EDO STATE, NIGERIA: COMRADE GOVERNOR! BUDDY CONNECT WANTS TO COME HOME.
This is a true story. And it is about the dire state of security in Edo state, Nigeria especially the capital Benin City. To the uninitiated, Comrade Governor is the nick name of the current governor of the state – Mr Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole.
Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole was a labour leader who ran for Governor of in April 2007 on the Action Congress (AC) platform. The election was flawed. Mr. Oserheimen Osunbor of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) was initially declared the winner, but after appeals Oshiomhole assumed office on 12 November 2008.
Oshiomhole was formerly president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and was prominent as a campaigner for good governance and security in Nigeria.
Buddy Connect is the nick name of a very good friend and school mate of this writer, Odenigbo Chidi Anyaeche. Buddy Connect is a prominent medical doctor and entrepreneur originally from Edo state but now based in North Carolina, US in the city nicknamed Queen City. Queen City is also called the The Hornet’s Nest.
Buddy Connect had all his education in Benin City from primary level to university, where he studied medicine at University of Benin, Benin City, before seeking greener pastures in the US via London, UK. Before emigrating, Buddy Connect has never lived in another town but Benin City so you can see that his affinity to the state and town is very deep rooted. Also his surname means “No one individual is greater than the whole Edo’s. Edo being his ethnic group. He is tribally marked. This all goes to show that he is a very true son of the soil. And a loyal one too.
My good friend, Buddy has been so blessed family-wise, professionally and entrepreneurially in the US that is mind boggling. His, is the classical American dream. But not of the rag to riches variety though, for he was solidly middle class and well educated from Nigeria before he settled in the US. But the boy Buddy done well and Africa will be very proud of him.
Surprisingly or as fate may have it, Buddy unlike his people, Bini’s, who follow African Traditional Religion, is a practicing Christian of the Pentecostal faith with very strong belief in the Lord. This may be due to the strong influence of his good wife, Peggy who is not a Bini. But let’s leave this issue for another day. The scriptures in Luke 12:48 tell us that: “…..to whom much is given, much is expected.” Buddy lives up to this scriptural quote literally and physically. He is a very generous giver, sharing his blessings both materially, spiritually and otherwise to all that need and deserve it.
Materially, he has provided employments, scholarships and other goodies to deserving individuals in North Carolina, Edo state and other places. Though no Igbo person or town has benefitted from him. Again let’s leave the issue of Buddy and Igbo’s for another day.
Spiritually, Buddy is pastor and lay reader with his local Pentecostal Church, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Queens City where he regularly preaches the word of God to both the spiritually fulfilled and challenged.
The US government equally benefits from Buddy’s wealth for the IRS has never being after him. He pays his taxes as at and when due.
Besides, his very generous philanthropic nature, Buddy is also a show man par excellence regularly cruising the streets of Queen’s City in his Bentley with a number plate that reflects his love for Edo state. Despite being a Pentecostal, he has great love for alcohol and his regular tipple is Veuve Cliquot.
Now to get the main gist of this article. Buddy’s dream will be to set up a foundation, business and medical practice in Benin City. That will be the pinnacle of his career for like I wrote earlier, he is a true son of the soil. But the spate of armed robberies, murder, kidnappings, dilapidated infrastructure and complete absence of government and governance in Edo state is currently keeping him away from visiting his beloved state and home town let alone coming back to invest. Hence the title of this piece.
My good friend Buddy has already built a nice house in a choice area of Benin City since early 2000’s, furnished to the tilt and with a swimming pool for he is a man of exquisite taste that again Odenigbo puts down to his good lady wife. But since the past five years or thereabouts Buddy has not set foot in Edo state for reasons stated above. Even last December, His elder brother was made the Obasuyi of Benin by the Edo Monarch but Buddy was too scared to attend the ceremony. His palatial home in Benin City is now occupied my rats and lizards with the rats oppressing the lizards. That is how bad things have become in Edo state.
Comrade Governor, there is a heavy intellectual and financial flight from Benin City occasioned by the unacceptable level of insecurity in the state. Kidnapping of the elite ranks very high in the list of factors leading to this flight. With the likes of Buddy shying away from the town, who will support your efforts in building a 21st Century State? Comrade Governor, you are the chief executive and chief security officer of the state so the ball lies in your court to see that Edo state and Benin City are safe. Safe to live in, safe to invest and very safe for Buddy to come back and connect with his buddies.
Comrade Governor, as you campaign for your second term in office, please make security of life and property a cardinal point this time around. You have done remarkably well in the state considering the sorry condition it was in before you ascended into office. The slogan: “Edo state is working! Comrade Governor is working!” Is true to some extent but will be to all extent if you can make state safe for Buddy to come back and invest to the benefit of all.
Finally, Comrade Governor, there are many Fidelis’ out there from Edo state that want to come back and connect with their buddies. Create the enabling environment for them to do so. That is your job, that is your mandate, that is your contract with your people. And that is your duty to God.
The Great Odenigbo has spoken.
Written by Chidi Anyaeche.