LETTER TO MY CONSTITUENTS
My dear people of Edo South Senatorial District,
THIS HOUSE IS NOT OUR HOME. IT IS TIME TO GO (AMALAWA)
My political vision has been and remains a state or nation where every segment gets what it deserves within the limits of its contribution to the whole and where everyone, whether individual or group, is free from domination and oppression. In exercise of the mandate freely given to me by you in my first tenure on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) I protested and fought against the domination of the people of Edo South Senatorial District by the forces, structure and dynamics of the party and government of that time. The heat generated by the resultant friction led to my inevitable exit from the party.
2. On hand to receive me was the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), as it then was, a party which rose to power in Edo State as a result of the peoples dissatisfaction with the PDP's performance in governance. I postulated then that the PDP's ticket in Edo State was worse than the Zimbabwean Dollar. My movement from PDP to ACN was smooth due to my policy of putting state interest above partisan considerations as an elected leader. It was this policy that influenced my decision to clear an ACN nominee for the position of Edo State Representative on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board, even though I was a PDP Senator. In appreciation, the ACN did not only admit me to their fold, it gave me a return ticket to the Senate, an act for which I will remain eternally grateful.
3. Great expectations followed the movement into the ACN. Going by the sloganeering in the party and public perception of the key leaders as men of integrity we believed that vices like godfatherism, imposition, ethnic domination, dictatorship, etc which characterized the PDP then would be non-existent in the ACN. We honestly expected that every senatorial district would be autonomous in the handling of its affairs and would be given its fair share according to its size, resources and population. We genuinely believed that the ACN would approximate ideal democratic culture in the conduct of governance and its internal affairs. Consultation, rule of law, collective decision making, team spirit, accountability, etc, were expected to be the hallmarks of the party. But that was not to be.
4. A party organized around a sole administrator who overturns and overturns and overturns depending on his moods, desires, whims and caprices cannot dispense justice, equity and fairness in a heterogeneous polity.
The people of Edo South Senatorial District have been criminally short-changed by the current party and government in Edo State. Let us consider the following questions.
-> Apart from statutorily provided appointments that should reflect the geo-political character of the state e.g. commissioners, how many positions of critical importance are occupied by Edo South indigenes?
-> In the siting of projects, how many projects are sited and executed in Edo South considering the population, landmass and resources of the district?
-> The reality of our political system is that every government empowers a new class of people through patronage. How many indigenes of Edo South origin are in the new class created by this government vis a vis the number of indigenes of other districts?
A dispassionate analysis of the above questions would reveal a grand deception against Benin people never before known in our political history. Let us say no to this grand deception. Our people are considered good only for crumbs or left overs (called Izobo). That is why they are given petty contracts. What a humiliation for a people with a rich heritage of industry and resourcefulness. We must reject the Izobo treatment because it is criminal and ungodly to starve the goose that lays the golden eggs. We refuse to be treated like a conquered people.
The actions and inactions of the sole administrator with respect to the interest of the Benins are deeply coloured by humiliation, with disdain, mischief and oppression oozing out malodorously. Our people say you do not walk out a gentlemen from your house. You only humiliate him and he will take his exit.
Much as I tried to get integrated into the party, the party proved impregnable. The harder the effort the stronger the protective wall. It dawned on me that the ticket given to me was perceived by them to be a ticket to an errand boy who would be ordered at will to perform given assignments without questioning, without consultation and without refusal. This amounts to slavery by other means.
5. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.
My dear people of Edo South Senatorial District, the situation as described above is the reality. It is the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in the present party and government in Edo State. We are a people in bondage. It is absolutely unacceptable.
The quest for political liberty and actualization has to continue. A new direction has become inevitable. But eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The interest of the people remains the only compass for political navigation.
6. My political barometer indicates that the PDP, Edo State Chapter, has been re-engineered and repositioned to deliver on good governance. With a politically contrite heart and broken spirit arising from its former outing in the State, the party is equipped mentally, morally and politically for good governance. Secondly, Mr President's transformation agenda has impacted significantly on the party's readiness and credentials. I believe very conscientiously that the reformation is genuine and that the party deserves a second chance. Even Almighty God will not despise a broken spirit and a contrite heart.
Another reason why the PDP deserves a second chance is the need to take Edo South Senatorial District to mainstream national politics. Edo South indigenes have not been able to make in-roads into the presidency whether in military or civilian regimes. I believe firmly that the PDP remains the only party for now that can give us this opportunity. The efforts of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is significant but inchoate in this regard. Even in the APC the people of Edo South are not in the first and second eleven of its national players. The APC will only condemn our people to local government, senatorial and impotent state players. The party holds no prospects, whatsoever for Benin people in their quest for political ascendancy.
Therefore, the PDP remains the best route to our political emancipation.
7. As an advocate and supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan I am sure that during his second term as President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Edo South will make the needed breakthrough.
The PDP ticket in Edo State, which was once worse than the Zimbabwean Dollar, has significantly appreciated in value having been re-denominated by the repositioning efforts of the party and Mr President's transformation agenda.
I like to emphasize that the ACN to which I belonged is defunct. I will not join the APC because its aims, objectives and philosophy are inconsistent with the socio-economic and political interests of our people.
My dear people of Edo South, with the foregoing arguments and consequent upon a broad spectrum consultation with political leaders across parties, opinion leaders, youth bodies, religious leaders, traditional rulers, etc, I have decided to return to the PDP to be able to arrest the subjugation of our people. My decision to return to PDP is predicated upon certain truths as I have discovered as of today, the legendary Mahatma Gandhi founder of modern India once remarked "truth is not inimitable, I will continue to follow the truth as God make me see it from day to day".
The truth of the matter in Nigeria politics today is that a certain group is involved in a gang up against Africa's largest political party and I will not be part of it.
Political giants through the ages have found the need to change their positions when the exigency of politics demands. Thus the famous Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's great Prime minister, ever found the need to move from the conservative to the liberal party and back again to the conservative party, our own Dr. Namadi Azikiwe, Nigeria first President, was a staunch supporter of Biafra even composing its national anthem but when the inimitable statesman discovered that there was not future for Biafra he returned to Nigeria which he had helped to build. So I am returning to PDP which I have helped to build.
8. I hereby call on all my followers, supporters, well wishers and all lovers of freedom, justice, equity, fair play to support and join the PDP.
The journey would be rough as the road would be laid with mines, the weather would be inclement. Those who contend with us contend with He that created us with great destiny. They trust in chariots, they trust in horses, they trust in "divide and rule" principle, they trust in tokenism, but we trust in the name of our God. One with God is in a majority.
May God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Long live Edo South Senatorial District !
Long live Edo State !!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria !!!
Oba Ghato Okpere. Ise.
Senator Ehigie Uzamere, KSC.