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By Matt O’ Brain

It’s an incontrovertible fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State is in dire need of redemption, following the intra-party crisis that has befallen it in the past one year or so.

Given the intensity and magnitude of the crisis, it is clear that the only way the APC can retain its electoral victory in the State is to adopt a consensus candidate for the September 2020 Governorship elections.

This is the reason most political pundits have applauded the rumoured decision by the Party’s stakeholders to adopt a consensus candidate as its flag bearer in the forthcoming Governorship elections.

There is wisdom in this because going to the primaries would further widen the existing cracks in the Party in the State, and invariably expose its weakness.

This is why those ”wisemen” who would be entrusted with the task of picking that ideal consensus candidate must be dispassionate, impartial and patriotic in carrying out this all important assignment.

However, this task which would ultimately redeem the Party and possibly set it on the pathway to electorall victory, may not be a roller coaster ride as the four major aspirants seeking to dethrone the incumbent Governor, have various attributes going for them.

The four major Aspirants seeking to punch the Party’s ticket are Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi, Rt Hon. Pius Odubu, Pastor Osagie Ize- Iyamu, and General Charles Airhiavere(rtd) ..

Some political commentators on the Edo 2020 Governorship elections have posited that in the search for an ideal consensus candidate, the Party should beam its light on the aspirant with the most enduring electoral values.

As a keen watcher of the complex politics of Edo State for over two decades, I make bold to say and with absolute respect to the other Aspirants that, the APC has a fine product and electoral asset in the person of Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi. My conviction is premised on the following factors:

(1) The complexion of the 2020 governorship election will be absolutely different from the previous elections in the State. It is an election in which the ruling Party for the first time, would attempt to jettison an incumbent who is desperately seeking a second term in office.
In that circumstance, what the Party will be bringing to the election, is that candidate who has something completely different from both the incumbent and the other aspirants. In that projection, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi completely fits into the bill. He is a brand new electoral product that has the qualities to sway the sentiments of the electoratein the general election.

Amongst the Aspirants, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi has a name that has not been soiled arising from inflammable comments made during previous political contests in our dear State. His integrity known to the generality of Edo people is legendary and salutary.
He also commands a robust profile that includes 34 years untainted career in the nation’s oil industry . He is also a former Minister of State for Works; a portfolio he earned on personal merit.

Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi has since 2016, built an enduring political structure that is both robust and resilient. The Ogiemwonyi Campaign Organization, like a moving earth machinery, has been roaring across the State with speed and precision.

The Ogiemwonyi Campaign Organization has established a formidable army of foot soldiers from the wards to the Senatorial levels.These are groups of people with passion for service. Their recruitment is not based on any pecuniary inducement but on their individual and collective belief that a better Edo State is possible with Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi on the driver’s seat.

The Ogiemwonyi Campaign Organization is in the front line in the fight against the Corona virus pandemic, otherwise known as Covid- 19. Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, through his Campaign Organization, has provided sanitizers, face masks and relief materials in the form of food stuffs across the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State. The Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi Covid -19 Help Line , specifically designed to provide financial assistance to the people has been applauded as the largest singular individual intervention in the State so far.

(2) Party loyalty is an indispensable quality of an ideal candidate. Of the four aspirants mentioned above, Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi stands shoulder tall, having stuck to the APC since 2014. Unlike some of his co-aspirants who jumped ship in the midst of the storm, Engr. Ogiemwonyi has proven himself to be the ideal loyal party man. He can be completely trusted to bring stability to a Party in search of redemption and a new identity.

(3)True and genuine leadership is woven around integrity, experience and compassion. Engr. Chris Ogiemwonyi’s life antecedents are replete with these three human attributes. His patriotic zeal for the nation and its citizens, earned him the appellation of “‘Mr Local Content” while serving in the nation’s oil industry.The ideal Candidate that the APC desperately needs in the forthcoming Governorship elections in Edo State must be a man of integrity, experience and compassion. The ideal Candidate cannot be a recyled politician with perchant for jumping ship and also with loads of controversies hanging around his neck.

The APC should be able to market its product in the 2020 Governorship elections in the State without recourse to unnecessary explanations and apologies to the electorate. In marketing the Party’s candidate, the role of the National Chairman of the Party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole becomes crucial. The ideal Candidate should be one in which the APC national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will proudly present to the electorate with passion , joy and respect on his part without battling how to repudiate his earlier assertions and comments against the Candidate.

Engr Chris Ogiemwonyi is a complete breakaway from the old order. He is clean and free from any controversy. He certainly cannot be labeled an appendage to any political dynasty in Edo State. He is the possible new face which the APC desperately needs at this point in the political evolution of Edo State. He is the ideal candidate for the Party in the 2020 Governorship elections.

I enjoin all leaders and members to rise above mere sentiments and give the Party’s ticket to a man who commands the trust of Edo people predicated on his legendary track record of performance, compassion, integrity and discipline which are sine qua non for a leadership that can enjoy the trust and support of Edo people.