The situation now in all camps is becoming unpredictable, as politicians in the district have been having sleepless night. Most of the political leaders in Edo North are singing different tunes to a song, as they are now divided over whom to pick.
As the 2011 elections nearer, indications are rife that the battle for the Edo North Senatorial seat has begun in earnest. The song, “who the cap fits let him wear it”, by popular reggae star, Bob Marley, aptly describes the imminent ‘political war’ that takes all political watchers by storm. Given the present situation, hopes are high that the election in Edo North Senatorial District will bring more shock than it has been expected. Presently, about six aspirants have indicated their interest in the single slot that is allotted to the district at the Upper House of National Assembly, even as more people may like to come out as the time runs out. Interesting, five out of the known aspirants are from the AC, while the incumbent Senator Yisa Braimoh is of PDP.
Among the aspirants from AC in the state are; Hon Dr. Tunde Lakoju, Deacon Domingo Obende, Comrade Peter Akpatason and Mr. Mike O. Okue, all from Akoko-Edo including the incumbent Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon Pally Iriase, who is from Owan. Though, his inclusion in the race is still sketchy, as at press time, there were signals that things may change in this direction. But the fact still remains that PDP has only the incumbent, Alhaji Yisa Braimoh as their aspirant at the moment.
The situation now in all camps is becoming unpredictable, as politicians in the district have been having sleepless night. Most of the political leaders in Edo North are singing different tunes to a song, as they are now divided over whom to pick. Even as various groups are sending signals of real battle as usual, but in the end, we hope they will all come back together as one and start waiting for another election.
What makes Edo North Senatorial district unique is its history which will always prove itself, as the highest bidder may not be the one to get the mandate again this time around. In this peculiar politics, the leader’s choice and the people’s choice always come top, irrespective of any person’s financial strength or weakness. The primaries that is scheduled to take place this year will definitely produce the parties flag bearers particularly from the AC camp that have adopted the ideal of one man one vote.
Since 1999, when the current Republic came on board, PDP produced the Senator that represented the area. Victor Oyofo from Estako was there for eight years, before the baton was handed over to the current Senator Alhaji Yisa Braimoh from Ihiebve in Owan East local government. It is only Akoko-Edo that has not had a feel of what Senate seat is to their people. There is little wonder why four amiable men from Akoko-Edo are ready to compete with their Owan and Etsako brothers this time around. But, in our capacity, we try to evaluate the chances of some of the aspirants, their influence and goodwill.
Hon Dr. Tunde Lakoju: Tunde Lakoju was one of the pioneer politicians that took the bold steps in 1999 and got election to the House of Representatives, Akoko-Edo Federal Constituency. He went under the platform of APP that later changed to ANPP. He was a factor to reckon with in the House as he was made chairman of committees because of his quality representations. He was usually regarded as a speech writer to the then Speaker of the House, Hon. Ghali Na-aba. He spent only one team, 4 years and never requested for a second time tenure. After that sojourn, he came back home with good things to show for being a member at the Federal House. Meanwhile, in 2003, he was picked to become the Deputy Governorship candidate to Senator Roland Owie under ANPP, but the party lost in the election. In 2007, AC drafted Dr. Tunde Lakoju in at the last hour to slog it out with his friend, Hon. Yisa Bramioh, but he also lost out in an election that was still regarded as the most controversial in Nigeria. Lakoju went to court but lost out to the powers that be. There are so many things to show for his short representation and these include, the electrification of Ojah, Ayounza and its environs, presently, he is a member of Edo State Exco as Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources. He is one of the most respectful commissioners in the state. His influence in the politics of the state is commendable.
Comrade Peter Akpatason: This young Uneme-born labour Activist is well respected at both state and federal level. A close intimacy with him will show you a man with great humility. He is very articulate when it comes to how to solve problems, particularly that which involves humanity. His passion for good governance is unequal.
According to Akpatason, he is aspiring for the post in order to correct the ills that have been meted out to Nigeria electorate, by our pervious leaders. Given his antecedent and influence among others, he can spring surprises to clinch the mandate of his people. Comrade Akpatason has promised his people quality representation at the grassroots. That alone gives him the confidence of victory at the polls in 2011.
Deacon (Dr) Domingo Obende (DD): This is not a new face in the political arena in the state and the nation at large. Anybody that seems not to know Deacon Domingo (DD) in Edo state must probably be a new comer in the political arena. He is a major financier to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and at the federal level until recently, when he quit the party to join the ruling party in the state (AC). In 2006, he was all over the places with his attractive bill boards and well coloured buses as he campaigned for the same Senate. His political slogan is ONE PEOPLE, ONE COMMUNITY. At the end of the PDP primaries in 2006, DD lost to Alhaji Yisa Braimoh with so much disappointment coming from his people that were alleged to have been bought over.
Not withstanding, he remained calm and worked for the party’s victory for the general election of 2007. His financial power cannot be compared with any of the aspirants. He is generous and believes that people has to be liberated out of penury and lost of hope to a better position. So many people have benefited from his goodwill. His popularity cut across the entire senatorial district.
Mr. Michael O. Okuo: The man, Mike O. Okuo may not be so known in the political front. He is from one of the ruling houses in Igarra, which is the administrative headquarters of Akoko-Edo. He retired as an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), the highest position any Akoko-Edo son and daughter has attained in the police force on August 2003.
Okuo is a very quiet, simple and religious man that believes much on faith in God as the yardstick to achieve any position. He does not believe that the power of money can produce good governance. He is a man of proven integrity having served the Nigeria Police from Cadet Inspector rank to the rank of Assistant Inspector -General of Police (A.I.G).
Hon Yisa Braimoh: Yisa Braimoh is the present occupant of the seat at the Upper House and he indicated his interest to come back for a second chance. He went to the Upper House under the platform of PDP and remains as a strong PDP member despite the changes at the state level.
He is not disturbed with any critics, but calculating on what to do to get his people’s mandate. For now, no other PDP member has come out to challenge the position with him which is an indication that he has been anointed to go back for a second term. If hostilities come out in the camp of the Action Congress at the primaries, Yisa Braimoh might just easily steal the show.
However, it is anticipated that a free level playing ground would be allowed in the coming primaries of the parties. We don’t want to believe this time around that the winner should take all while the loser goes home sleep.
Ben-Ose Ogbemudia, Benin City