Edo 2024: Esan Outline Criteria For Endorsing Aspirants, Make Strong Bid For Governor


By Ikhili EBALU, Benin City


Ahead of the forthcoming governorship contest of Edo State, the Esan ethnic nationality, located in the Central Senatorial Zone, have listed criteria that aspirants from the zone must meet to enjoy overwhelming support. This they argue is to ensure that only viable and capable aspirants who will equally elicit support of the Northern and Southern Senatorial Zones of the state, will be endorsed to angle for the number one seat of Edo State as Governor Godwin Obaseki’s eight year term winds down in November 2024.

Rising from a meeting of the Esan Assembly held at the weekend, under the auspices of the Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI) and attended by some Esan groups in the country and the Diaspora, it endorsed the criteria presented by a six man sub committee headed by acclaimed Constitutional Law Scholar, Prof Mike Ikhariale, which makes the possession of a bachelors degree, as opposed to the constitutional provision of a secondary school certificate, as the minimum for persons of Esan extraction contesting for any political offices. Other members of the sub committee earlier set up by EOI’s Political and Strategic Committee, which comprised largely of egg heads, include Prof. Friday Okonofua, Prof. Ekeikhomen Ejele, Prof. Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, Dr. Roseline Etiti Okosun and Dr. Onoohomen Ebhohimhen.

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The meeting which discussed and wrapped up details of the criteria, according to a press statement by EOI’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Iyare, was also attended by representatives of Esan Liberation Movement led by Mr. Prosper Iyere, Esan Descendants Assembly headed by Prof Oyawizo Aluede, Okisemabhegbe coordinated by Mr. Mark Akhuetie and leaders of the Esan World Congress (EWC) in the US and Canada.

The criteria cover critical areas like education, social and political exposures, personal gravitas, and emphasizes that the would be aspirants must be imbued with “a strong association with Esanland through past and current activities in ways that are demonstrably focused on the promotion of the wellbeing of Esan people.”

“Accordingly, the individual must have a positive image and untarnished reputation that openly speak for themselves, and such perception must have received the general acknowledgement of the people,” the group says.

The criteria are divided into three broad categories – Mandatory Requirements, Esan-centric Requirements and The People’s Specific Demands. Under the mandatory requirements, the individual must meet the eligibility requirements that are clearly set out in the Constitution of Nigeria for elective political offices as well as those that are specifically drawn up by EOI exclusively for Esan politicians.

Esan centric requirements, include:
(a) the individual must be a strong believer in Esan values as amply evidenced by an unbroken track-record of enthusiastic association with Esan issues, Esan concerns and Esan cultural challenges and those matters pertaining to the general development of the Esan nation.
(b) must be evidently enthusiastic about Esan matters and actively makes his contributions whenever called upon.
(c) Generous contribution to Esan development, be it materially, physically or intellectually.
(d) A proud communicator in Esan language with demonstrable understanding, or possesses a verifiable evidence of genuine willingness to acquire the requisite proficiency in the language.


The high point is that the aspirants must possess a minimum of a university degree (excluding honorary degrees) or equivalent tertiary qualifications from a recognized institution(s). “We acknowledge that certain disciplines like Law, Engineering, Medicine, etc require compulsory post-university certifications to be complete; and the absence of such certifications would raise questions that demand further investigation.”

The criteria laid out also include Integrity and Moral Uprightness, Health Status, Viability of Political Platforms, Political Visibility and Electoral Viability, Resource and Material Capacity and Urbaness and Gravitas.

The individual must not have been criminally tainted or have actually been convicted for crimes involving fraud and dishonesty. A good mentor and example in moral issues. Not a bankrupt or a person of dubious reputation.

The individual must be physically and mentally sound; he must not have any past and present medical records that indicate otherwise; he must evidently be in good health and has never been associated with drugs-related rehab.

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The individual must be reputed for his civility, charisma, enlightened worldview and broadmindedness; not given to pettiness or deep-rooted grudges and anti-social behaviours.

An individual vying for an elective position in Esanland should possess reasonable personal capacity to prosecute a viable campaign. This must not be misconstrued as limiting the search to moneybags only or even aspirants with the backing of wealthy godfathers.

The two hour weekend meeting presided over by President, Esan Okpa Initiative, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon, also disclosed plans to engage other senatorial zones with the hope of getting them to concede the governorship ticket to persons of Esan extraction on the basis of justice, equity and fairness. Stressing the altruistic nature of the group’s intervention, Egbadon, also a lawyer, quips, “we are non partisan, we are only interested in putting forward our best hands”, pleading with “unserious aspirants” who have joined the hordes of contenders for the governorship ticket to quit the race.

While Edo Central’s reign under Prof Oserheimen Osunbor was cut short after 18 months in office, Edo South with Mr Lucky Igbinedion and Mr Godwin Obaseki will be completing 16 years in the governorship saddle by November 11, 2023. Edo North has also had two terms of 8 years under Adams Oshiomhole.

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