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As the 2016 Edo State elections approach in Edo State tensions are at boiling point and violence is a daily occurrence. I see two major factors in the rise in murders and other violent incidents
- Adams Oshiomhole policy of keeping his enemies close (instead of attempting to defeat it)
- Inter and Internal political violence (parties warring with each other and also warring within themselves)
Both of these factors have two things in common:
Adams Oshiomhole. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Adams Oshiomhole was elected as Edo State’s 9th Governor. He was preceded by 6 military administrations (starting with John Ewerekumoh Yeri upon the creation of Edo State in 1991 and ending with Anthony Onyearugbulem who handed over Governorship of the State into civilian hands in 1999) and two entirely corrupt civilian Governorships comprising firstly of Lucky Igbinedion (who ran two terms from 1999 to 2007 and who got away with the embezzlement of $26,000,000 USD thanks to a phone call from his Father to the powers that be) and Oserheimen Osunbor whose Governorship was overturned due to “massive rigging and other election malpractices as well as widespread thuggery and violence”. Oserheimen Osunbor’s Governorship summarily nullified by the courts and his position duly handed over to Adams Oshiomhole who has been Governor since 2008 . His second and final term set to end in 2016.
Despite the seat of power been wrestled from Lucky Igbinedion’s PDP party’s hands into the hands of the ACN party Lucky Igbinedion’s corrupt administration never actually lost power. Under the guise of the political pressure group “The Grace Group” the PDP suffered a multitude of high profile defections from the losing PDP party into the ACN’s Edo State Government. Therefore meaning that despite the exclusion of Lucky Igbinedion himself the corrupt and ill-functioning PDP administration, despite the people’s wishes, effectively remained in power.
“The Grace Group” that was the political trojan horse of these defections and was established even with corrupt funding. Chief Osaro Idah funding the establishment of the “The Grace Group” using funds effectively stolen from Bendel Brewery leaving it with a whopping 1.2 billion Naira ($6,000,000 USD) debt to Intercontinental Bank. Chief Osaro Idah didn’t mind though and left as General Manager of the brewery to take up the position of ACN Edo State Secretary.
This was far from the only notable switch of the role. “The Grace Group” facilitated the following defections from the PDP back into government:
Hon. Thomas Okosun
Formerly: PDP Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly
Became: ACN Edo State Chairman
Chief Lucky James
Formerly: Chairman Etsako West LGA and Chairman Edo Post Primary Education Board under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Commissioner for Local Government Affairs.
Mr. Dan Owegie
Formerly: PDP Party Chairman, Ovia South Local Government Area. Chairman of chairmen under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: ACN State Publicity Secretary
Barr. Osarodion Ogie (Secretary Grace Group)
Formerly: Secretary, Schools Infrastructure Development Committee under Igbinedion.
Became: Chief of Staff to Adams Oshiomhole
Mr. Lawrence OkahACN
Formerly: General Manager, Rapid Response Agency under Igbinedion.
Became: Oredo Party Leader (ACN)
Mrs. Modino Emovon
Formerly: Chairman, Waste Management Boards and PDP Chairman ECTS Board under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Edo State ACN Woman Leader,
Hon. Pally Iriase
Formerly: Immediate past Secretary to State Government 2008-2011PDP
Became: Member House of Representatives for Owan West/East,
Rev. Michael Egharevba
Formerly: Special Adviser to Lucky Igbinedion. One time Senatorial Leader, Edo South Senatorial District
Became: Special Adviser on Protocol to Adams Oshiomhole
Chief Tom Ikimi
Formerly: PDP Leader, Edo Central
Became: ACN National Leader
Chief Andrew Agbi
Formerly: PDP Chairman, Governing Council, Institute of Technology, Usen under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: ACN Leader
Barr. Henry Idahagbon
Formerly: PDP Commissioner for Lands and Survey under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Special Adviser to Adams Oshiomhole. Secretary, Oshiomhole Campaign Organization
Mr. Nosa Adams
Formerly: PDP Caretaker Committee Chairman, Egor Local Govt Council under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Executive Director, Emergency Relief Agency under Adams Oshiomhole
Chief Amos Osunbor
Formerly: Chairman, Edo Line. Managing Director Edo Line under Lucky Igbinedion.
Became: Chairman, Board of Directors Edo Line under Oshiomhole.
Mr. Victor Enoghama
Formerly: Caretaker Committee Chairman, Oredo LG under his brother- in-law Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Commissioner for Transport under Adams Oshiomhole
Chief Osamede Adun aka Bob-Izua
Formerly: Chairman, Committee on Demolition of Illegal Structures under Lucky Igbinedion. Was in charge of collection of all Revenues in Ring Road under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Chairman Small and Medium Enterprises Committee.
Hon. Bright Omokhodion
Formerly: Commissioner for Finance under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Immediate past Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly
Mr. Phillip Olumese
Formerly: Commissioner for Commerce and Industry under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Former Chairman, Edo Broadcasting Service.
Chief (Mrs.) Evelyn Igbafe Omokhodion
Formerly: Board Member, Otibhor Okhai Specialist Hospital, Irrua.
Became: Executive Director, Poverty Alleviation Programme
Hon. Anselm Agbabi
Formerly: PDP Member, Edo House of Assembly
Became: Executive Chairman, Akoko-Edo LG Caretaker Committee
Chief Bayo Adams
Formerly: PDP Party Leader, Akoko-Edo LGA and Board member under Lucky Igbinedion
Became: Chairman, Library Board
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu
Formerly: PDP Chief of Staff 1999 to 2003 and Secretary to the State Government 2003 to 2007.
Became: ACN, National Vice Chairman. Campaign Manager, Oshiomhole’s campaign organization
Dr. Pius Odubu
Formerly: Member House of Representatives 1999 to 2007
Became: Deputy Governor
Hon. Charles Idahosa
Formerly: Director of Protocol and Administration 1999-2000. Commissioner for Information 2003 to 2004. Member, Board of NTA
Became: Special Adviser on Political Matters to Adams Oshiomhole
Barr. Frank Erewele
Formerly: Commissioner for Education under Lucky Igbinedion. Chairman Grace Group
Became: State Organizing Secretary and Chairman Utilities Board
Barr. Anselm Ojezua
Formerly: Commissioner for Sports and Social Development under Lucky Igbinedion.
Became: Commissioner for Information, Commissioner for Lands and Survey 2009 to date
So although it may seem like Adams Oshiomhole was getting into bed with the enemy (his PDP rivals and the criminals and cultists which formed the Lucky Igbinedion administration) it should be more seen as his enemies buying their way into bed with him.
Under this backdrop of corruption, betrayal and power seizing it is of no surprise internal enemies would start to bare on down on Governor Adams Oshiomhole. He was subject to assassination attempts on him and his staff. Including the killing of his Principal Private Secretary Olaitan Oyerinde and an attack on Oshiomhole’s motorcade in 2012 which left 3 journalists dead.
It is under such brutal pressure that I believe Governor Adams Oshiomhole adopted his strategy of keeping his friends close but his enemies closer. He enacted several dubious and deplorable actions. Which if he hadn’t he may not still be alive today. Such actions as employing hired killers like Tony Kabaka (Tony Adun) and his mafia boss uncle Bob Izua (Chief Osamede Adun) for the purposes of “revenue collection” (extortion through the company ‘Akugbe Ventures’) and actions like forming the ‘Rainbow Consolidated Forum’. The ‘Rainbow Consolidated Forum’ bringing together all Edo’s major cult groups under one umbrella (Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s umbrella) under the guise of his intent to use them to stamp out the murders, rapes, robberies and kidnappings (they were committing). The ‘Rainbow Consolidated Forum’ consisted of the murderers, rapists, armed robbers and kidnappers that were the Neo Black Movement, the Maphites, Eiye Confraternity and the Norsemen etc etc.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s leaving office in 2016 will see the most brutal political violence Edo State has ever seen as the power mongers try to kill and buy their way into power. It most certainly has already started and continues to get worse week by week. According to one worried political commentator “Edo people say that more than 95% of the members of Edo House of Assembly (EDHA) belong to one violent cult group or the other. As a result, these different malicious cult groups have hijacked the Government House in a struggle to get their members in key government positions all over the state”
Below are visualisations showing an increase of violent incidents in Edo State between Jan 2012 to June 2015 (Data courtesy of http://global.fundforpeace.org/)
The original ‘2015 Conflict Bulletin’ produced by The Fund For Peace is available here: http://library.fundforpeace.org/conflictbulletin-edo-1508 and was Published August 22, 2015
By Nate Haken and Patricia Taft with contributions by Hannah Blyth
It is also available to download in PDF form Here
(one criticism I have of the FFP’s ‘2015 Conflict Bulletin’ is that they differentiate between cult violence and political violence with no acknowledgement or perhaps understanding that they are one in the same thing… there is also the small matter of calling the ‘Maphite’ cult: “Manflight” which although a humorously ironic typo is another inaccuracy of the report)
Additional thanks to SIMON EBEGBULEM for his incredulous reporting of events in and around Benin and in fact to all those who dare to speak out and report what is occurring in Edo State.