April 17, 2024

Ize-Iyamu

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By Monday Nabulele

Chris is from Orhionmwon, has been serving Obaseki-led government in the past six years or so, and there is no road to his village. Ize-Iyamu is right, Orhionmwon Local Government Area is neglected! Writes Monday Enabulele!

I have read the letter to Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare.

For the benefit of those who have not seen the letter, Chris sets out from the first paragraph to distract attention from Ize-Iyamu’s interview on Arise TV – where he made robust and persuasive argument about how Orhionmwon Local Government has been abandoned and marginalized by the political elite, especially Governor Godwin Obaseki, over the years, and the urgent need for the people to begin to address them.

Read Also: Gov Obaseki’s Scorecard: Edo People Feel Failed By The Healthcare System

In his letter, Chris, rather than address the issues raised by Pastor Ize-Iyamu, resorted to attacking his person.

And argued how Obaseki had barely served for eight years, brought so much development and impactful project to Orhionmwon Local Government.

According to him, the local government is currently benefitting from Obaseki-led government – with several projects improving the lives of thousands of residents in the LGA.

In an attempt to sell deceits to his target audience, he employed common fallacies: ‘’Ad Hominem’’ – an attack on the person (this time around, Ize-Iyamu), rather than on the issues he raised on Arise TV.

Chris’ assumption may be that if Ize-Iyamu proves to be unacceptable in some way his views must also be judged unacceptable.

Another strategy employed by Chris in his letter is what communication minds consider as ‘’Straw Man Fallacy’’ – a diversionary tactic.

However, Chris failed woefully in his strategy – he falls flat in an attempt to divert attention from the issues raised by Ize-Iyamu and score obstructive political point.

In a polluted political environment, in which Chris and his boss are experts, there are some certainties that are so apparent, which for some very selfish reasons, those currently working for Governor Obaseki may not accept.

Chris is from Orhionmwon, and has been serving Obaseki-led government in the past six years or so, and there is no road to his village.

He should be ashamed he is being used to disparage the agitation and grass root mobilization by the people of Orhionmwon to produce the next governor of Edo State

Ize-Iyamu said everything that the people of Edo State are aware of in his interview: that Orhionmwon has not produced a governor, senator, minister, speaker or chairman of party in the state.

But, Chris’ argument was that the local government has produced a minister, in the person of Chris Ogiemwonyi, who was made a minister of state and kicked out hastily after a short stay – despite his impressive credentials.

Ize-Iyamu also argued during his interview that Orhionmwon had no light or water. Is Chris in doubt?

He, nonetheless, agreed that the local government has the largest land mass in the state – as Ize-Iyamu rightly stated. But have the people benefited from it?

It is on record that Governor Obaseki without consulting with the people of Orhionmwon or paying any compensation, seized their land and gave it to friends and business associates.

How has Orhionmwon benefited from this? Chris also brazenly agreed that Orhionmwon has the largest gas reserve in Nigeria.

But, what is the local government’s benefit? Has Obaseki-led government, which Chris currently serves, protected or stimulated the economic rights of the host communities?

The commissioner talked about modular refineries; but the refineries are the initiatives of the federal government, and not Obaseki.

As a matter of fact, the All Progressives Congress-led federal government – through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDBD), has a huge investment stake in one of the refineries, Durport Refinery.

Chris ought to know that the refineries presence in Orhionmwon is no favour to the people, but borne out of the fact that the gas deposit is there.

The critical question is: what has Orhionmwon people benefited? They don’t have light, no water, no hospital, no job and other basic amenities.

Yes, Ize-Iyamu was Chief of staff and later Secretary to the Edo State government at a time; but those appointment do not make him Executive Governor or chief executive of the state.

In any case, those positions were given to him when he was representing Oredo Local Government in politics until the people of Orhionmwon persuaded him to relocate to his ancestral home in Orhionmwon. 

And it is to his credit that he fought for Orhionmwon to have a deputy governor, when he nominated Pius Odubu as deputy to former Governor Adams Oshiomhole. But then, that office can still not be equated to the office of a governor.

Against the very feeble claim by Chris in his letter, Orhionmwon producing members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is also not a favour – since the membership of the commission is statutory, it is derived from Orhionmwon’s status as a frontline oil and gas producing local government. 

And it is disappointing to note that the huge opportunity that Orhionmwon had to produce for the first time a chairman of NDDC, was aborted by Governor Obaseki-led government – the government that Chris currently serves.

Can Chris tell the people of Orhionmwon what he has attracted to the local government or village – as an indigene since he became commissioner?

Chris should know that the issues raised by Ize-Iyamu during his interview are about the total neglect and marginalization of Orhionmwon by all successive governments, especially Governor Obaseki, and the urgent need by the people to rally round him in the coming election – as part of the efforts to right the wrong.

Again, the issue is also about exploitation of the local government – where the huge resources from Orhionmwon have been diverted for the past seven years to the detriment of the people. So, whatever political point that Chris wanted to score in his letter, he falls flat.

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