By Sylvester Iruonagbe
It is no longer news that the All Peoples Congress (APC) has been registered in Owan East and Owan West LGAs in Edo State. The registration has re- energize the political life of the people.
In 2015, we will also look forward to an APC candidate to represent the people of Owan Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives. This is the only elective position that is rotated between Owan East and Owan West in the federal constituency.
It is a common understanding between the peoples of East and West to rotate the office of the member of House of Representatives representing Owan Federal Constituency on a one term basis. This is as a result of the agreement and understanding reached by our elders and political leaders.
At the inception of democracy in 1999, the people chose to elect the late Hon. Benson Alegbe into the federal house on the platform of the PDP. Alegbe, who is from Axis One (Ora-Ozalla – Sobe) Owan West did only one term and, as a gentleman, stepped aside to honour the rotation agreement.
In 2003, Abdul Oroh, now Commissioner for Agriculture, Edo State, and a former Chairman of Owan West L.G.A, Hon Johnson Abolagba, showed interest in the seat. Oroh is from Owan East Axis One (Emai – Ihievbe – Ivbiadaobi) and Abolagba is from Owan West Axis Two (Iuleha).
The leadership of the PDP in the area prevailed on Abolagba not to run in the spirit of the agreement but he refused. The PDP conducted primaries between Oroh and Abolagba. Oroh won and Abolagba immediately decamped to NDP where he ran against Oroh. Oroh won the elections and represented the constituency between 2003-2007. At the end of Oroh’s tenure, he wanted to return to the House as a result of his achievements, but the people asked that the rotation agreement be kept. Oroh tried to be re-elected but was defeated at the primaries by Abolagba from Owan West Axis Two (Iuleha) who won the 2007 election and represented the people between 2007 and 2011.
At the expiration of Abolagba’s tenure, he wanted to be re-elected and ran on the platform of the PDP against Pally Iriase who ran under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
At a meeting of the leaders of Owan East and Owan West hosted by Chief Shagari Oni of Erue Owan West, they unanimously agreed to respect the rotation and emphatically averred that it was the turn of AXIS TWO.
In spite of this, Oroh went ahead to run against Pally in the primaries. Pally won on rotational basis. He ran on the support of the people for the rotational agreement and understanding.
Presently, Iriase is representing the people of Owan Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives. During Pally’s campaign, his key campaign issue was rotation which he used to its fully advantage.
Now that he is in the House we are beginning to hear that he is interested in returning to parliament for another term. This is laughable because it was mainly because of the rotation that he got the ticket to run for election in the first instance.
No Rep member in Owan Federal Constituency has been re-elected. Ask Oroh or Abolagba; they tried but they did not succeed.
What is good is good. Let us do what is good and fair.
Sylvester Iruonagbe, a lawyer and social commentator, is based in Benin City.