Aziegbemi’s Attempt to Use Anenih to Cure History
By Odianose Frank
In a speech made during the 5th Chief Tony Anenih Memorial Lecture held in Benin, the Edo State Peoples Democratic Party State Chairman, Dr. Tony Azeigbemi said, “lets preserve the legacies of Late Chief Tony Anenih”. This was a very bemusing attempt to cure history. While one would subconsciously agree with this assertion if it had emanated from another mind, it is difficult, if not impossible to admit such a reverse psychology from the state chairman of the Party who does the exact opposite of what he says in public.
Yes, Chief Tony Anenih in his lifetime was an embodiment of integrity, loyalty, dedication and a true party man. He was consistent with the ideals of the Party and never wavered because of pecuniary gains. Under the leadership of Chief Tony Anenih, PDP in Edo was in a very safe hand. This cannot be said with all honesty today. The political legacies and ideologies of Chief Tony Anenih were centered around justice, equity and fairplay. At no time were outsiders allowed to take over the reins of the Party to the detriment of dedicated members. At no time did the legend of PDP in Edo State allow for betrayal. He did everything humanly possible to reward loyalty by sustaining members of the party for their loyalty, service and uncompromising positions with the Party. Can one say this about PDP today under the stewardship of the present chairman? The glaring answer is NO.
One can easily recall that after Professor Osunbor was elected as the governor of Edo State, he turned his back on Chief Tony Anenih and the Party just like we are experiencing today. This led to his untimely removal as governor. It was a moral lesson of ‘dont bite the finger that fed you.’
Today, Edo PDP leadership is witnessing another deliberate effort at letting history repeat itself through the actions of the State Governor Godwin Obaseki in collaboration with the state Chairman, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi. It will be recalled that Chief Dan Orbih, as outgoing State Chairman, stood for Aziegbemi and did everything possible to galvanise leaders and delegates across the State to support and vote for Aziegbemi to emerge. I recall the uncertainty which befell Aziegbemi on that congress night, knowing that he could never have garnered the needed delegates and support to emerge as chairman, without Chief Dan Orbih. But today, Aziegbemi has ignominiously called out Chief Orbih, in order to grandstand before his paymaster.
Today, we are seeing the replay of that betrayal where the patriotic members of the Party have been left outside power and government which led to the disastrous outing during the last general election. This woeful outcome has never been seen since 1999 when the first election under this democratic experience was held. The tragic role of Dr. Tony Aziegbemi in all this is still fresh in our memories as we go into the 2024 Edo State gubernatorial election. It is obvious the chairman is siding with the governor yet again to produce a candidate that cannot win a single local government in Edo State. The popularity rating of the governor is at its lowest the moment as most citizens are disenchanted with his performance and political attitude.
Instead of the empty appeal to members of the Party not to work against the party, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi should be man enough, as our revered late leader would have hoped, to work with the Party and allow for a free and fair primary where the most acceptable candidate will emerge. Anything less than this will spell doom for the already defeated party under his curious leadership.
A stitch in time saves nine.