Esan Okpa Kickstarts Mobilization for Edo Guber Race, Floats Contact Committee



To Lobby North & South Senatorial Zones
…Asks Unserious Aspirants to Quit Race



By Ikhili EBALU, Benin City

In line with the resolution of the Esan Assembly, held last weekend, to reach out to Edo North and Edo South Senatorial Zones in the quest to get them concede the governorship contest to persons of Esan extraction, the Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), the umbrella socio cultural organization, has set up a powerful 24-man Mobilization and Contact Committee to carry out the task.

According to information released by EOI’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Tony Iyare, the committee which is headed by the pioneer Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon, is composed of former Edo State Governor, Prof Oserheimen Osunbor, frontline business man, Chief Leemon Ikpea, former President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, a retired Army General, Cecil Esekhaigbe, former President, Association of Esan Professionals (AEP), Mr Efe Akhigbe, Dr Roseline Etiti Okosun, former Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Post Primary Education, and Mr Tony Iyare, former Special Adviser, Media & Publicity to ex-Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Others include Constitutional Law Scholar, Prof Mike Ikhariale, Expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Prof Friday Okonofua, Linguistics Expert, Prof Ekeikhome Ejele
, Political Science Scholar, Prof Sylvester Odion Akhaine, former Director, Nigerian Deposits Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Dr Pascal Ebhohimenand and Political Development Scholar, Dr Onoohomen Ebhohimhen.
The committee also consists of the following: Expert in Organisation and Management, Dr Celey Okogun, International Accounting Consultant, Mr Henry Egbiki, Vice President, Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), Eng George Okoyo, President, Esan Club 30 Port Harcourt, Eng Frank Oriakhi and President Ikolo Esan based in Benin City,, Eng Henry Ikheloa. The committee also has members representing faith based organizations, Rev Fr Fidelis Arhedo and Alhaji Abdulkadir Mukhtar, a Lagos based businessman, Chief Albert Iyorah with Eng Sunny Udabor and Mr Genesis Inibhunu representing Esan persons in the Diaspora.
Apart from engaging prominent leaders of the two zones, the committee is also to have sessions with leaders of the political parties particularly the major ones: All Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP). The committee is also expected to meet with traditional rulers, women and youth organizations.

In the strong move to put forward their best hands for the forthcoming governorship contest of Edo State, the Esan ethnic nationality, located in the Central Senatorial Zone, have also 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 last 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 Strategy 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.

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, says, “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 Mr Adams Oshiomhole.


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