Heir to the Benin Throne and Edaiken of Uselu, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Ambassador Eheneden Erediauwa, paid a visit to Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole recently at the Government House in what could be described as an unprecedented royal visit. Oshiomhole had received royal visits from traditional rulers, including the revered paramount royal father, Oba of Benin, in the past. However, the visit of the Edaiken of Uselu enters Edo history books as the first of such visits from a traditional ruler who will definitely be Oba of Benin to Comrade Oshiomhole as governor of Edo state.
HRH Eheneden Erediauwa had just concluded the traditional rites following his installation as Edaiken N’Uselu when he paid a visit to Government House to thank the Comrade Governor, for the unprecedented development his administration has brought to Benin City and the state. He was accompanied on the Thank You visit by very senior palace chiefs.
According to Edaiken N’Uselu, “let me find many ways to thank him for the many things he has done for the state. He has introduced new concepts. Basically, he has laid a very strong foundation for the democratic process and democratic development. The now popular one-man, one-vote which ought to have been since, he brought it to the fore. Campaign against godfatherism as you also know, infrastructural development, trying to make Edo state the destination of choice for healthcare, roads, lighting, changing the concepts of the ancient kingdom the way it was once interpreted because of the darkness you see everywhere, and everybody thought ancient kingdom meant that because it was so dark, whereas they have forgotten about the historical part of it that the ancient kingdom meant because it was really ancient going back to the 12th century and beyond.
“But people started looking at Benin, the capital of Edo state, once the capital of Bendel and Midwest and they started to interpret it literally as ancient in terms of dereliction. It was dark but our indefatigable governor came and lit it up. I couldn’t believe when I drove through the streets of Benin and everywhere was lit. The streets were all lit up. I really couldn’t believe it. I was in Rome at the time he was doing all this work. When I came in from Rome in one of my visits, I just couldn’t believe I was in Benin.
“So for that, again Your Excellency, I want to restate our thanks to you. We thanked you already. We cannot stop thanking you for introducing this development, this new face in Benin. So, on behalf of our chiefs, the traditional institution, on behalf of Edo people, I thank you.”
The significance of Comrade Oshiomhole’s royal endorsement lies in the challenge thrown by HRH Eheneden Erediauwa to critics of the governor. He said: “The indefatigable Governor of Edo State, as I once said on an earlier occasion in Auchi, I also addressed him as the messiah of everything in Edo State. I have not seen anything to change my mind about that up till now. Should anybody be around to contradict some of the things I said on that occasion, they are please free to come out and challenge it, but I have not seen any challenger since.”
Who will challenge the Edaiken N’Uselu’s views on the good work of the Oshiomhole administration? Who is it, who lived in Edo State, before November 2008 when Oshiomhole assumed office as governor of the state, who will say that the Edaiken N’Uselu was wrong in his assessment of the work Comrade Oshiomhole has done to reclaim, redeem and reposition the state for sustainable growth and development? Compared with the decay in social infrastructure he inherited, is it not reasonably expedient to describe Oshiomhole as the messiah of Edo State just as the revered Crown Prince has said? Shall we allow politics of opposition to so blind us as not to see and acknowledge the fact that Oshiomhole has in the last seven and half years put Edo State high on the development index? Shall we deny the existence of the new ultra-modern hospital complex standing side by side with the Central Hospital established in 1903? Is it the many road networks across the state and school blocks wearing the red roof or the Comrade Bus service which ferries school children to and from school daily free of charge? Shall we deny that the flood and erosion control, as well as the urban renewal and beautification projects, were not executed by this administration?
It is worthy of note that at about the same time as HRH Ambassador Eheneden Erediauwa visited to thank the Comrade Governor for the good work he has done in Edo State, VANGUARD Media Limited, publishers of the Vanguard titles, also recognized Governor Oshiomhole as Personality and Governor of the Year 2015. At the awards ceremony in Lagos, VANGUARD noted that under Oshiomhole’s vibrant administration, Edo, like a risen phoenix, has undergone tremendous growth and development. The respected newspaper continued: “The man came and demystified a long-held myth that Edo state has no money, and somehow, under him, a dilapidated state started working again. Edo, a transit state through which millions of Nigerians must traverse to get to their states of origin, has witnessed rapid and tremendous transformations under this former labour leader.”
The Benin Crown Prince and Edaiken N’Uselu, Ambassador Eheneden Erediauwa as well as the management of VANGUARD Media Limited cannot be faulted in their assessment of the impact of the Oshiomhole administration on Edo State and its people. And as Governor Oshiomhole told his august royal visitor, “Edo is still work in progress… and we are determined to work up to the last day I will hand over the baton to the next person whom Edo people will elect to continue from there.”
Whoever that person may be, he must have the capacity, zeal, political will and courage not only to sustain the level of development achieved by Governor Oshiomhole but seek to surpass the legacies of this administration. He must be someone who after the first four years of his administration will earn the commendation of HRM Oba of Benin and the entire Edo people.
*Nasamu Jacobson, Political Affairs Analyst, lives in Benin City.