Edo North People Rejected Alimikhena and Opted for Oshiomhole.

Edo North People Rejected Alimikhena and opted for Oshiomhole.

By Victor Oshioke

We at the Oshiomhole media team have tried as much as possible not to engage in a media war with the Alimikhena team. This is premised on our belief that we are all Afemai people before we became politicians, and if our principals are truly seeking office for the unity and development of Afemai land, we shouldn’t be seen as engaging in any acts that can cause strife among our people. This has been our guiding principle since the ban on campaigns was lifted by INEC a couple of weeks ago.

However, it has increasingly become obvious that the Alimikhena media team believe otherwise. We have enough evidence to conclude that their strategy is to instigate a media war between the two campaigns as a way of dragging us to the market place for a naked fight. But we are mindful of the anecdote, that if you are naked taking a shower in a stream and a madman comes, picks up your clothes and starts to run away, you should on no account jump out of the stream and begin to run after the madman in order to reclaim your clothes. This is because those who see you running naked after the madman would actually think you are both mad, or worst still mistake you for the madman pursing a sane man who is running away from you.

This is the policy that will influence our interaction with the Alimikhena media team during this campaign season. We want to discuss the issues, compare antecedents of the candidates and convince the electorates that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is better equipped to represent Edo North in the red chamber come 2023.
That not withstanding, there are a few incontrovertible facts which we must emphasize just so that the insolent Benjamin Atu and his renegade gang of untutored media wannabes know the ground rules for this engagement, in the lead up to the elections in February 2023.

Firstly, there is indeed no basis for comparisms between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Senator Francis Alimikhena, other than they are both Afemai and had both ended their careers in their chosen professions before they joined politics. Even at that, whereas Comrade Oshiomhole had an impressive career as a unionist and rose to occupy the highest position in the Nigeria Labour Congress as its President, Francis Alimikhena had a lackluster career in the Nigerian Army and only managed to rise to the middle officer cadre of a Major before retirement. This is a fact , documented and known to the entire political class in Edo North. So if they are assessed on the basis of their antecedence, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is more accomplished professionally before the dawn of his political voyage. In politics, it is Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who rescued Alimikhena from political oblivion, by giving him the APC ticket and funding his election, after he had contested twice and lost twice the primary for the PDP ticket. Irrespective of the revisionist postulations and mendacious propaganda by Alimikhena’s media aides, this is well known, acknowledged by Alimikhena severally and not debatable.

We at the Edo North APC media team hold Senator Francis Alimikhena in high regard. We see him as a distinguished Afemai son who has attempted to contribute the best of his abilities to the progress of Afemai land, even when we recognise that his best falls short of what is expected of him, given the opportunities which were available to him since his election into the Senate. We also believe that we don’t have to insult a man old enough to be our father for Oshiomhole to defeat him in the 2023 Edo North Senate race. However, if Benjamin Atu and his likes are not cautioned and restrained from casting further aspersions on the person of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, we will be forced to tear Francis Alimikhena to pieces in the media space. We parade the most seasoned political writers in Edo North and our team of very vibrant and tested social media influencers are eagerly waiting to be unleashed on any deserving subject. Though we do not want to use them to insult and denigrate persons who have contributed to the growth and development of Afemai land, we nonetheless will not leave our pens idle while some uncouth numbskulls who are intent on stirring strife among our people continue to run amock unchallenged. If Senator Francis Alimikhena is unable to rein in his mad dogs, let him not begrudge our next line of action when we decide to change our strategy of passive engagement to vociferous attacks.

Oshiomhole has never been, and will never be against the empowerment of people in whatever ways that is possible. It is on record that the idea of empowerment for youths, widows and artisans with working tools like sewing machines, hair dressing equipment, welding machines etc started under the administration of Oshiomhole as governor. It was Oshiomhole that bought hundreds of Suzuki cars which were given to unemployed drivers on hire purchase basis to use in Benin Metropolis, when Okada riders were banned for security reason. What Oshiomhole has argued and with good reason, is that empowerment with motorcycles and sewing machines should not be the yardstick for measuring performance for anyone seeking to represent Edo North in the national assembly. Alimikhena should by now be able to present Edo North people with a report card that shows how many institutions or companies that create employment for youths he has attracted to Edo North. This is how he can convince the people that he will utilise a new tenure to bring more institutions or companies to create more employment for our youths.

Oshiomhole is a brand, the best selling brand in the entire South South region of Nigeria. If that is a nut too hard for anyone to crack, such a person should ask those who have been in this business of politics for long and understand the meanings inherent in unspoken political actions, why Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, a PDP stalwart chose to invite Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as the only non sitting governor or presidential candidate of any political party he invited recently to commission a project in his state.
Oshiomhole is a larger than life personality who transcends the restrictive appeal of partisan political relevance. He is who he is, irrespective of whether he seeks public office under the platform of a political party. His personality brings relevance and acceptability to the platform under which he seeks political office not the other way round. So in essence, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the sort of candidate that could win elective office as an Independent in societies like the USA where it is possible to run on ones individual personality without belonging to a political party.
This explains why his candidature is being driven by so many people across the political divide in Edo North and other prominent persons from around the nation who strongly believe that Oshiomhole, with his experience and pedigree can enhance the level of discourse and advance democracy in Nigeria as a Senator.
An Oshiomhole in the Senate will be like a voice in the wilderness for Nigerian workers, a strong rallying figure for South South agitations, the pride of Edo people and top class representation for Edo North senatorial district.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the undisputed progenitor of empowerment in Edo State. Nobody, alive or dead has ever empowered Edo people on the scale Comrade Oshiomhole did and continuesto do. The records are there for verification. Before he became governor, nobody in Edo North knew there was a position in government known as Senior Special Assistant to the governor or Special Assistant to the governor for that matter. But when he came in as governor, he employed over 300 Afemai sons and daughters as Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants. Not only that, he took it a notch higher by creating the political office of Executive Director where many more top Afemai sons and daughters were gainfully engaged throughout his time in office. This is the channel through which many of them became respected politicians in their communities. Many more Afemai sons and daughters were relocated from Europe and America to Nigeria and they are resident permanently at home today. of those who he Majority of those he so empowered with positions in government have become the political elites in their various communities today. So it was Oshiomhole that opened the door of political activism and participation for majority of politicians in todays Afemai land. How many Afemai sons and daughters has Senator Francis Alimikhena empowered with employment in the 7 years that he has been in the senate? How has he deepened political participation in Edo North independently, to engender a new crop of politicians as Oshiomhole did? Even as Chairman Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, how many of our young men and women were employed in the period he has occupied that position? In the last employment exercise by the Nigerian Customs Service, how many Edo North applicants were employed?
This is what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is talking about. He is not against the empowerment of our people in any sense. On the contrary, he is advocating for sustainable empowerment programmes where our youth are given jobs with which they can help others in due course, not detained in a cycle of economic powerlessness with motorcycles and pepper grinding machines.
Edo North deserves better, and Senator Francis Alimikhena, no matter how good his intentions are, is incapable of breaking the ceiling for rapid development, genuine economic empowerment, and engendering the institutional changes that will drive growth in Edo North. Francis Alimikhena’s voice has been loudly silent in critical debates about the future of Nigeria, since he became a senator 7 years ago. It is time Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is sent forth to articulate at the fore of legislative discourse the challenges, fears, hopes, and aspirations of the people of Edo North as a representative thought of the Nigerian hoi polloi.
Only Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is equipped to do this at this time.

Victor Oshioke is the Director, Media and Publicity
Edo North APC Presidential/Senatorial Campaign Council.

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