I read with sadness the stories that were making the rounds in the media and on social networks around the resignation of Mike Oghiadohme,
While I do not intend to hold forth for Oghiadohme, it is worth noting that such a celebration of one’s brother’s (or neighbor’s) perceived or real misfortune is neither in the character of the Afenmai nation nor the norm in Edo State.
I am one of the people who celebrated Oghiadohme’s elevation to the post of Chief of Staff to the President of Africa’s most populous nation hoping that with my ‘big brother’ and friend holding such an influential position in the presidency, my own time has finally arrived, just the way we tend to reason as Nigerians.
While Oghiadohme was the Principal Secretary to the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan under President Yaradua’s regime, i had used the opportunity of us boarding the same plane from Lagos to Abuja to present my ‘requests’ to him. When, throughout his stay in the presidential villa, all i got from him was a one line response to one of my series of e-mails without any phone response, i felt disappointed that my hope of becoming a major player in the scheme of things in Abuja by virtue of my relationship with him was dashed.
However, on his resignation i put that behind me and attempted to reach out to him to see how we could organize a befitting reception for him back at home in Edo, before the media became awash with stories of his people rejoicing that he has finally lost out, hence their intimidation by him will cease. The media also reported that ‘his people’ are rejoicing because they have nothing to show for his occupying such a pivotal position for years hence it is good riddance to bad rubbish. Yet, others were castigating Oghiadomhe as an ungrateful man who bit the hand (of Admiral Mike Akhigbe) that fed him.
With all these media bashing, an onlooker could readily come out thinking what a callous, un-reasonable, un-helping and probably un-worthy son of Afenmai Mike Oghiadohme is.
While most of us seem to have our own ideas of what the pecks and opportunities that come with being the Chief of Staff to the President should be - either real or imagined, not many of us have taken time out to think of the limitations, constraints and challenges that come with such office, hence we have these grandiose ideas of how the occupants of such elevated office should be dishing out favours and opportunities thereby ending up disappointed if such expected favours and opportunities are not forthcoming.
I personally know Mike Oghiadohme as a humble, generous and cheerful bridge-builder who can relate to anyone no matter his/her socio-economic, political and religious leanings.
Mike Oghiadohme, while the Deputy Governor of Edo State once told me that Admiral Mike Akhigbe was “his father” without whom he wouldn’t have been occupying the seat. He said he was jealously guided by the enviable footpaths of the Admiral who did so much serving his nation.
The late Admiral Akhigbe, had during a one-on-one meeting in his Lagos office in 2003 told me that Mike (Oghiadohme) was a worthy son whom he was proud of.
While Admiral Akhigbe’s son was getting married at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos. Oghiadohme was present with us personally arranging chairs for the guests. That was Oghiadohme in his humble self.
While Mike Oghiadohme was a Deputy Governor, i delivered a goodwill message from him to Senator Yisa Braimoh during the Senator’s father’s burial at Ihevbe.
Mike Oghiadohme (The Okakagbe), was personally present with us at the Otaru’s palace in Auchi to celebrate with Julius Ihonvbere when he (Ihonvbere) was honoured with a chieftaincy title.
During a discussion in his Benin City home in 2002, Chief Samuel Ogbemudia told me that Mike Oghiadohme is a respectful young man who gives honour to whom it is due.
It was therefore tactless for a group of people to roll out the drums to celebrate some perceived ‘downfall’ of Mike Oghiadohme. It is tactless to portray Oghiadohme as anything but a worthy, influential and helpful Afenmai man of Fugar descent because such view is erroneous, short-sighted and self-serving.
Mike Oghiadomhe remains one of the finest materials from Afenmailand who despite his present perceived shortcomings, still have what it takes to take Afenmai and Edo State to higher heights.
That Oghiadohme later fell out with ‘his father’ Admiral Akhigbe, was highly likely the handiwork of fifth columnists, who thrive building pillars of disharmony amongst men and women of goodwill, peddling rumours and crying wolf where there is none.
The result is the denial of Mike Oghiadohme the opportunity to play the chief mouner’s role at the burial of our fatherly Admiral and sowing a seed of discord between the Akhigbe and Oghiadohme families.
It is a fact that in the absence of Genaral Akhigbe today, there is no other Afenmai man or woman who is more experienced, connected and holding more promise of helping the people than Mike Oghiadomhe, of course with the exception of the Comrade Governor.
While Afenmai people should be celebrating the home-coming of their brother after meritoriously serving his fatherland as Chief of Staff to the President, some are busy making news headlines which will not uplift Afenmai people.
Unfortunately that is not a path to getting Afenmai pot hole ridden roads fixed; that is not the path to getting the children attend well equipped and staffed schools; that is not the path to get the rodent-infested hospitals renovated and; that is not the path to getting the teeming un-employed youths in Afenmailand gainfully employed.
The tact is for well-meaning individuals to intervene to bring back love and togetherness in the Afenmai polity. Men and women of honour need to broker peace between the Oghiadohme and Akhigbe families.
The tact is for the Afenmai Professionals and Afenmai People’s Congress to convene a meeting and have a reception for Chief Mike Oghiadohme as the major agenda of such meeting.
The tact is for elders of Fugar to impress it on the youths and other interest groups of the fact that the community has more to gain from honouring Oghiadohme and working with him, rather than embarking on some ill-informed placard carrying voyage that will not do community any good.
The tact is to reach out to his Excellency Mr. President, to do us the honour once again by appointing one of us as his Chief of Staff possibly Raymond Dokpesi, Julius Ihonvbere or Vincent Ahonsi. To this, we look up to the Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomole, Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Samuel Ogbemudia to all work together across party lines and ensure that Edo does not lose this converted position to other regions.
Edo recently lost some influential figures whose voices are respected nationally and internationally in persons of Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Admiral Mike Akhigbe and Chief Omo Omoruyi, hence the more good materials Edo can move to national limelight the better the people will be represented and empowered.
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