By Dan Orbih
Over ten years ago, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost a great mobiliser of people and an acclaimed party administrator and helmsman, Chief Samson Ekhabafe, who was the State Chairman of the party, in very dire circumstances. I was chosen by the leaders and members of our party to step into the office of chairman Edo PDP. The beginning.
I was blessed to lead a team of Party Men and Women whose loyalty and commitment were not in doubt. These quintessential party men and women subsumed their petty individual preferences for the benefit of the common-good of the party. That was the binding chord that aided and propelled us to finishing strong in all spheres.
No doubt, we are living in times of great changes, a time when the political field is dominated by Men who lack courage in the face of oppression, by many who cannot stand up and fight for the people that look up to them to lead, a time when mistrust of leaders is on the rise, but our ideas about leadership are clear. It is pertinent to mention that a good leader should always be conscious of his position as Primus inter pares, or first amongst equals. He does not create an artificial gulf between himself and others or the led.
A good leader, in my opinion, must have the vision, determination and focus in driving the process of growing the fortunes of his Party. He must possess an unwavering will to move the party forward without fear or intimidation. He must lead and serve as a pivot for the conscientisation and mobilisation of the people to advance the course of our common good and a better society.
This was my mindset while I held the reins of leadership of the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party for years in very difficult and challenging times. A time of rising needs and demands of our followers not only to capture power from the APC, but to also liberate Edo state from economic and political stranglehold of the deceptive APC!
We have put in place a strong foundation that will make the PDP wax stronger and return to its winning ways in the forthcoming governorship election.
With the emergence of a new executive, I plead that the support I enjoyed as chairman is extended to the new chairman and his executive. Unknown to many, Your support was indeed the driving force and inspiration of my long and eventful tenure.
My style may not have been the preference of some of the leaders, but I am consoled that my style was not offensive to the majority of the people who shared our vision of installing a PDP government in Osadebey Avenue.
The challenge before us is great and daunting. For the new Exco, assuming leadership in an election year has its own issue. It requires advanced preparation, emotional maturity and the uncanny ability to execute plans and strategies.
For the rest of us, it also calls for our total support. I implore the new leadership of the party in the state to provide, maintain and sustain a virile, dispassionate, focused and formidable opposition to the APC government until we reclaim the governorship seat in November 2020 to enable the Party deliver on its promise of a better life for Edo people!
The new leadership have inherited a strong foundation, it is their lot to make history, to win back the state. God will bless their efforts. In the words of Mark Twain “Always do right–this will gratify some and astonish the rest.”
I reiterate that, like the Phoenix, Edo PDP will rise from the ashes of undignified opposition Party to reclaim the government of Edo state.
I call on Leaders and all our committed party men and women on the need to shun personal, group, ethnic interest, and other tendencies for the greater good of our Party and State! “Having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts.”
As Chairman of the party, I constructively engaged the APC and stood firm against the fascist plans by the state’s APC to fabricate and foist a one-party political system on Edo State. I am confident that the present leadership will surpass our effort and result!
On behalf of myself and the other members of the last State Executive committee, I express immense gratitude to all party men and women who worked tirelessly to keep the party alive.
Chief Dan Osi Orbih
Chairman (2009- March 13, 2020)
PDP Edo State