The time has come for the Afenmai people to chart a new beginning in remoulding their lives after several years of suffering and deprivation of the essential things of life by those who mismanaged the trust reposed in them.
I seek to lead this new dawn for the Afenmai people through the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and I seek your mandate to make this a reality under Action Democratic Party (ADP). There can be no better time than now. It's time to arouse the sleeping giant called Nigeria and unleash its potentials for the good of all and acquit my generation of the charge of a wasted one. Indeed, it is time to put a smile in the face of Afenmai people. If we are united and conscious of this auspicious moment, victory will be ours and the goal of restoring our people and country will begin in earnest.
To be sure, the moment of truth is February 2019, a few months away when you are all expected to troop out in your numbers to vote. This civic responsibility of yours will either make or mar your future. The decision you make as a people may either aggravate our pathetic existence as a people or guarantee a bright future for us all.
Afenmai people have a history, that history is one of a heroic people resisting oppression and domination.
Historically, the Afenmai spirit resonated in the defence of our fatherland. Our forebears warded off external aggressors that sought to dominate and subjugate us. First, in 1504 AD during the reign of Oba Esigie, the Edo-Idah War was fought to retain our sovereignty as a people.
Similarly, in 1850, the contestation with the Nupe forces was also about our sovereignty and self-determination as a people. That can-do spirit of the Edo people and Afenmai is required at this historical moment of our lives. As Molekete Asante reminds us “there are no people without traditions and traditions are the lifeblood of a people. A people who refuse to express its love and appreciation for its ancestors will die because in traditions if you are not expressing your own, you are participating in and expressing faith in someone else’s ancestors."
We have a history of resistance to oppressive manipulation of conscience. Afenmai people must not forget! The Somers of the ancient Nubian kingdom were a people who died. The reason why they died was because they forgot their history. The fate of these ancient people in Africa serves to underscore the importance of tradition/history of a people. Next year's election is about the activation of the Afenmai spirit.
Since the beginning of the fourth republic, the hope that democracy represents has been dashed by those who turned our freely given mandate to serve their personal interest. Today, there is palpable gloom in the country. Truly, wanton killings, disobedience of court order, human rights violation and economic hardship, mass unemployment have become the order of the day. My latest book entitled "Shattered Hope" mirrors the gory human carnage all over the country and the collapse of government under the present All Progressives Congress (APC) national government and its ancillary organs. And the questions keep coming as to the response of the human right activists, prodemocracy activists, media concerns, labour unions, student unions, civil society groups, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Afenmai voice.
It is time to take the country back to the path of sanity and justice. We must begin to demand accountability from the campaign offices of our docile representatives in the national assembly for wasting our collective patrimony on frivolities. Our people must speak in one voice against all forms of immunity, nonaccountability, especially the land grabbing and murderous herdsmen. There is no gainsaying that those we voted to represent us in the two houses of the federal parliament, namely, House of Representatives and the Senate have lost their voices to pecuniary interest instead of true representation, thereby consigning the Afenmai people to oblivion and neglect.
I have come to the rescue. My Senate engagement is a moment of truth for us and a moment to step forward to try new narratives and perspectives with direct involvement of the mass of Afenmai people who have been subjected to poverty and hopelessness.
Dear Afenmai people, the road may be rough but we shall overcome, clean up the Augean stable burdened with stolen money, falsehood, godfathers, talisman, wizardry, death wishes, cultists and assassins. I come with love, I come with hope and a clear road map as to where we are going. I am convinced that with our collective resolve, our destiny in our hands, Afenmai people will reach the promise land where life will once again be meaningful.
Beware, my people, of the spent ruling class in Afenmai land or elsewhere in Nigeria and embrace the new arrivals for the goal of transformation. I hope to lead this transformation process of our people. It's not by silver and gold, because I have none but by your support. History can be altered permanently in the interests of the downtrodden and humanity.
But we must collectively make this statement: never again shall Afenmai land be governed or represented by a clique of narrow-minded folks who gloried in the poverty of our people. Never again shall Afenmai land be luckless to fold our hands and allow visionless con men and women to decide our fate. Never again!
The time has come for us to assert our attribute as a free people under God's protection in a sovereign nation and send a message to those who think power is acquired by primitive conquest, not through intellectual development or "content of character" that their time is up.
Irvine Stone, a great biographer who authored the book titled, The Passions of The Mind, a work on the life of Sigmund Freud – said that “the greatest wars take place in the territory of human mind”. We have been manipulated over time and it is time to throw off the false consciousness and elect Uzoyas (problem solvers) to represent us.
I represent that generation of problem solvers and nation-builders. Give me the opportunity to serve you.
Our mission is clear, and our mandate is straightforward: we shall henceforth never again submit ourselves to these old politicians who have ravaged our collective destiny through their systematic erosion of institutions and with a consequence of widespread poverty, relegation of the education of the people and massive unemployment. However, our salvation maybe found in our resolve to do things anew, rethink our country afresh, establish a new pact and path in the struggle for a new nation and economic freedom of Afenmai land. Afenmai people have this moment, this chance to reimagine ourselves, to have our voices heard vigorously through our vote to liberty in next year's election. Erasmus Ikhide is poised for this mission to salvage our land and people through effective representation. There is the hope for a better Nigeria and a better Afenmai country. There is certitude of better governance structures when the right choices are made at electioneering.
Vote buying, ballot box stuffing and sundry vices have come to plague the country’s electoral process. Those who buy votes must recoup their investment and should not be expected to make laws in the interests of the people. Despite instances of electoral perfidy such as we have seen in Edo and Ekiti States governorship elections, do bear in mind that a people united can never be defeated. We should never become like those who mortgage their future for a mess of porridge.
We have long concluded that what has stunted Afenmai land economically in particular and Nigeria, in general, is the failure of governments and powerful elites to honesty resolve self-afflicted crisis that has now reduced us to the era of Stone Age, where the strongest are the richest. February 2019 presents us another opportunity to rewrite our history and take our destiny in our hands.
IF VOTED AS SENATOR
Afenmai first principle shall be my directive principle. I shall through my legislative influence and vast international network attract investment into Afenmai land in ways that will engender development and provide employment opportunity for the teaming youth population.
I shall also promote education, especially vocational education, to create entrepreneurial, creative skill and self-sufficiency in Afenmai land.
I shall sponsor 45 bills which I have already articulated. A sample is the equalisation of the law-maker’s salary with that of civil servants in the federal institutions across board. That way, the urge to buy votes and killing at electioneering will evaporate and leadership will become a social responsibility.
It is important to note that the difference between us and the old is that we're champions of meritocracy why they are not. While we're advocates of equitocracy, they're harbingers of dictatorship. While we subscribe to liberal democratic principles, they're free riders and counterproductive to progress.
We must be encouraged by the stated fact that those of you who believe in an inclusive and all-encompassing liberal democratic principles have better story to tell than those who strive daily to undermine and subvert the will of the people.
The choice of Afenmai people on who becomes our Senator in next year's general election should be made not just because of the failure of APC as a political party and the less than satisfactory representation of our people's interests by those elected to represent us, but in the interest of human solidarity with the basic understanding that the consequences of vote-buying is the absence of quality representation and failure of governance.
We are running out of time to erect guidepost and save the Fourth Republic from imminent danger and outright collapse. And I can feel the indomitable spirit of Afenmai people rejecting the oppressive old political ruling class from the quiet serene of Ososo mountain tops, the Okpella savannah turf, to the sublime Auchi valleys, the Owan luxuriant vegetation and Agenebode’s cascading river saying ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
As we match together as a people conscious of our history in the present fourth general election in the Fourth Republic, the battle cries need to be revived in the manner of our ancestors who heaped rocks and boulders on their tormentors and repelled them forever.
Say bye, bye to misrepresentation, neglect and a life of poverty and usher in a new era for Afenmai and Nigeria.
God bless Afenmai! God bless Nigeria!!
The full speech at the declaration for my Senatorial ambition on July 3, 2018 at my campaign office, Auchi.