RE: “I Will Need To Study To Know Those Artefacts That I Will Send Back To The Palace” – Ighodalo

The attention of Akpakomiza Media Force has been drawn to an online TV program, monitored from PFM TV International, wherein Governor Godwin Obaseki’s minion, the handpicked PDP governorship candidate for the forthcoming September off-cycle election in Edo State, Barr. Asue Ighodalo, labored fruitlessly like a drowning man to launder the battered image of the clueless PDP-led state government because of fears of his inevitable loss at the polls.

Ighodalo’s imminent rejection by the good people of Edo State is predicated on Obaseki’s intention of having a third tenure through his stooge, who has proven himself to be a greenhorn in the grassroots politics of Edo State. His matter is even made worse when he inadvertently opened a fresh can of worms during the recent interview, in which he surprisingly raised questions on the rightful possession of our coveted artifacts, which are significant symbols of the history and spirituality of our ancient kingdom.

Ordinarily, we would have completely ignored the time-wasting and stage-managed media outing, orchestrated with the sole intent of raising sophistry to another level, but for the recent hurling of stones at our principal and the APC governorship hopeful, Senator Monday Okpebholo, and our media chief, Comrade John Mayaki, by one rabble-rouser and anchorman of the program, Mega Comrade Clement Eranimigho Edegbe.

Instructively, it will amount to swatting a fly with a sledgehammer if we begin to join issues with a moronic and comic figure like Edegbe, whose typical unimpressive syntax of English is a daily embarrassment to the social media community. His conduct in that interview is everything professional journalism should not be. Or how else can one explain an interviewer clapping in praise, right inside the studio for a guest during a live coverage while posing some rehearsed questions handed to him by the guest? Alas, what a shame to journalism!

However, we would elect to dwell on some very worrisome issues emanating from the infamous media chat. Before the eyes of the entire world, the self-acclaimed boardroom czar made intriguing and eye-popping revelations of his nocturnal pact with his age-long business partner, Obaseki; unveiling their collective agreement to further debase the revered stool of the Oba of Benin and mortgage the economic livelihood of our people by trading off our soon-to-be-returned artifacts, under the guise of grandiose tourism investment with their Igbo-born crony, Phillip Iheanacho.

Close monitors of that interview, which lacked issue-based contents, expected the articulation of a comprehensive blueprint to deepen the economic prosperity of Edolites. At this juncture, none needs a crystal ball to arrive at a glaring conclusion of an extension of Obaseki’s reign if Asue wins. This startling revelation should be a pain in the neck, sufficient to agitate the minds of well-meaning sons and daughters of the state, including residents of Edo State, because of the abysmal performance of the present administration and her preference for white elephant projects rather than sustainable investments. The populace is tired of the governor’s voracious appetite to enrich himself and a select few, within and outside the state.

Therefore, painstakingly x-raying that interview, it is evidently clear but amusing to Edolites that the PDP governorship hopeful, with less than 5 months to prove his party’s popularity at the polls, is bereft of reasonable ideas on the history of the people he intends to govern.

Although a premeditated interview, a lawyer whom we thought ought to have studied the famous Benin history in his History class during his secondary school days jolted us by exhibiting a character portraying a high level of ignorance and, by extension, unpreparedness for the plum job. At each question, you hear him begin with “Thank you very much, I have been expecting this question…” before veering off the radar with his typical magniloquent style.

Further into the interview, he was asked what he will do to the contentious Edo artifacts, Ighodalo blurted, “I will need to study to know the artifacts…….I will investigate….My work is to ask questions, I’m a lawyer.”

It is sad to see a man of 64 years old publicly electing to undertake an emergency research of his people’s history and tradition at this crucial stage of his political life. Dr. Asue Ighodalo’s goofy reaction has again proven himself a complete political neophyte lacking basic knowledge of our people and their culture. His incoherent answers concerning Benin history and the rich sociocultural heritage of Edolites are indeed a faux pas. Understanding and appreciating the complexities of our historical narratives are qualities a good leader must possess for the occupant of the state’s number one seat. Here, Dr. Asue Ighodalo has tipped himself as a very unserious candidate.

Interestingly also, Asue scored an own goal when he hinted at an impending artifact war between the state government under his watch (should he become governor) and Oba Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare II. Without mincing words, he expressed doubts over who the rightful custodian of our cultural heritage is. He asserted he was going to return some artifacts to the palace and use the rest for tourism. This, we believe, negates the core powers vested in the Oba as the appropriate custodian of the cultural and traditional accouterments of the kingdom.

Furthermore, Asue’s poor understanding of a harmonious relationship between a head of a state government and traditional institutions is pathetic. In his thoughts, a familial relationship and ancestral descent are the actual nexus to enjoying a rancor-free working relationship with the traditional institutions. This is very petty, pedestrian, and smacks of crass ignorance.

As a matter of fact, the reverse will be the case if the maxim “familiarity breeds contempt” is anything to go by. Edolites should await a governor who will likely equate himself to the exalted Benin royal stool if they fold their hands and do nothing to vote him out. Obviously, someone who claims to be surrounded by cousins who are first-class traditional rulers will definitely have little or no regard for the Oba and his subjects.

But we may, at this juncture, enlighten the gubernatorial candidate of PDP, that conscripting the Oba into his campaign council to score cheap political points is merely a wild goose chase. This is because Edo electorates are wiser and cannot be hoodwinked by Asue and Obaseki’s antics and sweet talks.

The ambiguity in which Dr. Asue Ighodalo spoke about his intentions for tourism using the recovered artifacts is suspicious. In a futile effort to allay fears and appeal to the sensibilities of his listening audience, he projected an unrealistic figure as revenue, accruing from tourism to be put at $1.5b without stating concrete plans of either continuing or discontinuing with the establishment of the vexatious EMOWAA Trust, as mooted by Obaseki.

Technically evading a mention of his consultant-friend and business partner, Mr. Iheanacho, in the entire interview session makes it all the more not kosher with the principles of transparency and prudence.

To add the final nail in the coffin for Ighodalo, he unwittingly declared his ambition to be governor as one driven out of “my own selfishness”. It is true that the mouth speaks out of the abundant potentials laid in the heart; therefore, Edo electorates must not sweep Ighodalo’s confessed intentions under the carpet. Any gubernatorial candidate with profligate and kleptomaniac tendencies must be stopped with the power of the ballot. Transparency is key in dealing with issues that border on the identity and common wealth of a people.

In spite of the sordid picture Dr. Asue Ighodalo has painted, we owe him enormous gratitude for surrounding himself with parasitic minnows like Edegbe, whose recent inanities, vitriols against a more professional and media-savvy John Mayaki, and indeed, his buffoonery led us on to discovering his run-of-the-mill interview, in the first instance. We urge him to continue to patronize and hire more of the likes of Edegbe to make exposure of his inefficiencies and malfeasance easier to the ever-conscious Edo electorates.

Conclusively, we make a clarion call on Edolites to beware of political jobbers, jokers, wheeler-dealers, and strange bedfellows as we advance the electioneering period. A time such as this demands that wisdom prevails in our choices. The consequences of these choices will either mar or make the future of Edo State.

Luckily, the forthcoming election has a people’s servant with an enviable grassroots presence in the person of Senator Monday Okpebholo as a contestant. He is unarguably the best man to hire for the job of restoring the past glories of our dear state and her people in the comity of states in Nigeria.

Edolites must get ready to reject Obaseki’s third term bid and punish his lackey with their votes on election day.

A stitch in time saves nine!

• Directorate of Strategic Communications Akpakomiza Media Force April 1, 2024

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