If Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has a list of three outstanding personalities as Edo Ministerial nominees, I have an inkling into it. I see number one as the same as number two, just as the third. If Edo State Chapter of the All Progressive Party (APC) is to nominate three candidates for the same position for the cabinet post, independently of Oshiomhole’s list, I see a duplication somewhere. At the apogee, where the party sits, the highest decision making organ of the party and in the unpredictable mind of President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), I do not contemplate a reoccurring decimal and denominator. From Edo South to Central to North, the three Senatorial Districts in Edo State, this nominee stands tall in the midst of distinguished sons and daughters who have earned their mark in their various field of endeavor. From the progressive root of the party to the new-comers to the party, no one doubts his qualifications, charisma, popularity and erudition. In academic records, he is an egghead and have also reached the pinnacle. He parades a voluminous, lengthy and bulky CV. In experience and in politics, he towers above all. I am certainly not in a hurry in letting the cat out of the bag, not until we have exhausted the various level of assessments of this would-be Ministerial nominee. In terms of fairness and equity, he is there. When it comes to zoning and principles of Federal Character, the slot easily locates him. In terms of hard-work, exposure and international connections, he is unbeatable. What excuse shall we give, if we fail to send our first eleven at a time the nation is in dire need of capable hands to salvage it from the doldrums? We are certainly inexcusable. This one slot is not the one for all-comers. We need not run over each other to make the list as we must all be unanimous to agree that an intelligent and very bold personality with a hugely successful public service and an uncommon courage and determination should go for the job. Somebody said the only person who fits the bill is Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the Secretary to Edo State Government from Owan West who contested his party primaries and slightly lost the ticket by less than a dozen votes to his close friend and Senator-elect, Francis Alimikhena. But, I argued saying, “what was his contribution to the success of the Senator-elect during the General electioneering campaigns and election proper? What was his outing in his polling unit, ward and local government and constituency? Did he rocked the boat when his popularity and clout was needed most? Why do you think the cap fits him most? These are the issues and until we get to the nitty gritties, you cannot have a blanket ruling like Senate President David Mark would rig Musili Obanikoro, Minister representing Lagos State into office despite uprisings from the very constituency that mattered most. Everywhere I go and to many people, the political scientist from Owan West is a professional in politics. They say he is one of the patriotic Nigerians whose pro-democracy activities heralded the restoration of civil rule in 1999. This National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain has paid his due as a university don and activist”, people argued. They say When he joined the government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, his past activities continued to shape his post-1999 intervention in socio-political affairs of the country. He contested for Governorship in Edo State under the Peoples Democratic Party in 2003 and the godfather fixed him negatively. He picked up the pieces of the remains of his political structure and moved on. Again, in 2007, he contested his party primaries and lost to Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor. He wouldn’t stop there, the activist carried on, as if nothing has happened. Struggle is his life. This political strategist had strategically teamed up with Governor Adams Oshiomhole to build and move the state forward, though still in the PDP. During the 2012 re-election of the Comrade Governor, he placed a largesse of N1 million on any local government in Owan that delivers Oshiomhole, after leading his cult-like followers to join the ruling party in the state. Today, he is not only contributing his experience to governance in the state, he is one of the shinning stars adding credibility to Edo state. The eminent teacher has rubbed shoulders in intellectual output with his contemporaries in the advanced world-Canada, United States of America and Australia. But, in answering the call to duty, he decided to return home to contribute to nation-building. Today, he is the rallying point for the political class in the three Etsako Local Government Area, the two Owan Local Government Area and in Akoko Edo local Government Area. Ihonvbere’s political attitude favours change and reforms in governmental action; I mean those ideas that oppose elitism, subjectivity, conservatism and reactionary governance, Ihonvbere believes in this school of thought. I cannot agree less. I want to align myself to the opinion of the majority of Edo state people and unviel the only character that fits this bill in the contemporary Edo State politics. He is a man of the people, a philanthropist, teacher and a progressive politician, who has not betrayed the trust and confidence reposed in him. He represents different things to different people. To some, he is a rare writer who has authored many books that have served and still serving the needs of readers, a respected public commentator, opinion leader, a teacher and mentor. He is intelligent and very bold. He is such an enigma and a hugely successful public servant with an uncommon courage and determination to succeed. This man is among the few in public office who has shunned opulence and personal aggrandisement. He left a legacy of honour and integrity at the Ford Foundation and the Presidency. He is one man who sees public office as potent weapon for social change. He is committed to the good of the society. He is the friend of the masses. Permit me to present to you all, the Man, popularly known as “Na Im Bi Dis”, Professor Julius Ihonvbere; a man of the future, focussed, honest and loyal to the government and people of Edo State.
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