By Henry Oshiobugie
An Open Letter to Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party
Dear Edo PDP,
My subject is most apt, but myopia will blind many an observer to the truth, which stares your teeming membership and followership, in the face, as the year 2020 births. My name is Henry Oshiobugie and I am not a member of your party, but an ardent observer and follower. Not so because of my friends and associates who inhabit the party, but primarily because of the evolution of this conglomeration of people who have, over time, established a modern Nigeria political party brand, like never before. The ruling APC may have tried everything in the box to stall the prominence of your party, but it only keeps getting better. Having performed excellently well in the last election cycle, despite the high handed manipulation of the APC in the House of Assembly elections, it is clear that your party will, or is already rising from the “ashes”, like the phoenix. This makes keen observers to hush over your prospects in Edo 2020, as well as your 2023 national prospects at the end of Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.
So, this begs the question of my subject: whither Edo PDP, after Dan Orbih? Historically, Dan Orbih is probably the longest serving party chairman in Nigeria. This is not exactly by accident. I stand to be corrected, but I know it was a carefully and succinctly selected choice of your late national leader, Chief Tony Anenih. At the demise of the erstwhile state chairman, Barr. Ikhabafe, Chief Dan Orbih was unanimously picked by Chief Anenih and other leaders to lead Edo PDP. Almost 14yrs later, the rest is history and before posterity, Edo people, nay Nigerians, are already judging Dan Orbih as the most prolific opposition leader ever in Nigeria’s history. It is known that both Oshiomole and his god-son, Obaseki, cringe at the thought of this man, and at the mention of his name, they seek support. Edo PDP has only remained a state chapter because of the leadership of this man from Ogbona, in Etsako Central LGA of Edo State. Having gone through his late father’s tutelage, who was also a foremost politician of the 2nd republic, Dan has proved to Edo people that he is one who is capable of humongous political responsibility, not just in Edo State. But this missive is not about Dan Orbih. It is about how you move forward in March 2020, after he bows out. Who? Where? And how?
I will cut to the chase and tell you that Dan Orbih may be irreplaceable. So is it wise in an election year to change a horse whose hoofs aren’t worn? No, it isn’t wise, but as a party that has established institutional prowess, it is only logical to continue to strengthen the institutions and structures of the body, to attain optimal functionality. This in turn breeds loyalty, dedication, justice, acceptability, focus, reliability and respectability. You need all these to turn the tables in your favour next year. Therefore the first step in strengthening these structures is to conduct a smooth and seamless transition from Chief Dan Orbih to the next “Dan Orbih”. I cannot and will not prescribe who that will or should be, but I will insist that it MUST be a man of impeccable character, respectable personality, full of wisdom and tact, open minded and hearted, resilient and reserved, determined and God fearing. Above all, a godfather to all. He may not have a war chest like Dan Orbih, but a war chest without “respect” becomes a war shelf. I do not know who fits the bill, I also do not know those being penned down for this onerous task, so I believe that those of you who have a right of reply can reach me at email@example.com or you can search for me on Facebook and inbox me such names as you would recommend. Let’s get the conversation going.
Respect means “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”, and so, only a man you all respect will have the audacity to hold you all together as a winning party after a congress, with less than six months to a crucial election. It doesn’t matter whether he is old or young, short or tall, rich or poor, new member or founding member, from North, South or Central… just let him be someone you respect for his ability, quality and achievement. I am aware that the party decision not to zone the chairmanship has left it open to everyone, and there are aspirants from the north, south and central. This is a good development as zoning has always been observed in breach and in utter infringement on fundamental rights of party members. So, please shine your eyes and vote wisely.
However, the choice you make next year for Dan Orbih’s replacement, will go a long way to determine if you will watch the November 11th swearing-in from your television sets or from the stands at Ogbe Stadium. Remember, Plato admonishes us that “one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”. So think wisely and go all out to support a man you will respect. And Osadebey Avenue will be yours.
Finally, my dear friends, do not allow the recent antics of the “fake pastor” irk you. I have seen how poor his PR team is doing on social media. Look around you, 90% of comments are insults to his person. There are 3 or 4 individuals who keep churning out meaningless material on him and I asked them a few simple questions: 1. How come it is just these 4 guys who are announcing the shameful “homecoming” and not the #OfficialAPC? Where is the APC publicity team in all this? 2. Could it be that, just like his first announcement done in his home, the APC hasn’t exactly accepted him and so neither faction is welcoming him openly, forcing him to welcome himself? 3. How come they keep using file photos from the PDP campaigns of 2016 for their media hype? Well, I will leave you all to chew on this and gird your loins for the victory that awaits you in 2020.
While wishing you the best of luck and a successful congress/changeover, I respectfully assure you of my highest regards for now…
*Henry Oshiobugie Esq