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Edo 2024:Imasuagbon- aka- RiceMan Truly Deserving ‘Emilokon’

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By Sim Omo

For those who know Barrister Ken Imasuagbon alias rice man, he is an epitome of simplicity and clarity. A man keen for details, astute in management of men and resources. Rice man is one Edo son who derives pleasure in finding solution to challenges of others. As a person, he is a kind hearted, a philanthropist and a politician with a mixed grill of compassion, selflessness, humility and integrity with passion for service to humanity, especially to serve Edo people as their next governor in 2024
Aggregating these virtues, it is without sounding immodest to locate Mr Ken Imasuagbon on the pedestal of a trusted Edo man who is cut out for service to his people wether in a political calling, public service or humanitarian areas. So , as the Edo 2024 governorship election draws nearer, it is time again for politicians to begin horse trading, consultations, political intra -state consultations and manoeuvring to position themselves as the right choice deserving of a populist support. This is the time also to make a case for the Riceman

That this moment provides a defining chance again for Edo people to make a right choice in Barrister Ken Imasuagbon, the Riceman , it is also historic for Esan people to close ranks and cap on this right opportunity to aspire as it is truly the turn of the Ishan people and by extension Mr Imasuagbon, who is eminently qualified and better prepared for the job than any other aspirant that may vie for the top Edo job .

Singling Mr Imasuagbon out from those who will eventually throw their hats in the ring for the Edo plump job, is by no other fact than it is the Esan man and Imasuagbon’s turn.
This Emilokon’ trajectory as a coincidence of providence is reinforced by the almost 20 years the Riceman began the Edo Governorship contest.

Since 2007 till date , Imasuagbon has consistently featured in Edo Governorship elections, coming out stronger and better equipped for service to the people.

Interestingly , while it is true that often times he is been prevailed upon to Stepdown for one candidate or the other as in 2007 for comrade Adams Oshiomhole of AC then and Obaseki in 2020, when the latter decamped to PDP from the ruling APC to run for second term , that travesty of justice might yet be the turning point to the easy road and sail to the Dennis Osadebey Government House in Benin City,Edo State, if again the PDP does not mismanage or compromise the process that will transparently bring out the best in a level playing field. That is why, in the build-up , however, to next year’s Edo governorship, the question of which zone and whose turn truly is it, brings us humourously to the ‘ emilokon’ political lexicon . And in simple response and answer to the puzzle, it is the turn of the Esan zone and the cap fits the Riceman

In making a case for the Esan people and Ken Imasuagbon, a critical assessment of the aspirants among the greenhorns and the old order shows that the Riceman has the personality with the chest to govern Edo with such candour of a liberal, strong politically- willed personage, an experienced manager of men and resources and a popular Philanthropist in Edo State and the country Nigeria who is internationally connected and well respected by the international community, especially by the Government and people of the United States of America. Endowed with these attributes, it is not immodest to appeal to our conscience that it is the turn of the Ewohimi -born Abuja based business man with genuine investments in Education and Property as espoused by the ’emilokon’ coinage of the president elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and be given a chance this time around

Deserving of the ‘emilokon’ coinage , the new lexis truly finds a fitting location in the Edo 2024 guber -race for Ken Imasuagbon and the Esan people , who must be circumspect this time around in soliciting and galvanising support from the other two zones of Edo North and Edo Central for their son” s candidature and by extension enabling the Esan race take their real turn to produce the next Edo governor

Dwelling more on the intricacies of the new vocabulary, one finds it more captivating because day- in- day –out, the Nigerian political lexicon, though enriched often with familiar local coinage but conveys and invokes deep thoughts

For instance , in Enugu,there was the ‘Ebeano’, a political movement of the then Enugu state governor, His excellency Senator Chimaroke Nnamani. Up North, the ‘Kwankwasyia’ political crusade in Kano loyal to Dr Rabiu Kwakwanso also finds place in history.

In the old western region, there were political nomenclatures like the popular ‘Penkelemesi’ a localization of the phrase, ‘Peculiar Mess’, which Chief Adegoke Adelabu the opposition leader in the western regional assembly had used on an occasion to describe the opposition in the old western region house of assembly, with the current ‘Emilokon’ from the intuitiveness of the president elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu

In muting ‘emilokon’, Tinubu may have had cause for such a deep conscious reasoning before expressing the word which simply means in English translation , ‘it is my turn’, or ,I am next

Albeit the popularity the coinage has gained, the emilokon’ phrase has come stay because it has now the capacity to draw attention by a long -aged marginalized group that indeed deserve a position in a political contest ,or to ask that a wrong should be corrected or made right, as in the frank request of Esan People and the Imasuagbon aspiration.

While in Tinubu’s claim, many discerning, unbiased political supporters saw reason and logic, recall too that in the build –up to his presidency, the president elect said, “ I have been a king maker, now I want to be king’

Likewise in the Esan and Riceman’s scenario, whereas the Esan people have always supported the Edo North and Edo Central men to be governors, their son has always paid the price of letting it go, even when he is eminently disposed to being governor since 2007 when he began to contest. If what is good for the goose is good for the gander, then why not Esan’s turn now and His Excellency Barrister Ken Imasuagbon , an Esan son, the governor?

Though there appears to be a sharp difference in character and location of the persons of Tinubu and Imansuangbon in placing emilokon’ properly, for Imasuagbon’s aspiration, it is borne out of humility and in persuading Edo people to support his Governorship ambition as evidently presented in the records since 1999 . Buttressing this, statistics, from 1999 when democracy returned to the country till date, the esan man only had a stint as Edo governor when Professor Osariemhe Osunbor governed for only 18 months from May 29 2007.

Therefore, looking at Nigeria’s democracy statistics within the period under review, it reinforces that fact that the Ishan man only administered Edo once . For instance, between 1999-2007, Chief Lucky Igbinedion , a benin man from Edo South and his Deputy, Chief Mike Oghiadome, an Afemai man from Edo North governed the state. Their administration ran for eight years.But from 2007, when the Riceman joined the gubernatorial contest, having worked assiduously for the PDP and later the Grace- Group, the PDP faction that later metamorphosed into Action Congress,AC and ACN, and later APC, where he also stepped down for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Imasuagbon has contested consistently and in all the situations he was prevailed upon to step down for considerations which he obliged on the grounds of patriotism and party supremacy . First was for Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to contest against Prof Osunbor in 2007. In that election, the Riceman collapsed his strategic 18-LGs- Structure and deployed all his electioneering assets to campaign for Oshiomhole of the AC, against Professor Osariemhe Osunbor of the PDP. Though Prof Osunbor was declared winner and governor- elect in that election, his victory was reversed and upturned by the Appeal court which was the Apex and final court for governorship cases at that time. Prof Osunbor’s inglorious tenure was short-lived as the AC and later ACN’s administration of Adams Oshiomhole an edo North man and his Binin Edo south deputy governor, Dr Pius Odubu, reigned for another eight years, having won the governorship election in 2008 and again in 2012 and served as executive governor and deputy respectively from 2008 to 2016.

From 2016 through to 2020, the Riceman featured in all the contest, in addition to the last Edo Governorship in which Governor Obaseki switched from the ruling APC to PDP. In that intricate situation, again Imasuagbon and one Engineer Ikhaine, two critical PDP Governorship aspirants then from Esanland were appealed to , to Step down and allow Obaseki run for his second tenure. For the umpteenth time the Riceman listened to the voices of reasoning and availed Obaseki that chance with his teeming supporters and assets that enabled the incumbent to win in a landslide. Indeed if truth needs to be told, those Imasuagbon’s consistent goodwills are deserving of ’emilokon’ and ought to be reciprocated now by Obaseki and the PDP by drumming support for his candidature in the build up to 2024 next edo governorship election, especially now that the doors are opened to esan people of edo central senatorial district, and Ken Imasuagbon as the man who the cap fits and whose turn ordinarily it is

A philanthropist who has continuously provided for the down trodden: for schools both primary, secondary and tertiary institutions by providing computers, laptops, furniture’s, scholarships,etc: He has and still providing Food items to the indigent with his yearly distribution of rice and other food items, from where he earned the ‘ Riceman appellation. In truth, No aspirant really compares to Imasuagbon among the others in the life of Nigeria’s democracy . Is it political experience, managerial , political maturity, popularity and successes in business, an indication of a fulfilled man who is not hungry and greedy to steal our collective wealth. Name it, none, no one among the oldies and greenhorns who may wish to vie parade these sterling attributes

Committed to serve Edo people, Ken Imasuagbon is a lawyer with investments also in real estate and education as Chairman of the prestigious Pacesetters igroup of sichools in Abuja

His chances and that of Esan are now. And this is why Edo people in general must stake in his Governorship ambition for greater democracy dividends

Sim Omo wrote in from Auchi Edo State.

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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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