The premier web site of Edo speaking people.
Nation of people who are mostly located in the Midwestern part of Nigeria, Western Africa.
Towards an Edo Agendum
Professor Omo Omoruyi, mni
Former Director General, Centre for Democratic Studies, Nigeria
Research Fellow, African Studies Center, Boston University Boston;
Part-time Professor, Political Science and African-American Studies,
Northeastern University, Boston.
CEO, Advancing Democracy in Africa (ADA)
Being a Contribution to the London Roundtable on Edo Nation
Held at Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London on November 23, 2002.
AN EDO AGENDA SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF EDOKPAMAKHIN
I am extremely grateful to Dr. Philip Idaewor and his team of dedicated Edo sons and daughters for the opportunity given me to make my contributions to the development of Edo Agenda. This
is an important period in the history of Edo land in particular and of Nigeria in general.
NEED FOR �MADE BY EDOKPAMAKHIN� VISION
The leadership of Edokpamakhin since its inception in the US has not been able to come up with something that could be patented as Edokpamakhin. This Roundtable is coming at an opportune time and I implore all those present at this occasion to
take the search for an Agenda for the Edo very seriously. May I also implore that Edo people need a �Made by Edokpamakhin Vision� for Edo. All political parties should be able to tap on it.
EDOKPAMAKHIN: BE CAREFUL OF THOSE WITH HIDDEN POLITICAL AGENDA
My fear is that those who are initiating the search for an Agenda for the Edo people must settle one issue from the beginning. I am referring to issue of persons and partisan
politics. You can pursue a searching for an Agenda for our people and at the same being saddled with a searching for a role for a national icon in the person of Chief Anthony Enahoro. I say this because Chief Enahoro means many things to many people in Nigeria for over 50 years that may complicate the limited mission of Edokpamakhin.
The limited goal of Edokpamakhin is inconsistent with what one reads about Chief Enahoro who is flirting with the PDP under the name of the PDP-MNR Accord or Understanding. I addressed my misgivings about associating Chief Enahoro with the Edokpamakhin in a memo already sent to the leaders of Edokpamakhin in the US, UK and Austria.
ENAHORO SHOULD MAKE A CHOICE: EDOKPAMAKHIN OR MNR/PDP ACCORD
When the founders of Edokpamakhin in the US told me in the US that what they wanted Chief Enahoro to do was to assume the leadership of Edo in politics, I laughed not because Chief Enahoro was not the competent person to do it. But would he agree to take it? That was my question. I warned the folks in the US that from the time I became conversant with the politics of Nigeria, Chief Enahoro has always shown more interest in national politics than in local politics. I dealt with this in the memo sent to the
leaders of Edokpamakhin in the US, UK and Austria. Chief Enahoro must have his reasons why he does not want to devote his time to cause of Edo nation and lead the Edo people today in search of a future in Nigerian body politic. Certainly he cannot do it through the amorphous organization called the MNR or through the PDP-MNR Accord that is inconsistent with the PDP
Constitution. I provided a detail analysis of the fallacy of the registered party purporting to be in accord or understanding with an amorphous entity is alien to Nigerian politics and antithetical to the limited mission of searching for an Edo Agenda. Chief Enahoro must make the choice between devoting his time to limited
mission of searching for an Agenda for Edo or pursuing the anti-Edo Agenda implicit in the PDP/MNR Accord or understanding. This is a decision that Chief Enahoro would have to take on his own. One does not expect this Roundtable to take it for him.
WE SHOULD LEARN FROM AWOLOWO AND AHMADU BELLO
My counsel would have been for the leadership of Edokpamakhin to take a hard look at the political career of Chief Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello. I read a lot about how
Chief Awolowo formed the Egbe Omo Ododuwa and how that gave rise to the Action Group as the political expression of the Egbe. I read of how the AG consolidated first in Yoruba land before moving to the non-Yoruba area of old Western Region, old Benin and Delta Provinces. In fact, as scholars during this phase of Nigerian
politics pointed out, the AG met for eight times sharpening the Yoruba agenda before deciding to use Chief Bode Thomas to contact his friend, Chief Michael Okorodudu in Warri to initiate the Midwest front. Recently I learnt that the AG was also called the Egbe Afenifere. What I
am trying to say is that there is continuity between the Egbe Omo Ododuwa, the Action Group, the Egbe Afenifere and the Alliance for Democracy. Who would say that the Yoruba do not have a Vision?
Chief Awolowo used his ethnic base as the base for vying to lead the country. One mistake he made was that he never cultivated a harmonious relation with the Yoruba military officers. The memoir of General JJ Oluleye (Military Leadership) confirmed this disharmony between the political class and the military class in Yoruba
land in 1960s. It was one of the lamentations of Chief MKO Abiola that the Yoruba military officers were �toothless bulldog�.
The northern leaders had since 1897 taken the north that they later called the Arewa as their home. The founders of a pan northern association
gave it that term. To them; Arewa is the unit they would have to use as the basis of vying for the national leadership. The Arewa is what they need in their dealing with the rest of Nigeria.
How many of us recalled how Dr. Azikiwe �a floating national leader in Lagos� could not answer the question posed by Chief AMA Akinloye. Chief Akinloye had asked if the
British gave three things to the three majority ethnic nationalities, Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the West and the Igbo in the East, what would they tell the Yoruba people that their share was given to the Igbo man in the person of Dr. Azikiwe? This was when Dr. Azikiwe was trying to woo him to vote for him to be the Leader of Government Business in the Western Region. When
Chief Akinloye with others could not get an answer to the knotty question he voted for Chief Awolowo.
This was why Dr, Azikiwe went back to Onitsha to reclaim the Igbo share. He had to realize the stark reality of Nigerian politics based on �tribes�
before he decided to move from the West to Onitsha to commence his political career. We should put our homes in order. I recall that this was what those of us who saw Chief Enahoro off in 2000 at Detroit thought he would do since then.
Fellow delegates to this Roundtable, today, this is what Chief Enahoro should be doing in the interest of Edo. Chief Enahoro has been avoiding the task of putting his
home in order. Chief Enahoro should be told by this Roundtable that he would have to put his home in order as a condition for leading the country that he rightly deserves. Is it late? I do not think so.
It is my plea that we should resolve at this Roundtable meeting to plead with him to make himself available to the Edo people. My fear is that knowing the political
dynamics in Nigeria as I know it we should not be surprised that if a National Conference is convened today through the democratic process Chief Enahoro might not even be there, as only those with grassroots organization would be elected. MNR is not. In fact, the MNR is made up what colonial regimes called the �the floating national leaders� with no counterpart at the
ward level in the country. I will come back to this when talking about how Edo can produce the President of Nigeria in future. How can one aspire to lead the country when the local is not in tune with such aspiration? Have we prepared our people to feel that they have been deprived of something?
Have they been told or are they convinced that their deprivation is the position of the President? The Yoruba leaders did so since 1959 and the Igbo leaders have been talking about that in the name of the buzz word called �marginalization�.
I am sure that Chief Enahoro knows as a seasoned politician of the relationship between the local and the national. I am sure Chief Enahoro knows what it
takes to aspire to lead that country through the ballot box. One is local support and the other is money.
On local support, I still believe in the dictum of the Boston Congressman and the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Thomas �Tip� O�Neil who gave the US the
popular saying that �all politics are local�.
On issue of money, no one has the resources in Edoland today to float a national organization that would back him for the Presidency in Nigeria. Merely putting together a
memorandum and submitting it to the Chairman of the INEC does not create a political party. Founding a political party is what Dr. Sam Ogbemudia and Chef Enahoro should have been doing instead of misleading their followers that they would be able to take them to some promised land through resolutions, communiqu�s and press conferences.
Maybe the drawback from the two above is why Chief Enahoro is fighting for a return to the Westminster System. But here again the Westminster System is against the Edo national interest
in particular and of the interest of the minority nationalities in the north and in the south in general. With the greatest respect, Chief Enahoro did not seem to acknowledge the contributions of the leaders of the minorities that included Professor Ambrose Alli and Omo Omoruyi of Bendel (now of Edo) State in the Constituent Assembly to the Presidential System and the Geographical Spread.
Professor Alli is no more; I want to defend what he and I did together in the Edo national interest. I shall present an essay later on this subject for the interest of our people.
CHANGE OF AGENDA FOCUS FROM LANGUAGE TO VISION
I never harbored any doubt that the original focus of the Edokpamakhin of just language would crumble and it did. I was elated one day when Drs. Asemota and Obaseki maybe because I was
always talking about the need for an Edo Agenda approached me in 1999 to come up with one. My initial feeling was that they wanted to make me do it partly because I was always talking about that subject and partly because they wanted to make me keep quiet. I thought it was the former.
Dr. Obaseki would recall that whenever he raised that matter with me in person or on telephone, I usually asked, �Who am I going to write for?� I never got a reply to the
The Edo State Governor was gracious enough to ask his former Secretary to the State Government to interact with me in 1999 on the same subject.
The Governor of Delta State also called me one day and asked me to show interest in the plight of the old Bendel State now operating from two States. Of all the Governors of the South-South, he is the most passionate advocate of what is now called
�Resource Control�, that to me means the age-old principle of �local control over local resources� that is practiced in all federal systems except in Nigeria since 1966.
The question I asked myself was whether all these elected public officials were asking me individually to do the same thing.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE (OIL) TO GET WHAT YOU DO NOT HAVE
Then one day I saw a question �Who Owns Oil?� posed on the Web by Dr. Osemetiti Okosun, one of the foremost Edo advocates of Edo position in various spheres of life. I then
innocuously sent her an email, if she would want me to respond to that question for purpose of discussion by the Edo people. This was the basis of my essay, Politics of Oil? That was well publicized in Nigeria. Incidentally this was the title of the Presidential Address I
delivered at the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association at Port Harcourt in 1980. In its original form, see The Guardian Wednesday January 24, 2001. You can still access this essay from the various WWW such as Nigeriaworld.com and Nigerdeltaongress.com.
I also discovered that at that time the Governors of the Six South-South States were starting to talk about the same issue. The Governors of Edo and Delta States independently
asked me to make suggestions as to what could be done politically. This was how I originated the second and third papers to constitute the trilogy on the Politics of Oil.
I then forwarded the three essays to the Governors and the political leaders of the Six South-South States with a plea that they should consider the papers for action.
The titles of the three essays are:
(a) The Politics of Oil: Who Owns Oil, Nigeria, States or Communities?
(b) A New Vision for South-South in Nigeria: Power Equivalence; Oil
Power, Military Power and Presidential Power.
(c) South-South Agenda of Liberation in Nigeria: What is to be
The essays are now made available for the participants of this Roundtable to consider. I am glad that the third part, which really is the action
program for the South-South, is still conspicuously advertised as �Agenda of Liberation� on the top left hand section as soon as you get the Nigerdeltacongress.com. You can also get the three papers from the archive of the
www.nigeriaworld.com. Try it today. This is the first issue that we should discuss as the basis of having a pan-South-South issue that would be used to win more friends. The third in the trilogy is a cookbook for the political class of Edo State and of the South-South.
Fellow delegates to the Roundtable, this paper is submitted for your consideration. I hope we would consider the content as my contribution to the search for an Edo Agenda.
FUTURE OF EDO IN NIGERIAN BODY POLITIC
I was particularly thrilled when I was invited by the organizers of the Edo National Convention to be the Keynoter for the 2002 National Convention at San Francisco. I used the opportunity to bare my mind on many issues on the vexed topic, �The Future of Edos in Nigerian Body Politic�.
I am submitting a copy to this Roundtable as part of my contribution to the search for an agenda for Edo. The paper can also be accessed from the Nigeriaworld.com, the gamji.com
and the Nigerdeltacongress.com. Please study it when you leave here and I will be most delighted to engage our people on the issues raised in the paper. I did not shy away from contentious issues. My view is that we should confront them if we are to evolve an agenda for
the Edo Nation in Nigeria.
PRELIMINARY ISSUES IN SETTING AN AGENDA FOR EDO NATION
In my view, the search for an agenda for a people must first of all start with the people themselves. This has to do with the identity questions such as:
1. Who are we, i.e. what do we call ourselves within the Edo family? Bini, Ishan, Etsako, Owan, Akoko-Edo or Bini-Edo,
Ishan-Edo, Etsako-Edo, Owan-Edo and Akoko-Edo?
2. What do other people (who are not Edos) think we are?
3. What is the secured border of Edo State?
I dealt with these issues in the San Francisco Address.
COMMITMENT TO EDO STATE AS IMMUTABLE
We cannot talk about an Edo agenda when at any opportunity some of our leaders want to dismember the Edo State. We should resolve here and now that Edo State has come to stay and we will do nothing to undermine its integrity. We should guard and guide the integrity of Edo State at all times.
DEFEND THE PEOPLE AND HISTORY OF EDO
This was what I did when I tried to correct President Obasanjo in the essay:
�Obasanjo�s Contempt for Midwest: A reminder of Alake�s in 1952� I also took issue with his Minister of Justice in another essay:
�Nigeria had Four Regions: MIDWESY as Fourth�.
I also frowned at the distortion of the history of Nigeria in the essay:
�Who created Nigeria: God or the British�?
These papers are available in the www. Print them out and study them. My view is that this is the way to sensitize our people as to how to defend our history. These papers are also my contribution to the search for an agenda for the Edo. We should study them.
MIDWEST OR BENDEL IS DEAD: OUR AGENDA IS NOT TO RESSURECT IT
My view is that we should deal with the unity of the Edo before we try to link Edo State and people with others. With the creation
of Edo and Delta States from the former Bendel State, we should not try to reinvent the old Bendel State as the basis of working within the South-South. This is where I disagree with Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia who is afflicted with what I call the �illusion of past glory� from being the longest ruler of the old Midwestern Region or the �two-time ruler of Midwest and Bendel�.
He forgot that the first was as the Military Governor that did not have democratic legacy. The second time was just under three months when he was just trying to set a basis of democratic governance when the military terminated it in December 1983.
What Dr. Ogbemudia should appreciate is that he was alien to the politics of State creation in 1963, 1976, 1991
and 1998. I can understand how Dr. Ogbemudia feels having achieved so many feats in his time as the military ruler of the old Midwestern Region. Has he forgotten that he was a military governor? I am not too sure of what he knew about the politics of State creation in 1950�s. Certainly the Politics of State creation after 1975 under the Irikefe Commission was about his administration that the Urhobos and the Igbo in the old Midwest thought was unjust to them. Justice Irikefe saw through the various memoranda and did not see any merit in them to warrant the dismemberment of the old Midwest. The present
BDCC members are saying that Irikefe was right after all. Dr. Ogbemudia maybe is forgetting that the politics of state creation in 1976 was centered on the dismantling of what he built up and they succeeded. I wish I could sit down with him as we used to do in the past and reason with him on the illogicality in the BDCC Plan.
DR. OGBEMUDIA SHOULD START WITH AN EDO NATION
Dr. Ogbemudia is a reasonable person. I am sure if he were conversant with the �Politics of State Creation� in 1976, in 1991 and 1998, he would agree with me that we should start with putting our home (EDO) in order before trying to put together what to me is a� broken mirror� called the old Bendel State. He and his members of the Bendel Consultative Committee should have reacted to the two unguarded statements attributed to the President and his Minister of Justice eulogizing the three geo-political regions in the past
based on the tripod. Dr. Ogbemudia should have corrected the President and his Minister for unjustly ignoring the Fourth Region, the Midwestern Region and other ethnic nationalities outside the three majority ethnic nationalities. Was it the policy of the PDP to focus on the tripod and ignore the ethnic nationalities outside the tripod?
I get emotional when ever the issue of State creation is raised by those who mismanaged the issue in the past. This should be understandable because, I was too involved in the
�Politics of State Creation� that brought about the Edo and Delta States in 1991 to jump into another exercise of trying to �reinvent� another Bendel State or the old Midwest. This is not the setting for me to review the various cases made for the creation of Anioma, Afesan and Delta and Eduwa states from the old Bendel
State in 1991. This is an aspect of my memoir that is forthcoming.
UNITY OF EDO PEOPLE BASIC TO EDO AGENDA
One would assume that those who called this London Roundtable and those who are attending the Roundtable as participants are committed to the unity of Edo state. This is what an Edo
Agenda should be aimed at. The unity of Edo Nation should be the irreducible minimum for all Edo leaders whether in the south, north or center.
The promotion of Edo Agenda should be based on the unity of the people of Edo State; this has been my preoccupation in public life. This was the basis for responding to the call to
this meeting in the US. This was the basis for my holding meetings with my brothers and sisters at Vienna. Anything short of this would make us the �People without Vision� and from the Scripture, we know what happens to the �People without Vision�. For goodness sake, we do not want Edo people to perish in
Nigeria. What are we doing to prevent this?
WHO DO WE WORK WITH?
For those who are asking me, when an Edo person will ever become the President of Nigeria, maybe I should start with some clarifications.
First, I�d want to refer them to some unwritten rules about who would become the President of Nigeria either by coup or by election. From
the real reasons for the annulment of the June 12 and the decision of some northern military officers to hijack the transition program and produce Chief Obasanjo as the successor of the military junta it should be obvious that the qualifications for who should be the President of Nigeria should have been discussed and resolved. We should still demand for this.
Second is our capacity or lack of it to build a national coalition. This has nothing to do with size of the population of the Edo
people. It has to do with whether Edo people are blessed with visionary leadership. This was why I advocated in the San Francisco paper the notion of the �Modern Fulani� in Nigeria a small group. Can the Edo political leaders adopt the strategy of the �Modern Fulani�? Can
the Edo political leaders adopt their strategy of survival in Nigeria as the goal of the Edos in Nigeria another small group with a lot of history? It would appear that we are running away from our common root.
Three our political leaders should not bring any national political leader to our people to be supported for a national office unless such is within the Agenda of the Edo land. The way the Edo political leaders
like the leaders in the South-South rallied round Chief Obasanjo without relating such to what the Edo land would gain from such support should be stopped. As the country moves to 2003, we are still to be told of the Agenda of Edo within which the Edo people would be invited to throw support behind one candidate or the other.
Four an Edo person in public office should support democratic life.
Five, an Edo person should be trusted. This is the basis of survival of the small group like the Edo in Nigeria.
EDO PRESIDENT AS AN EDO AGENDA
On the issue of the President from Edo land, we should consider the issue of equivalence in the second essay in the Politics of Oil between Oil Power, Military Power and Presidential Power. Since Military Power and Presidential Power is contingent on Oil Power, those who own oil should use oil as the bargaining issue. The women of the Niger-Delta are in the forefront of this already. Can we recollect what Comrade Ovie-Kokori did under General Abacha? This is why the South-South including the Edo State should resolve the
ownership question of oil.
EDO SHOULD REVISIT HER HISTORY AND RECOGNIZE PAST LEADERS
Talking of history, no group can talk about an agenda when its folk hero is also disputed. The history of the creation of Midwestern Region as the Fourth Region in 1963 cannot be written without the dominant position of Oba Akenzua 11 dating back to the early 1950s.
Oba Akenzua II�s definition of who is an Edo person is something that should be taught to all those who at present occupy the Edo State and beyond.
This you can find in my Address to the Edo National Convention in August 2002. I want us to review it and adopt it for discussion. Quite frankly I am uncomfortable with the term Benin which has no meaning in different homes in Edo South. No one says �Irie Benin� in various
homes in Edo South when we want to say �Irie Edo�. But when we are speaking English we say, �I am going to Benin�, which has the same meaning as �Irie Edo�. The conceptual problems with Edo and Benin and other derivatives are discussed in the San Francisco paper. I want this Roundtable to discuss it
and consider the advisability of adopting hyphenated terms such as Bini-Edo, Ishan-Edo, Etsako-Edo, Owan-Edo and Akoko-Edo as a way of recognizing the diversity within the Edo land to the public.
Most critically to the politics of realignment today, Oba Akenzua would frown at any premature entanglement with others before consolidating at home. Oba Akenzua did not like the hyphenated Otu-Edo NCNC as a substitute to the Benin-Delta Peoples Party that he initiated in 1953. Incidentally Chief H. Omo-Osagie later appreciated the wisdom of Oba Akenzua�s advice after the creation of the Midwestern Region. I had difficulty convincing the former Otu-Edo leaders to work with the NPP in 1978/79 because of their experience in the alliance with the Igbo-led NCNC in the first three years of the Midwestern Region. Needless
to say that they all went to the UPN led by Chief Awolowo.
Just as Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello told Apostle John Edokpolor to found a Midwest Peoples Congress in the tradition of the Northern Peoples Congress, one would NOT have been surprised if Chief H. Omo-Osagie and his political son, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh would NOT have sought a new form of linkage to another
party, the NPC in 1967. They hated what was called the �NCNC pure�; they were lukewarm to the idea of the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) put together by the �NCNC pure� with the Action Group in opposition to the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA).
Every zone should have its folk hero. In what we call the Edo South Senatorial District, we cannot forget the role of Chief H. Omo-Osagie.
We should not forget such unsung hero as Apostle John Edokpolor the leader of Midwest Peoples Congress who had more influence on the northern leaders during the period leading to the creation of the Midwestern Region
than the NCNC leaders.
We should not also forget that Chief Awolowo wrote from the Broad Street Prison asking his supporters in the Benin and Delta Provinces to vote �Yes� for the creation of Midwestern Region.
We should not forget the role of Chief Anthony Enahoro in the �Self-Government� motion on March 31, 1953. I am aware that there has been some attempt recently to
rewrite the Nigerian political history. The unique place of this episode leading to the lamentation of the northern leader about the �mistake of 1914� ought to have taught Chief Richard Akinjide not to mistake the landmark motion of Chief Enahoro with the routine motion of Chief SL Akintola. I still recall the B. Sc. Part 1 examination (Political Science) at the
University of Ibadan in June 1963. Could this British Professor be wrong who asked us to discuss the political significance of the March 31, 1953 Motion?
We should read the account of General David Ejoor in his memoir, Reminiscences on how he directed Chief Anthony Enahoro leading the Midwest delegation to the first �National
Conference� in Nigerian history in 1966 to have a �Midwestern Agenda� that supported a one Nigeria based on federal System.
The tragedy of the old Midwest or Bendel is that its military officers from the area like the Yoruba military officers and unlike the northern military officers did everything to destroy the civilian political leaders. Whether this was by design or by accident, they are the one who should look back and tell us in their own words why they acted the way they did. Only Lt. Col. Paul Ogbebor can claim to be a patriot at critical time in the political history of Edo South.
It is my view that Brigadier-General Sam Ogbemudia should have with a sense of history and justice treated Chief H. Omo-Osagie
humanely. Chief H. Omo-Osagie was the visionary leader that Edo South and in fact Edo peoples ever had. Did Dr. Ogbemudia have the opportunity to take a second look at this period during his second coming in 1983? He did have the opportunity and that would have been within the first month in 1983 after his inauguration. Why he did not do it should be part of the plan he has to develop an Edo Agenda. I am yet to read of a categorical statement by Dr. Ogbemudia on this phase of Edo politics even when he is planning to reinvent the old Midwestern Region.
For this, Chief John Odigie Oyegun�s reign should not be forgotten for releasing the property of Chief H. Omo-Osagie that was unjustly confiscated in 1966 to his family.
How I wished Chief H. Omo-Osagie and I had completed our discussion of his political life that we commenced before he died. I was keen
to understand a period in Edo politics from 1950 to 1963.
How I wished I was able to complete a fitting immortalization of this gracious human being. What I had in mind during my period as the Director General, Centre
for Democratic Studies (CDS) was to recommend to President Ibrahim Badanasi Babangida to name the Zonal Office of CDS in Benin after Chief H. Omo Osagie and the Conference Centre after Chief Anthony Enahoro. The CDS did the same in Kano and Gboko for Mallam Aminu Kano and Chief JS Tarka respectively.
George Orwell�s dictum is true today as it was true many years ago that people who do not know their history somebody would write it for them. I challenge the Edokpamakhin to write the history of our leaders.
OUR EDO MILITARY OFFICERS DESTROYED OUR POLITICAL LEADERS
It is a sad testimony to our military officers that but for Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, who paid
ransom to the military junta for Professor Alli�s release, he Professor Alli would have been allowed to die in prison by the Edo Military officers. How I wish they knew the contributions of my good friend and colleague in the development of the 1979 Constitution. How I wish they appreciated Professor Alii�s contribution of all those had ever led the Bendel State to the
development of federalism in Nigeria. Professor Alli�s erudite defense of state rights in matters of finance and resources was discussed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in his memoir, Beckoned To Serve.
When I saw him in his residence at Ekpoma after his release, I wept for those who wore military uniform from Edo State. Chief Lucky Igbinedion should be commended for immortalizing Professor Ambrose F. Alli by naming the Edo State University that he founded after him. That is the minimum that could be done for this great son of Edo land. That Edo people remain progressive and be able to defend what we stand for would be a befitting immortalization
of Professor Alli.
It is also a tragedy that the military officers from the area did little to create any sense of unity in the Region or State before the creation of the two States of Edo and Delta. As
for the Edo State, none of the retired military officers can say that he worked to create a sense of unity in Edo State.
Beside Dr. Sam Ogbemudia who was very instrumental to my flying to the UK after being shot by �unknown assassins� and who later flew to London to see me after two surgical operations in London, I never got a phone call from any
Edo serving or retired military officers. They did not show interest in what I was doing to make Nigeria live under democracy. Maybe they thought I was putting them out of business. I wonder what they are talking about today as they come out to talk of the old Midwestern Region or the old Bendel State. Did they ever defend it?
While Dr. Ogbemudia did his best to lay physical infrastructure for the old Midwestern Region, he failed to create human beings who would carry his physical development forward.
The conclusion to this presentation is a plea with the organizers of this Roundtable to examine the issues in the accompanying essays, especially on the �Agenda of Liberation�. I wish the Roundtable would adopt the Agenda of Liberation as the Edo Agenda of Liberation. The Agenda makes oil a Political Resource that can be used to liberate the Edo State and the South-South from the internal colonial order the people found themselves since 1966.
I wish the Roundtable would adopt the modality for developing a Vision for the Edo people in the politics of Nigeria�s poly-ethnic society contained in the essay on �The Future of Edos in
Nigerian Body Politic�.
We should use what we have to demand for what we do not have. It is not just oil. We are blessed with the people. We have not reaped the benefit of these two resources, natural and human.
It was not oil that made Chief Enahoro to lead in the war of unity in the 1960�s at the risk of his life in and out of Nigeria.
Modesty side, it was not oil that made me to deliver a democratically elected President in June 1993 and defend it to the end at the risk of my life.
We should defend our home and be home to all our people. We should have a sense of history. We should have our place in Nigeria. We should be the trailblazer for the Edo nation in Nigeria. Above all, we should be play politics without bitterness. We must be home to all politicians.
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