level in his military career. Besides, he was registrar at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, in addition to attending the Nigerian War College, Abuja. Esekhaigbe’s illustrious military career, also took him to the Nigerian high commission in the UK, as defence attache.
Outside his military career, Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe holds a Master degree in political science from Lagos state university. In addition, he studied international law and diplomacy at Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan. Taking it further as a consummate intellectual, he holds a Phd degree from the prestigious Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. Esekhaigbe is the OKALETEIKPOR of Esanland, a traditional title he was bestowed with, by His Royal Highness, the OKAIJESAN of Esanland and the ONOJIE of Irrua, in 2016. As a likely candidate for the post of governor of Edo state come 2024, meet, Cecil, the family man, a distinguished soldier, a diplomat par excellence and an accomplished scholar.


Mike Oziegbe Onolememen, is an architect by training. Born on September 4th, 1965, Mike hails from Uromi town in the present day Esan north east local government council of Edo state. He is a distinguished member of Nigerian Institute of Architects. He attended the famous Anounciation Catholic College, Irrua, where he came out in flying colours. The quest for further intellectual adancement, took him to the then Bendel State University, Ekpoma, Nigeria, where he earned his degree in Architecture, in1985. Mike, as he is fondly addressed, got his Master of Science in Architecture, from University of Nigeria in 1988. Master of Science in Construction Management, University of Lagos 1990. Arch. Onolememen, has held several key positions which included the following; Project manager Inter-Build Associates, Lagos, 1990—1993. Principal partner Gomic Consultant, 1994—2000. Executive director Petroleum Trust Fund, Abuja, 2000—2001. Principal consultant/Chief Executive Officer Gomic Consortium Ltd., Lagos, since 2001. Director Jamil Intercontinental Ltd., Lagos, since 2000. Mike Oziegbe Onolememen has been listed as a notable architect by Marquis Who’s Who.
In public service, it is note worthy that, Mike, was a two time federal minister under president Goodluck Jonathan administration. First, he was minister of state for defence and later, minister of works. Most of the on going federal road projects were initiated during that era. Mike is happily married with children.


Born 55 years ago, to be precise, on the 4th of May, 1966, Barrister Ken Imasuagbon, hails from Ewohimi, in Esan south east local government area of Edo state. Ken, trained as a lawyer from the famous Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in Osun state, Nigeria. More than his professional calling, Barrister Imasuagbon is an accomplished educationist with a group of high profile schools across the country. Ken, politically speaking, has been around for quite a while. He is kown as the Rice Man. He is a happy family man, an educationist, lawyer, entreprenuer, philantropist and politician.


This amiable senator, is a ranking member of the current 9th senate of the federal republic of Nigeria. Clifford Odia, represents the good people of Esanland in his capacity as a senator. He is a trained engineer with a wealth of experience. This humble man, was born into an equally humble family in Usugbenu quarters, in Irrua town. His achievement as a senator, are simply unquantifiable. Senator Odia’s community impact projects, cut across the five local government areas of Edo central senatorial district. He is happily married with children.


A native of Ekpoma, the homestead of late prof. Ambrose F. Alli, Gideon Ikhine was born into the Ikhine family of Ukpenu, Ekpoma, in the present day Esan west local council of Edo state. Gideon is an accomplished engineer and politician. He graduated in 1990, with a 2nd class degree with honours, in civil engineering, from the great University of Benin, Nigeria. Behind him are several local and international trainings he had attended. Engr. Ikhine is a fellow of the Nigerian society of Engineers (FNSE). He is also a distinguished member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

Gideon’s work experience cuts across the following: Enplan Group, Pasomar and Associates, SGS Inspections and the big one, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) where he was Project Engineer with the huge tasks of executing challenging projects, in swampy terrains of the oil rich Niger-Delta. Among these projects are, construction of roads, oil platforms, bridges, location preparation et cetera. Engr. Gideon Ikhine is a known name in the politics of Edo state. He is a family man and a happy one at that.



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