A few weeks ago, 2n-network published the first part of the review of the book, My Journey Into Politics-Between A Hobby And A Calling, authored by Hon Victor Osobase Emuakhagbon, former executive Chairman of Esan South East local government area.
This is the second part. It’s even more enthralling and engaging than the first part.
A Memoir of a Democrat II
Reviewed By Ernest Omoarelojie
In chapter seven, the author takes his readers along on his eventful journey to his new political platform, the All Progressives Congress, APC. As it were, the platform offered him the opportunity to realize his political ambition to serve his people in an executive position. In no time, he became the executive Chairman of Esan South East local government area of Edo state but it turned out to be a rather short spell.
The author narrates his rather short stint in service as executive Chairman during which time he made a number of some truly remarkable development impact across that touched all the ten wards of the council area.
The author explains how, soon enough, he began to experience much of the same intrigues that crowded him out of his former political association. He soon realized that they were no less an intrinsic part of the new platform. In order words, he found out, sooner than later, that both platforms and their troubles are nothing but the two sides of the same coin.
It is practically impossible to review chapter seven without a cursory review of the author’s creative administrative style which endeared him to his people. Unlike his peers, before or after, he introduced the Community Development Master plan, CDMP, and Needs Assessment Program, NAP, both of which were deliberately crafted to make the people the real decider of whatecer they want as development projects. As it turned out, his innovative ideas practically introduced the people themselves into development project as ultimate decider of what they wanted from the council.
That he succeeded in delivering on the mandate to the people is a study which no reader can afford to miss. At least, courtesy the program, each of the 10 wards in the council area will, for a long time, have a reason to remember him with nostalgia.
For details of his achievements, the book is a must read.
As indicated earlier, the intrigues in his new political outfit began to manifest. The author writes about how one of them, an otherwise innocuous case later snowballed into contrived hyra heads upon which he was shoved out of office as chairman. It ended via a court order.
In the main, it was anchored on an intra party divide in which two leaders, former governor and at the time, national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, his protégé, and successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, got pitched against each other over the latter’s second term ambition. As would be expected, political opportunists, taking advantage of the divide, latched on it to pick out their opponents for the slaughter slab, having successfully convinced the governor that those they pointed accusing fingers at, took side with the enemy.
The author writes that he became one of the unfortunate victims caught in the middle, having been brandished a collaborator with the enemy, the then national chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole. The ensuing tangle was more of a war without guns and bombs but with as much collateral casualties.
He writes that even without any substantiated evidence, he was marked down for persecution as the forces against him didn’t lack anything in terms of justification for picking on him or the combustibles they needed to make a burn fire of his carrer. Not much was needed anyway since they already had his alleged disloyalty to the governor as the ultimate proof.
The justification wasn’t difficult to cook up either-having been accused of being the financier of Edo People’s Movement, EPM, the umbrella body that comprised, in the main, a number of erstwhile party leaders who became disgruntled with the governor over both his alleged high handedness and divide-and-rule leadership style.
But the court case became the petrol they needed to make a burn fire of his political ambition.
“With EPM throwing flaks and jibes at the governor, the stage was set for a Titanic battle…Both sides canvassed sundry reasons but in the end, the position of the NWC prevailed, a fact that further exercebated the festering intra party crises which was again compounded by the interests of then national chai9, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, who preferred cross carpeting returner, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu…
…But with my council area, the home of a number of some influential political appointees who nursed certain personal grudges against my humble self…my fate was sealed as the sacrificial lamb.
“The council’s party leadership was firmly touted as fierce loyalists of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole.
“…Coming from the conclusion above, the decision was taken to remove me from office. To effect my removal, they latched on a petition filed by one Peter Aguele, challenging my emergence from the party primaries as APC’s chairmanship candidate far back in 2018,” the author wrote.
The case itself remains a study in subterfuge. It was a test case of one’s opponents laying tons of thorn against a haplesscl foe. To ensue that the case was dead even before presentation, his traducers surreptitiously imposed a lead counsel, an assistant state legal adviser of the APC, on him. But he was to find out later that the enemies coerced him into undoing the case. For a case that ordinarily has a statutory 180 day span, being a pre-election matter, it took well over 700 days with the lead counsel dropping that all important decider.
“…Peter Aguele approached the High Court, sitting in Benin City, led by Justice Okungbowa, over the 2018 chairmanship election as alleged winner with 164 out of 268 votes. His alleged victory took place on a day and venue that never was. In any case, he sued myself, the party, the LGA and State Independent Electoral Commission.
“For the records, the case lasted for two years, far beyond the statutory 180 days specified by law for pre-election matters. It was at this point I realized that appointed counsel was part of the syndicate that plotted to unseat me.
“The evidences supporting the position were numerous. For instance, he refused to seek an order challenging the breach of the 180 day statutory provision when the matter stretched beyond 700 days. That is in addition to breaching all known professional ethics that went a long way in compromising my case, including rejecting the advise to declare hostile some witnesses. Beyond refusing to object obvious out of case points, he refused to adduce superior arguments in many instances. Just before the judgement which was given on a Friday, 20th March, 2020, he was appointed the head of the State Judicial Reform Commission, an appointment he received ahead of his more senior colleagues, at least, one of them turned down the appointment to the commission as a mark of honour,” he author writes.
The ruling came quick enough and as the saying goes, the rest is history. In effect, he became the ransom, a collateral victim, in a case he had no business being connected to. The details, as contained in My Journey Into Politics-Between A Hobby And A Calling, are too juicy, too interestingly scabdalous, enough for every student of politics and political science to go in search of the book.