A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Edo South, Martin Osakwe, has warned Governor Godwin Obaseki to handle succession politics with care and wisdom.
Osakwe who stated this while complaining about the choice of Asue Ighodalo as Obaseki’s preferred choice, said his choice of a successor may not be acceptable by the Edo people.
According to the proprietor of Paragon Schools in Bennin, if Obaseki supports a party stalwart like Anselem Ojezua, the people might embrace him as a more favourable option.
He said: “I have played politics here in Edo for more than forty years since 1978. I was in the UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria). I was a founding member of PDP. It is when you know people that you know their pedigree.
“I look at this man. What has he done for my constituency, which is education? How many people is he training in the university? What free Education programme do we have? What has he done for his community? There are people in Edo Central you can present to us.
“If you bring somebody like Anselm Ojezua, we will say okay we know him. We can study him etc. That’s what leadership does. This idea of creating emperor governors has been the greatest undoing of the 1999 constitution. The constitution didn’t provide for it but gradually we started seeing governors having more power than the President.
“It should not continue. Mark my words. It is not that a governor should not have a say in who succeeds him. But it should not be the determinant. He should not be the one to say it must be this person.
“The person you choose will determine the support you have. If, for instance, we chose a World Bank as governor in the last eight years he would have transformed Edo State. The first thing people will suggest is that let’s go for another international consultant.
“You’re coming to say that because somebody is a bank manager or chairman of a bank somewhere … They called me. I told them that they were cooking a bad soup. I didn’t mix words. That soup is already rotten. Nobody will eat it unless you want to have a running stomach. You want to go to the hospital. I don’t want to go to the hospital at this stage. I won’t have a hand in that. That project is dead on arrival.”
Osakwe added that: “Morally, it is even wrong for governors to determine their successors. Why? It blocks a major ingredient of democracy – accountability and transparency. Why are you picking this person?”
The PDP chieftain who also commented on the crisis in the PDP in Edo State, said that there is only one PDP in the state, adding: You can call it the authentic PDP or the Legacy PDP led by Chief Dan Orbih.
“The chairman of the party has kind of abdicated. He left his position. He watched while his house was being destroyed. We’re rebuilding. As far as the party is concerned the process of rebuilding is in top gear. We are prepared for 2024.
“Everybody knows that the governor in 2024 will come from those you have identified as Legacy PDP who I will call the original PDP. We will produce the governor. As to what kind of governor we will have it would be determined by the experience that we have had in the last 18 years. Let me say without equivocation that we know those who should not be governors, who cannot be governors, and who ought not to aspire to be governors.”
Osakwe further stressed that experience has taught the PDP leadership that being a technocrat or international consultant is not a prerequisite for governance or leadership.
He said, “What we need is what I have called a ‘plutocrat’. He is somebody who has experience in politics, who is home to the culture of the people, and who has experience in human and economic resource management. That’s a ‘plutocrat. Somebody has called the person a homeboy.
“Our next governor will be a homeboy. The person who will be governor will combine the qualities of Samuel Ogbemudia and Ambrose Alli. How do you do this? You will take the visionary, developmental approach of Ogbemudia. His developmental vision, his tenacity, and his selfless distribution of amenities and projects across the state. That was Ogbemudi.”