Article written by OSARETIN OMOREGIE
MR CHAIRMAN, SIR
I cannot seem to remember exactly when you assumed office as chairman of our party in Edo state but it now seems such a long time ago that I even think you have over-stayed in office and, therefore, your welcome. It is common knowledge that at the time you inherited your present position, our party was more vibrant, relevant, cohesive and full of hope even as an opposition party. Today, my dear chairman, our members feel that you have given your best, not in positioning the party on winning ways, but in running it sluggishly on the road to extinction. Ironically, you continue to delude yourself and a few others that the recent electoral ‘victories’ signify a strengthened party sure of victory in the governorship election coming up in our state next year 2016.
Let me remind you that before the just conducted presidential, national and state assembly elections, our party had two out of the three senators representing us in Abuja. Today, we have managed to retain the number. We recorded a marginal gain in the house of representative seats winning five of the nine available seats. Our woeful performance in the house of assembly election cancels whatever gains we may have made in the house of representative election. It shows we are no longer a grassroots party if out of 24 seats in the start house of assembly we were able to win only three. Of what significance will three members’ voice be in an assembly where the overwhelming majority comes from the ruling party? I think the same question can be asked in respect of the national assembly members from our state. Can what happened in Ishan where we retained the senatorial seat, the two house of representative seats and three of six state assembly seats be considered victory for our party? Has the opposition boxed us into an Ishan corner the same way Nigeria has boxed our party into an Igbo/Niger Delta enclave?
Losing the presidency, Mr. Chairman, amounts to losing the promise of a bright tomorrow for our party. Not only did we lose the presidency, we lost some of our members I consider to be the pillars which held the roof over our heads. Consider the impact the exit of Captain Hosa Okunbor, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, Gen. Idada Ikponwen, Prof. Osariemen Osunbor and many others has had on our party in the wake of the March 28 presidential election loss. On the eve of the house of assembly election, your local government area chairman of our party defected to the opposition, thereby paving the way for an easy win.
Some of the other ‘powerful’ members of our party are, in fact, also planning to leave not minding the fact that the National Chairman of the opposition has warned our members to stay where they are. According to some of us, ‘’it is better to stay at the back of a long queue in the kitchen than to stay in front in a desert’’. All these men and their supporters and followers who have left us dealt us a heavy uppercut from which we may never recover, at least not in the nearest future. Who will fund the party now, Mr. Chairman? Is it you, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Mike Oghiadomhe, Mike Onolememen, Lucky Imasuen or Mathew Urhoghide? Will Chief Anenih and Chief Gabriel Igbinedion take on that responsibility?
By all means the biggest loser in all of this is you, Mr. Chairman. The results we achieved in the national elections indicated clearly that you will never be able to realize your long standing ambition to remove Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from office before the expiration of his governorship in November 2016. You told us as far back as 2009 that it was your ambition to do to Oshiomhole what Chief Tony Anenih did to Professor Ambrose Alli in 1983. Anenih it was who, as chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in our state, presided over the sacking of Prof. Alli, a fellow Ishan, from government house via a heavily rigged governorship election of 1983. It would be your pride, you always boasted, to equal that infamous record to be chairman of our party to remove from office a fellow Etsako man, if not through a free, fair and transparent electoral process then through impeachment. Mr. Chairman, your dream is unrealisable from both angles now that your party does not have control of the incoming house of assembly and Oshiomhole will not contest the next governorship election. Where does all of this leave you, Mr. Chairman?
Someone told me a few days ago that he thought you had been a big distraction to our party by the way you had carried puppetry and clownishness to high levels. He said you engaged in talk while the opposition engaged in thinking and acting out policies and programmes that benefit the populace. He was, therefore, not surprised about the results of the national elections. I must confess that I am in agreement that the way you have carried on is inimical to the progress, stability of our party and state. While you are waving papers on television and/or campaign grounds about what sums of money Oshiomhole has expended on particular sub-heads, the government remained focussed and progressive and our people watched and noted the difference. The verdict delivered on April 11 is that no one was ever swayed by your comical, clownish display.
Which way forward, Mr. Chairman? It is difficult at the moment to suggest a way forward for our party which can lead us to government house in 2016 or beyond. We can at least start now to put the broken pieces of our party together by bringing forward the proposed congresses scheduled for later this year. Our party requires a leadership change now. It is now a situation of the earlier the better if we must hold back the members threatening to leave for greener pastures.
OSARETIN OMOREGIE, A POLITICAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, WROTE FROM BENIN CITY.
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