Talk to any of the Enijies at Ishan they will tell you his time has come. Pressed further they will say this time the Ishan people will not just vote for anybody who carries the appellation of a politician but somebody who can truly represent them; a voice that can be heard from the higher chambers of the National Assembly. A couple of them looked back at what has been and rued the chances of failed representation. Looking at the political situation at Ishan there is no doubt that politics in that environment is maturing as people begin to think of quality representation for the long run instead of immediate material or pecuniary benefits. Welcome to Ishan where the eyes are opening very fast for the good of the people.
Such unanimous support from traditional rulers and the mass of the people remains the corner pillars holding up Odia to run for the Senate to represent his people. And as a kind of precursor to the kind of politics that will play out in the Senatorial District, Odia trounced the incumbent, Dr Odion Ugbesia, Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, with 141 votes to Ugbesia’s 61 at the PDP primaries. This remains yet the strongest message by the people that they were not ready any more to accept sloppiness from people voted into big offices. The emergence of Odia is also a very strong message to the opposition that PDP has destroyed the spirit of incumbency to produce the best possible candidate for that position whose qualities will be difficult to match.
It is farewell to the season of bogey men and men of shady character and woolen personalities who jostle for public offices for narcissistic purposes. PDP has done the needful by picking a popularly acceptable and well respected candidate with a distinguished pedigree.
What does Clifford Odia really bring to the table? The answer is subsumed in his very simple message. “I will be able to restore the lost voice of Esanland at the Senate. The voice will be vocal and democratic and truly representative of the people. As a chartered civil engineer I will be able to reconcile the bill of engineering management and evaluation with what is critically executed on ground,” he would tell his audience.
He pledged to attract government presence to the zone and take youth empowerment as a very personal responsibility. “I will not only teach them to fish I will use my position to empower Esanland by attracting donor agencies,” he vowed.
His personal story is a cautionary tale which explains very vividly that Odia is not making promises he cannot fulfill as some politicians would want to do but would more likely reach into his pedigree to write a script for success and bringing more attention to the plight of his people.
Starting out with a small construction company in 1991, Odia has made a huge success of that company which now employs over 200 professional engineers. At the moment he sits atop a conglomerate which runs a quarry in Edo State, two asphalt plants –one in Edo State, the other in Rivers while another quarry will soon be commissioned.
Long before going into politics Odia has established himself as a people’s man enjoying an overwhelming grassroot support. His philanthropic activities are well documented and appreciated by the people who see him as a pillar of support to the vulnerable in the society like widows. He is very supportive of the women folks and some indigent students enjoy scholarships in his name.
Politics in Edo State in the days ahead is going to be very interesting and exciting in a state where the opposition has produced the governor running the state. Already propaganda is very high in the political menu in a state where words have become very cheap. There is every indication that the opposition party will be desperate to secure the seat in order to buoy the exaggerated performance of the governor. But the Ishan people will likely use the election as the beginning of a process to put their house in order and take their destiny in their own hands in the face of a governor that has only paid gratuitous attention to them. In terms of infrastructural rollout the Senatorial Zone comprising five local government areas, namely: Esan West, Esan Central, Esan North East, Esan South East and Igueben, comes a distant third.
Esan is also the home of Chief Tony Anenih, popularly hailed as the Leader, a frontline pillar of the PDP who has been unnecessarily vilified just for fighting his way to visibility in his country. Come election 2015 the Esan people will demonstrate their true ancestry; they will demonstrate that they are decent people properly brought up by their parents; people who will not stay in exalted offices and throw invectives at their elders no matter the political provocation. The Esan people will cast their vote to support their star leader, Chief Tony Anenih, in order to demonstrate that they don’t consume their stars as is the practice in most parts of the country. The Esan people enhance the luminosity of their own stars.
This is one other quality Odia has to his advantage. The people you speak to say he has love for everybody including the elders and the ordinary folks that make up the grassroot. He attests to this himself. “I am amiable, peace-loving and loved by the people; Christian not only by birth but by action;” he affirmed.
He has absolute trust in institutions and pursues his cause with diligence. His followers will tell you that since joining the PDP he has never done anything to hurt the party, instead he has followed and supported it very quietly. Even when it became obvious in time past that he had enough political muscle to wrest the Senate seat from Ugbesia, he chose to honour the internal zoning arrangement of the party in his Senatorial zone. His action brought tranquility to the party.
Odia is a bridge builder. After being instrumental to smoothening the relationship between the Leader and late Aikhomu, Odia has remained in the PDP ever since “because I wanted to work on the same platform with the great Leader and bring development to our people.”
Now that opportunity has come for Odia to work with the Leader and every Esan man that loves the development of his heritage. He has seized the opportunity with both hands as he takes his message of a new dawn to a people who want their voice to be heard nationally.
Esaninebu contributed this material from Lagos.