It is the political season again, the time when men dream big dreams, political gladiators sharpen their spears, charlatans beat their drums, and falsehood pervades the atmosphere. A time to tear down, destroy, annihilate, and beat opponents to pulp. Just when, with the ubiquity of the Internet, the Democratic space for citizen journalism has been expanded for freedom of expression which is the bedrock of an open society to thrive, self-styled “journalists” like Osaze Jesuorobo, instead of helping to entrench responsible journalism, want to drag everyone with them into the gutter. One thing is certain. Some people are too enlightened, and well bred to be goaded into a gutter fight for the simple reason that there is life after the political season. We all must drink cold Heineken and well peperred pepper soup at mama Osaro’s beer parlor. We will meet at Osaro’s wedding, and the naming ceremony of her son. When mama Osaro passes on, we will all meet again to say goodbye under the same canopy of brotherhood and sisterhood. This is why it is so sad to see some of our writers, having been paid by their pipers, they jettison all pretense of a good upbringing, and great education for pecuniary gains. Osaze Jesuorobo must be advised otherwise.
Here’s the story. First of all, Dan Orbih is a second generation politician having been stewed in the art of politics by his eminent father who was an Iroko in his own rights. Dan Orbih in taking over the mantle, knew from the onset that he had big shoes to fill. He must carry his name with respect and deal only on the basis of merit, and integrity. Everyone who has been privileged to interact with him will come away with no less than I have said. He carries a smile all the time and right behind that smile, without guile, is a proclivity only to doing what is fair and just. In a society that has decayed as much as ours, some people believe that they must still strive to represent that candle on the hill to guide the lone sojourner. This is where Dan Orbih stands and anyone who thinks otherwise must be ready to be debated in the open village square.
In Benin politics as in politics anywhere else for that matter, the expectation is that no one should hug office in perpetuity. In a population of 4.2 million people, surely there are people, many, just as capable or even more capable to fill the position that Senator Uroghide has occupied for two terms. As an elder in Benin politics, he must be advised that ethics and morality must trump legality. While he has the legal right to stand as many times as he wishes for the office of Senator, his ethical barometer must now be his guide. Men of integrity should not need the law to do the right thing. They do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. He can begin the tradition of stepping down after two terms and get the honor for doing so.
Let us be reminded that until it was proposed by President Truman and passed by Congress in 1952, there were no term limits for the presidency under the American Constitution, beginning from George Washington all the way to Herbert Hoover who was defeated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a landslide. FDR, as he was fondly called, broke the tradition by running again and again. He was in his fourth term in office when he died. Truman, his successor promptly moved to put an end to that nonsense by proposing a law on term limits. That is integrity, personified. This is what we expect of the people who lead us. This is what we expect of Senator Uroghide at this time. The old must give way to the new in the same way as his predecessor in office, the most distinguished Senator Ehigie Uzamere stepped down honorably after two terms for Uroghide to step up. Talking of adages, is it not said that “what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander?”
In Ogbeide Ihama, we have a well respected, well educated and thorough bred gentleman, a loyal Party man who has heeded the directives of the Party whenever it was necessary to do so for the good of the Party and for the good of Edo State. Two years ago, when our able governor, His excellency, Godwin Obaseki was being terrorized and hounded out of the APC, Ogbeide Ihama, at the time, a strong contender for the governorship in the PDP was persuaded to make way for Governor Obaseki. He did not complain. He stepped aside as a gentleman should. Integrity clearly is not to be purchased in Agbado market. If you garrit, you garrit. There is no doubt that Ogbeide-Ihama garrit. At the time he stepped aside for Governor Obaseki on a firm handshake, a promise was made to him. A promise is a Cheque. It is time for the Rt. Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide Ihama to cash that Cheque. Is anything wrong with that?
▪︎ Michael Ovienmhada is an Author, Playwright, Poet, and Public Affairs Commentator.