Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Oshiomhole’s Cabinet: Who’s in, Who’s out?

Adams Oshiomhole

Edo State Government policy, under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is being carefully implemented by an elite group of un-elected men, and the Comrade Governor is their indispensable public face.

These men  who secretly control the State government simply transcend the rules that govern ordinary people, and their hidden agenda is beyond the scope of mainstream thought.

In a recent bumper package of his cabinet list submitted to the State House of Assembly, Oshiomhole dropped a couple of players such as Osagie Obayuwana, Justice Ministry; Mrs. Cordilia Awezie, health Ministry; Miss Anita Evbuomwan, Sports Ministry; Comrade Didi Adodo, Special Duties; Barrister Anslem Ojesua, Ministry of Lands; among others.
In reshaping his Cabinet list, he elevated a longtime adviser to play a key position in the person of Omo-Ojo Orobosa, former Special Adviser on Art and Culture.

Prominent among those that would determine the shape of future politics in the state is Professor Julius Ihonvbere, the Secretary to the State Government. A pro NADECO human right activists, and Democrat, Ihonvbere has deep experience in international affairs with a long  record of Civil Liberty Organizations accomplishments. Ihonvbere will likely stay on for the foreseeable future. He is no stranger to EdoState politics.

He contested the number one seat in 2007 and in 2012. Before then, he was Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Programme and Policy Monitoring.

Julius’s ability to translate theory to practice is further exhibited in his political activism. He was a profound participant of the Nigerian Diaspora pro-democracy movement as Vice President of the United Democratic Front for Nigeria as well as his involvement with Radio Democracy International, later known as Radio Kudirat.

With Ford Foundation, Julius enabled the empowerment of many, notably in Africa, by availing funds to a substantial number of projects with a mandate to addressing  the issues of centrality in the region. In so doing, Julius contributed to enhancing the reputation of the Foundation with regards to it’s commitment to Africa.

Another cabinet member Oshiomhole named is former House of Representatives member representing Oredo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Patrick Obayagbon as the Osadebey House Chief of staff. His name rang a bell at the National Assembly when he held sway. He was a Wordsmith legislator.  A list of some Cabinet members whose stay has been confirmed by Osadebey House but yet to be confirmed by the occupants of Enahoro Complex are Mr. Clem Agba, Chief Lucky James, Anena Jemitola, Abdul Oroh, Osikhena Donald, Chris Ebare, John Inegbedion, Ekpenisi Omorotiomwan, Louis Odion, and Francis Evbuomwan.

Chief Lucky James is a decorated veteran politician who was former council chairman in Etsako West local government area. He had faced a tough confirmation battle before he was confirmed Commissioner in the second half of Oshiomhole’s first tenure because of some past controversial issues.

The grey horns with a lot of potentials are Patrick Aguinede, Omorede Osifo, Lawrence Aghedo, Blessing Aghumu and Barrister Mac Donald Osememe. Though, time will tell if their potentials has fat when tested on fire.

Others who made the 2008 Cabinet list and who will also shape the future of the state in this dispensation are Mr. John Inegbedion, former Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Yemi Keri, Executive Director, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Comrade Abdul Oroh and Mr. Clem Agba. They only, fit into the 2008 class of Oshiomhole’s political school of thought who made it.

Behind Governor Oshiomhole is a carefully devised mission, drawn up by people who work over the shoulders of others and are the people in direct control of the State government.

One face since the Oshiomhole  struggle days that has continued to resurface till now is Barrister Osarodion Ogie. He went through the thick and thin and coordinated Oshiomhole’s legal team to ensure victory and what every one now enjoys in Edo state.

A Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, he was called to the Bar in 1986 and until his appointment, he was the Secretary to the Oshiomhole Campaign Organization.

His office, when he was the Chief of Staff was a mecca of a sort because of his strategic role in government. His commitment to the Adams Oshiomhole’s administration and the success story today can be attributed to his belief in the Oshiomhole’s dream. He is one of those tireless  and committed few in the cabinet that can be relied upon at any critical time. As Chief of Staff, he was first to be in office and last to leave.

Presently, this strategist is the Vice Chairman, Economic Team. He combines the character of an urbane and cosmopolitan enigma who also has at the tip of his fingers, the blueprint of the entire vision and mission of the Oshiomhole agenda for the second term in office.

If the  rumour making the rounds in Government House is anything to go by, Ogie is likely to be the next Commissioner for Works and Public Utilities.  If and when appointed, he would help the state government realize its urban renewal program in no distant time.

The former Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Clem Agba is another personality in the Oshiomhole cabinet. A lot of controversy surrounds his return; he had resigned his appointment at the tail end of Oshiomhole first term but his name resurfaced in the list recently, raising series of questions among political observers. Until his appointment he had a glorious career in the oil and gas industry. He is in the class of 2008 Commissioners who also made it in the second coming of Oshiomhole.

A very intelligent and analytical engineer. Clem is the brain behind the on-going beautification program in the state. With the experience garnered over the years in the oil industry, Clem has brought to bear a pedigree that is un-parraled in environmental management in EdoState.

He is a passionate believer in environment and safety; this accounts for the demolition of illegal structures in the Benin metropolis as part of the grand strategy to return to the Benin City Masterplan and bring out the beauty of the land of the Omo-N-Obas. A member of the Economic Strategy Team, Clem is an amiable and tireless worker.

The ICT woman of substance, Mrs. Yemi Keri, until her appointment as Special Adviser and later Executive Director of the Information Communication and Technology Center (ICT) of the State, was Regional Manager (West Africa) for  S.A.P the world’s largest business solutions provider. Yemi is a tireless, highly urbane, educated and easy going woman. She successfully set in motion the Biometric Project which is expected to reform the state payroll system and administration. Her job is multi-ministerial.

She piloted the recruitment of over 650 unemployed youths in the state to help in the Biometric Project SAVE as well as driving the Point of sale Solution.

Yemi is said to enjoy the confidence of the Governor hence her ability to scale through so many of the hurdles she encountered at inception. This technocrat of the finest order and of no mean repute came into the murky waters of politics and acclimatized considerably within a short period of time.

There is the tax master, Chief Oseni Elama, popularly known as the Gimba of Auchi kingdom. Oseni’s drive and determination first came to attention of Edo people when he chaired the Assets Verification Panel set up by the Governor when he assumed office in 2008. An influential member of the Government, Oseni is a chartered accountant and former Managing Director of the Trust fund having also served as Executive Director of NSITF.

He had advised the Governor on Fiscal Governance and Project Monitoring before chairing the Board of Internal Revenue. In view of the earth-breaking revelations in the asset verification panel where billions of naira were looted by past regimes since then, the fear of Oseni became the beginning of wisdom.

One of the greatest and encouraging step the Governor took in recent times according to political analysts is the putting together of a team that reflect not only Oshiomhole’s dreams but that of the state. They claim “Oshiomhole’s team is rich with inspiration, imagination, trust, honesty, and steadfastness of purpose.

”To a great extent, leadership is like beauty, it’s hard to define but you know it when you see it. Oshiomhole has proved himself to be the efficacy of self-confidence, vision, virtue, plain guts, and reliance on blessed impulse. He has learned from everything, more importantly from experience, adversity, and mistakes. He has learned to lead by leading.”

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