The premier web site of Edo speaking people.
Nation of people who are mostly located in the Midwestern part of Nigeria, Western Africa.
THE NEED FOR A POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PRESSURE GROUP
A PAPER PRESENTED BY DR SAMSON OBASUYI,
ON BEHALF OF EDO OKPAMAKHIN AUSTRIAN BRANCH AT THE 2006 SYMPOSIUM OF EDO OKPAMAKHIN HELD AT THE NTA HALL BENIN CITY FROM 21ST-22ND APRIL 2006
His Excellency, Governor of Edo State, Royal Highnesses, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I stand here today representing Edo Okpamakhin Austrian branch to present our humble contribution to this symposium. The topic of our focus is, �The Need for a Political and Economic Pressure Group�. To effectively discuss this topic, I will attempt to first and foremost, look at the role of a Pressure Group in its broader ramifications, and finally narrow it down to the specifics of Edo Okpamakhin as a pressure group in the context of the Nigerian milieu.
In its simplest definition, a pressure group is an organized group that does not seek political power per se, but rather seek to influence government policies and affect the decisions of those in power. Going by this broad definition, pressure groups which are a necessary consequence of a free democratic society, improve the quality of government. They make government more efficient by enhancing the quality of decision making process. The information and advice provided by them help to improve government policy and legislation. Also, pressure groups increase social cohesion and political stability by providing a �safety valve� outlet for individual and collective grievances and demands. Research has identified three ways by which freely operating pressure groups are essential to the effective functioning of a democracy.
a) They act as intermediary between government and society.
b) They assist in the equitable distribution of political power
c) They act as a force to counter balance the concentration of power.
It is necessary to mention at this point that there exist a gulf of difference among pressure groups, in terms of their orientation, membership, purpose and life span. For the purpose of this occasion I beg to restrict myself to what is often referred to as CAUSE Pressure group. Cause pressure group as the name implies aim to promote a cause. Because this cause might potentially be supported by everybody regardless of their profession or economic status, membership is not usually restricted. Cause groups can be sub divided according to the aims they pursue. Sectional cause groups aim to protect the interest of a section of society while attitude cause groups aim to change people�s attitude about a particular issue or policy.
In his book �Pressure Groups, Politics and Democracy in Britain� Wyn Grant a political scientist further established a classification of pressure groups based on their status rather than their aims. He called them Insider and Outsider groups.
Insider pressure groups have strong links with decision makers and are regularly consulted. Insider pressure groups are the groups that the government considers to be legitimate and are, therefore, given access to decision makers. For example, insider groups might be included in regular meetings or briefings by top civil servants and they might be included on lists for circulation of new government proposals. The fact that insider groups are part of the consultation process enables them to use direct methods in order to exert influence. Insider groups tend to be very powerful and long-term in terms of political influence. .
Insider pressure groups are similar in one respect. Generally, they abide by the �rules of the game�. For example, they tend to respect confidences and not to make public attacks on government officials.
Outsider pressure groups have none of the advantages of insider groups. They cannot expect to be consulted during the policy-making process, nor can they expect to gain access to commissioners and top civil servants. Rather, they have to work outside the governmental decision making process and, therefore, have fewer opportunities to determine the direction of policy.
Outsider groups adopt different strategies and can be further subdivided in to two categories. The first are outsider groups aiming for insider status. They do this by waiting for a different political climate, such as a change in government. If such a change materialises, they might immediately gain insider status. Outsider groups hoping for a change in political climate often work closely with the opposition in Parliament and, generally, their strategy is to abide by the �rules of the game�. Alternatively, groups seeking insider status may be new groups with little experience, resources and expertise. Decision makers might support their aims but do not consult them because they are thought to have little to offer. In addition there is a category of outsider groups that do not aim for insider status because they are ideologically opposed to the political system. By definition, such groups have no interest in gaining access to governmental decision makers.
Having taken the pain to explain the different types of pressure groups the question that obviously arises is where Edo Okpamakhin stands. Edo Opkamakhin by nomenclature and purpose is the most viable platform of unity, which sets the agenda for the emancipation of the entire people of the Edo nation through economic and political empowerment. Our unity more than anything else cannot be compromised if seriously, we intend to forge ahead as a people. That platform of unity is represented by Edo Okpamakhin. It is irrelevant if one is Esan, Afemai, Bini or Igbanke. What is paramount is that as Edos, we have come together to chart a common course that will set us aside as a people within the context of the Nigerian nation state, who know where they are from and know how to reach where they are going.
Our achievements as a people through the era of Mid Western state, Bendel state and now Edo state in the Nigerian nation have been made possible by the struggle of a few illustrious sons who fought against all odds to perpetuate our identity and demand a fair share of our due from a national government where our interest as a people has never been regarded as worthy of just and liberal consideration. It is important to mention that without the combined efforts of people like the Oba Akenzua 11, Chief H. Omo-Osagie, Jereton Mariere, James Otobo, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, Prof. Ambrose Ali, Anthony Enahoro, Prof. Omo Omoruyi and few others, there was never a conscious attempt to meet our demands as was done to other regions. By implication, the honorable personalities mentioned above constituted themselves individually and collectively into pressure groups that has bequeathed on us today an identity which Edo Okpamakhin is calling on all Edo sons and daughters to protect.
Let us at this point, impose on those people who would want to work against the unity of our people the kind of scantion imposed on those who would vote no in 1963 during the struggle for the creation of Midwestern region by Omo N� Oba Akenzua II at Agbor on the 12th of march 1963. I shall put it in this form: Who ever does not want the unity of our people will be condemned by the future generations. Even those who die while working against the unity will be the condemned in the other world; if they die with the bad intention of working against or persuading people to work against the unity and solidarity of Edo nation.
Edo Opkamakhin is a willing partner in progress with the government of this state. No government that truly represent the interest of the Edo people and honestly seek the equitable development of the Edo nation will refuse to accept the hand of fellowship being offered by Edo Okpamakhin.
Edo Okpamakhin actually makes the act of governance lighter in the sense that it presents government with ideas on workable projects that have been tested elsewhere, and seen to be effective. Also, it is a voice that can speak on controversial national issues that bothers on the interest of our people without the risk of been seen as representing the official position of the state government. Furthermore, it presents a credible pool of Edo indigenes in the Diaspora who are experts in various fields of human endeavors from which the government can readily tap for world class manpower.
Finally, in the Nigerian political climate of today, events in the Niger Delta and elsewhere emphasize the urgent need to give official recognition to main stream pressure groups that operate within the context of the rule of law. In this regard I must say we are far behind other ethnic groups in Nigeria, although better late than never. The Yorubas have Afenifere, the Ibos Ohanaze N digbo and the Hausas Arewa Consultative Forum. This is because the reasonable agitations of our people need a credible forum for articulation, analysis and presentation to both state and federal governments. For us the Edos, Edo Okpamakhin represents that forum. The alternative is the existence of a dangerous vacuum which could readily be seized upon by advocates of less noble causes and used as a platform for militant agitation. There is a Biblical injunction that says �A people without Vision perish�. I am sure it the wish and prayer of every Edo person that the Edo nation would not and should not be allowed to perish. If we do not want to perish, then we as a nation need to have vision and this could be realized through Edo Okpamakhin.
Long live Edokpamakhin!
Long live Edo State!!
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
Thank you and God bless.
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