The Oasis Reporters
April 30, 2022
By Greg Abolo
Only recently, the University of Ibadan educated governor of the South South State of Edo was in Ibadan. He was actually at Challenge Bus – stop, a major intersection in the city, just like the ever bustling Ring road bus intersection in Benin City for the modernization and commissioning of the city center make-over.
Oyo State governor specifically chose Godwin Obaseki for the honours and with joy in his heart, the Edo State governor drove to Ibadan for it.
Besides Obaseki’s nostalgic love for Ibadan city as the place he got his classic education, he and the younger Seyi Makinde are brothers. Bini blood runs in the two men. Whenever they meet, Makinde bows with a sharp whisper in Edo language, ‘dhoómor sir’, in acknowledgement and obeisances that must accrue to the age of Obaseki.
See, Makinde’s mother, Mrs Florence Makinde is a Benin woman. Or was, because she passed on two years ago and Obaseki came to Ibadan for her internment. But in the olden days, if the Oba of Lagos died, his corpse would be taken to Benin City for burial.
The kings who reign in Lagos are Benin people. But centuries later, Lagos fought for Independence on that, claiming that the Benin-Lagosians who die in Lagos should be buried in Eko – Lagos.
With that in mind, Obaseki saw no need for any arguments and closed his eyes to the burial of an Omoregie daughter in Ibadan. After all, Mrs Florence Omoregie Makinde’s son is a governor. They had to respect that. The Omoregie family in Benin tradition is a notable one, so is the Obaseki family.
Besides, Makinde was already a cherished PDP governor who, without a godfather, snatched Oyo State from the All Progressive Congress (APC), despite the towering presence of their godfather in Lagos, known as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Thus, Makinde is highly appreciated in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
When the Edo State godfather, Adams Oshiomole was troubling Obaseki and finally denied him a reelection ticket, he quickly called Makinde through his mother in Edo dialect to cry. Between mother and son, Makinde called the PDP chairman and demanded that Obaseki, his brother, must be given the PDP ticket automatically. And nobody ignores a man who, without a godfather, snatched a victory from the jaws of a strong godfather. The PDP chairman quickly agreed, and all the PDP governors braved the odds by landing in Benin for the battle Royale, and in the end, godfather Oshiomole lost his shrine and the shine that goes with it.
Today, Oshiomole has lost all political relevance in the heartbeat of the nation. It teaches not to mess with two bini brothers who are adept at fighting godfathers.
The two governors also challenge each other to provide visible dividends of democracy. Obaseki has completed his Edo Independent Power Project, which ensures that darkness is banished in Edo State, starting from it’s capital city of Benin City. Makinde wants to replicate that in Ibadan, Oyo State.
There are many more projects in Edo State, whose building blocks are now visible in Oyo State.
Talk about the bond of brotherhood in two politicians in the same party, thinking in one progressive direction.