Tried as I did not to comment on the recent happenings in Edo State, the urge to do the needful has been very strong. It is my home State – where the Great Benin Kingdom is located.
A lot has been said about the origin of the crisis and the reference to the falling out of God father and Godson.
God ‘fatherism’ is not new in Nigerian politics. It is also not new in Edo State politics.
Chief Tony Anenih of blessed memory stood astride Edo and Nigerian politics like a colossus when he was alive. There have been and there still are Godfathers of politicians in the State in various levels of government. In fact, there are more silent Godfathers than the vocal and sometimes noisy ones.
The silent Godfathers just bankroll their protégées and expect returns when they succeed in elections. Success comes with benefits like nominees for juicy positions like commissioners, advisers, federal appointments like ministers and ambassadors, contracts and employment for relatives and friends.
Many Godfathers have been named or identified at the federal level and in most states and local governments and it is not necessarily a negative thing if a Godfather has a Godson. However, whatever has a beginning must have an end. And this is what many Godfathers fail to accept – that a time will come when the relationship between Godfather and Godson must end.
Why should every Godfather/Godson relationship end on a sour note? After all, not every lover’s breakup ends on such notes. Some old lovers sometimes end up very good friends and even introduce themselves to those they are now involved with, including becoming family friends!
Just check – Ngige and Uba in Anambra State; Wike and Amaechi in Rivers State; Tinubu and Fashola/Ambode in Lagos State, to name a few. They all went sour after the rosy relationships.
That seems to be the trend in the current Edo State imbroglio. To say the matter is a huge embarrassment is an understatement. That the dirty linen is now being washed in public is not the issue. In fact I do not mind the washing of dirty linen in public to let people know the colour of the linen; it is airing the muddy, filthy and malodourous linen on radio, tv, social media and other media of communication that is bringing much of the shame! What is playing out in Edo could also have played out in Zamfara, Rivers, Ogun and Bauchi but for some temperance by the political gladiators and actors.
The Edo House of commotion where the tragicomedy is playing out is obviously not the beginning of the game that has apparently been festering. It is a shame that some of the so-called house members have allowed themselves to be used by higher powers whose interests the members cannot vouch for.
While the Godfather figure has kept quiet in all this complicated mess, the State Governor has openly said he was being maligned because he refused to ‘share’ the State funds with some people; in effect, his second term preparations are obviously the opportunity to call him to order and give him what has become known as the ‘Ambode Treatment’.
The House of Representatives does not seem to have helped matters. Members of the green chamber of the National Assembly were too much in haste to act out a script they probably did not know Act One, Scene One by jumping into the fray in ‘ordering’ the Governor, Police, DSS and whoever pleased them to do this and that, much against the provisions of the 1999 constitution, as has been explained and analysed by several legal luminaries. The Senate was as usual more matured in their approach which spared them from rubbing their faces in the big, murky pie.
We are told that the courts will decide the main issues regarding the inauguration of the Edo House of Assembly and election of Speaker, along with other principal officers. That is as it should be.
All the actors involved in this matter should let peace and harmony reign in Edo State. The Executive has its duties as outlined by the constitution. The Governor should be spared any distractions and he should also not get involved in the affairs of the legislative arm, save for those matters required in the orderly administration of the State, that would build a good relationship with the legislators who represent their constituencies. On the other side, the APC National Chairman has lots of party members in all the States of Nigeria as his constituents so his hands should be full, trying to ensure adherence with party rules and delivery on election promises at both Federal and State levels. He should be focused on those duties.
The factions in the House should sheath their swords and let reason and good order prevail. The party has its role in maintaining decorum among its members and it should restrict this role to within the party structure.
The people of Edo State voted for different parties during the State Assembly elections but all the members elected for the Edo House belong to the ruling party – the APC. The expectation is that deliberations and decisions should be like a song and all laws should be passed without problems. This expectation can still be met if the party, the state executive and legislature bury the hatchet and strive to work hard for the peace, prosperity and progress of their people – the Good People of Edo State – the Heartbeat of the Nation!
Wa la ho O! Wo wo!
IMAGE CREDIT: bbc.com, theeagleonline.com.ng, noa.gov.ng
Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist writes and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.