Francis Alimikhena and his eight-year slumber in the Senate, By Victor Oshioke

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Sen. Francis Alimikhena

A few weeks ago, at the onset of this campaign season, the Edo North APC Presidential/Senatorial Campaign Media Team offered a friendly advice to the Alimikhena Campaign Media Team to stay on the issues while marketing their candidate so that we call all work in cordiality and save Edo North electorates any distractions that will hinder their objective assessment of all those who would come to them seeking their votes. We gave that advice because of our in-house decision to be civil and avoid situations that would compel us to be throwing tantrums or insults at our elders because of politics. The guiding principle in the Edo North APC Campaign Council is and will always remain that we were all Afemai people before we became politicians. Therefore, no matter how politics goes, we will continue to remain Afemai people. This is the courtesy that has guided our conduct and media engagements until now. We have enough evidence on ground across Edo North to show the people what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole did when he was in office as governor, and we also have enough evidence of neglect to show in various communities, what Senator Francis Alimikhena could have done which he didn’t do, that Oshiomhole will do, if elected senator. This is how we have campaigned, and we are happy that the people listen to us and enthusiastically accept the message of “Renewed Hope,” which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is passing across the length and breadth of Afemai land.
Unfortunately, it has become obvious to us that either the Alimikhena media team has absolutely nothing to campaign with, or they are simply rattled by the oshioquake phenomenon that has shaken the entire Edo North within the last couple of weeks. Whatever their motivation is, we have noticed that the Alimikhena media team has been using unacceptable adjectives on our principal recently, to an extent where we can no longer continue to ignore them. Specifically, one Benjamin Atu, a certified lowbrow, benighted, wannabe writer, notorious for his thoughtless emission of gibberish and mostly illogical pontifications, is culpable in this regard.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a man at peace with his people. His people know him, and he knows them. He is an Afemai patriot who has a broad mind and is not taken to provincial, pseudo ethnic, and primordial sentiments. Every reasonable person residing in Edo North today knows what Oshiomhole did as governor and irrespective of the party they belong, there is unanimity of opinion that Oshiomhole changed the narrative, opened the gateway for human and infrastructural development in Edo North and raised the bar of performance assessment for not only his successor, but for all subsequent public office holders in the state. Oshiomhole came, and everything changed. As governor, he was not discriminatory in his appointment or allocation of projects across Edo State. That is why support for his Senate ambition is being endorsed by not only politicians from across the political divide, but also from civil servants, captains of industry, religious leaders, artisans, students, market women, farmers and a whole lot of Afemai people in the diaspora. Of course, we do acknowledge the betrayal of those who benefitted from him most that have become bootlickers to Senator Alimikhena. Many of them do confess privately that they know quite well that Francis Alimikhena cannot defeat Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the forthcoming senate elections, but that he has a lot of money which he is willing to spend, so they are only queuing behind him to collect their share of that money. This explains why, in spite of the illegality of his candidacy, and the possibility of not being given the ticket if the Supreme Court judgement is unfavourable, they continue to push him ahead making him believe that somehow, miraculously, he will be declared the rightful candidate. For all they care, the cash flow must continue at all cost.

Apart from his deafening silence in the Red Chambers, the only significant issue that has brought Senator Alimikhena into the consciousness of Edo North people in the last 7 years and 8 months, is his ignominious role in the conspiracy to concede the location of the Federal University of Sports and Health Sciences from Afuze in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State to Nkalagu in Ebonyi State. It is pertinent to note that Prof. Julius Ihonbvere, the honourable member representing Owan Federal Constituency, had already struggled and got the bill to pass the second reading at the House of Representatives. All that remained was the Senate concurrence, which Alimikhena was expected to facilitate, after which the bill would go to the President for signing. Instead of using his influence to support the bill in the senate, it is alleged that Alimikhena worked against it and conspired with his colleague to take the institution to Nkalagu in Ebonyi State. Many prominent Afemai sons and daughters are furious and have publicly denouced Senator Francis Alimikhena for dealing away our Federal University of Sports to a colleague from Ebonyi State Is this the actions of a man who has the interest of Owan people at heart? Let us also recall that a primary election was conducted by the PDP faction loyal to governor Godwin Obaseki, which was won by Mrs
Victoria Edelokun Diejomaoh, an Afemai daughter from Owan West LGA. When Senator Alimikhena contested the APC primary and was defeated by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, he immediately ran to Abuja, where he bribed his way into the party even while he was still technically a member of APC. According to news on the grapevine, he softened the ground with millions of Naira and a special black market primary without delegates, was conducted for him alone, where figures were written declaring him the winner, without an opponent or INEC observers. This is the very ticket that an Owan woman had already won in a primary that was organised by the party. It is on the basis of that laughable kangaroo gathering, where his Afemai sister of Owan extraction was callously robbed, that he is going around Edo North proclaiming himself the senatorial candidate of PDP. Is there a more audacious way to show his hatred for Owan people? Is it not shameful that a man who has served in the military, a honorable institution and calls himself a Christian can be so dishonourable to lay claim to such a fraudulently acquired ticket?. What is Alimikhena looking for again in the Senate that he will deny an Afemai woman a ticket she genuinely won? What has he done in the 7 years and 8 months that he has slumbered there? Which bill has he sponsored that he will be remembered for? Which institution, federal agency, industry, or road has he influenced to be located in any part of Edo North? Jokes apart, did we vote for Alimikhena twice into the Senate so that once in two years he will share 15 motorcycles, 30 generators and 50 pepper grinding machines to each of the 6 LGAs in Edo North? Is that what he is asking us to vote for him to go back to the Senate for?
In 7 years and 8 months, Senator Francis Alimikhena could not provide portable water for his own community of Igiode near Agenedode. It took the intervention of Prince Clem Agba, the Hon. Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, who is a native of Uneme-Uzanu, a neighbouring community, to influence the provision of water for Alimikhena’s village in the national budget. The road to Senator Alimikhena’s Igiode community was influenced by Prince Clem Agba and constructed by the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole administration. So what do Owan people and Akoko-Edo people expect from a man who could not develop his own community and has therefore been rejected by Etsako people for non-performance? As the saying goes, you can not give what you don’t have. Senator Francis Alimikhena has no capacity. Therefore, he cannot give Edo North people the desired representation even if we were to elect him 20 times into the Senate. This is the time to break that cycle of redundancy in the Red Chambers by electing Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who we all know, has the capacity, energy, tact, connections and resourcefulness to bring us maximum benefits from the senate.
No matter what one would say, the fact remains that the Nigerian Senate is populated by many ex governors, ex ministers, professors, and former highly placed individuals in society. There is no doubt that intimidation is common in such a place, and many senators are intimidated to a point that they cannot even speak when other high profile senators are speaking. We need a fearless, articulate, confident person with a tall voice like Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to represent us and we will be rest assured that in every important discussion, we would be proud to hear on each nightly news the opinion of the distinguished Senator from Edo North.

Finally, I wish to set the records straight on one particular issue. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has never been against the empowerment of the less privileged in our society, especially widows, orphans, and people with disabilities. In fact, under his administration as governor, he ensured that such empowerment programmes were carried out annually all across the state. However, he has argued recently, not without genuine reasons, that the occasional, uncoordinated distribution of motorcycles, generators and pepper grinding machines to a few persons nominated by party leaders should not be the basis for seeking political office or counted as achievements to justify re-election for a third tenure as a Senator. So what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is saying in essence is that there is no way sharing of these so-called empowerment can reach every person in our communities. But, there are projects that a senator can execute that will be of benefit to all members of our communities. Oshiomhole has never said that if elected as Senator, he would stop empowerment programmes. I am reiterating this because there is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent Comrade Oshiomhole’s statement on empowerment. Don’t mind them joor, when Oshiomhole is elected into the Senate, empowerment will continue, but better coordinated and handled in such a way that it will reach more people who really need it and not as patronage for those who don’t really need it.

We will continue to focus on the issues unless they provoke us to publish part 2 of Alimikhena’s 8 Years Slumber in the Senate.

● Victor Oshioke is Director, Media & Publicity, Edo North APC Presidential/Senatorial Campaign Council.

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