The premier web site of Edo speaking people.
Nation of people who are mostly located in the Midwestern part of Nigeria, Western Africa.
EDO POLITICAL AGENDA
Honorable Chief Femi Okun
Being addressed delivered at the 2006 Edo Okpamakhin Symposium, held at NTA Centre on April 22nd, 2006, with the Theme �Honor Our Past, Challenge the Future�
I congratulate the organizers of this conference for deeming it necessary at this point in time to hold this which is aimed at charting the future of the Edo people with the current political alignments and realignments. This conference is in no doubt in line with the formative principles of Edo Okpamakhin. The name itself is a reminder that we Edos are one people and should resist the temptation to be split into various camps. This will weaken the position of the Edos as they bargain for stakes in the political and economic evolution of the Nigerian State. Looking back at our political history, there have been few times in which the various groups in Edo State have been able to strike a common chord or present a front. We recall with nostalgia the struggle for the creation of the Midwest Region in which there was a high degree or consensus that we needed a federal Unit that we could call our own and in which we would not be subjected to any hegemonic influence. The struggle was resoundingly successful even though it was conducted in a much larger area, which included the present Delta State. The lesson to be learned from this mark event is that we are likely to be able to achieve a high degree of cohesiveness when we define ourselves as a common entity that must strive for its identity and relevance within the context of the Nigeria Federation. The implication is that when we easily align ourselves to controlling centre outside our God given environment, we are likely to be manipulated by external forces to work against our own interests. With that brief preamble, can we say that the political equation in Edo state today is in favor of the interest and well-being of our people?
Are we not having agenda too many within this small territory of Edo State? Have we sat down to define our interest in the unfolding political interest before negotiating away the destiny of our people? In this paper I will attempt to spell out the inalienable interests that should guide us in the formation of an Edo Political Agenda which is the basis for our dealings with existing political expressions.
First, we must be guaranteed the preservation and substance of our cultural identity. So soon we seem to have forgotten that it was a search for a Region in which we could freely develop our cultural uniqueness that motivated the struggle for the Midwest Region. As one of the units of the Federation, we must continue to demand that cultural essence be respected. The implication of this is that a party which has cultural diversity or multiculturalism as one of its driving objectives is the one the Edo people should identify with.
Second, it is the economic imperative. So many Parties that are currently visible in the National scene are actually thinly disguised hegemonic agencies. Nigeria has always had a problem of developing a Party which is truly national and is not an instrument of one ethnic group or the other to Lord it over the rest. I do not want to mention the name of any Political Party, but we should read with open eyes. We did not fight ethnic expansionism in 1964 only to bring it back in 2007. Therefore, a party that is absolutely formed in the National interest and that is determined to use the minds and muscles of individuals or groups from all parts of the country in order to realize the Nigeria dream is the party the people of Edo State should identify with. Such a party should also be committed to the even development of the states and zones of the country so that we do not have the longer case of using the resources of one part of the country to develop the other.
The third point which is intimately linked up with the preceding one is fiscal manipulation in Nigeria. Revenue Allocation Formulae are doctored to favor one group or the other. Too many was unscientific criteria have been introduced into revenue sharing formula so that some States are put into an advantage over the others. Edo State people should identify with a party or movement that is dedicated to ensuring justices in our economic and fiscal arrangements.
I believe the above should constitute the guide post to deciding the political alignment of the Edo people as the campaign for 2007 elections begins to take off in earnest. My task in this paper has been to caution on the dangers of divisiveness and internal wrangling and to identify a common ground for all the constituent groups in Edo State to move forward with a common purpose and a sense of belonging in the bid to actualize their common destiny.
Thank you and God bless.
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