My name is Michael Ovienmhada. I started my business life on October 1, 1978 when I opened my first restaurant at the University of Lagos. It was there I earned the nickname O’meekey.
I am still in the restaurant business 45 years after. Being in the restaurant business did not allow me to think of exploring my other gifts and talents for example. I started to explore my gift of writing in 2001 when I wrote my first book titled: The Heart of a Soul Winner which was quickly followed by: Occupy Till I Come. I have since written six other books, the most recent being: 100 Years and 5 Chronicles. I would call that my Magnum Opus—-Many people who have read it call it a beautiful work of excellence. It took me three years to write.
Close to 9 weeks ago, I packed my bags, sold anything I could sell, bought a ticket and made the decision to leave a very comfortable life in Atlanta, GA, to plant my roots in Benin City, a place where I grew up at the intersection of Igun Street and Agbado market. I made the decision because I was feeling guilty about living a comfortable life in a country that had been built by other people. I am now firmly planted where I began my life, in Benin City. I am running for Governor on the platform of a tiny Party, the NNPP.
Everyone laughs when I tell them the name of my Party. When I begin to engage them with my plans to lift up Edo State by raising the paltry IGR from N28 Billion to N1 Trillion in 4 years, they begin to pay attention after first saying that it is impossible. When I tell them I will build a 400 Km Railroad costing $400m linking all the major villages in Edo State as an anchor to my Agricultural Revolution which will raise 300,000 farmers who will create 10 jobs each down the value chain of agriculture over a 4-year period to give us 3 million jobs and an increased tax net which will yield over N1 Trillion annually, they begin to pay attention.
The thing is, when we’ve had leaders whose dreams level out at 2.0 out of 10 on the Richter scale of innovation and vision, the people tend to get into a mindset of arrested development. No one, it seems, can outthink the Governor of the State. That’s outright Bull Crap. Our Governors have not been thinking. Many who are running are not even now, thinking or dreaming. They are accumulating money to bribe everyone in the election value chain until they get their hands on the treasury, that tiny treasury that is not even enough to rescue our women from dying from preventable diseases such as breast cancer by simply planting Mammogram equipment in every major market across the State. That paltry amount, half of which they will loot to fund their opulent lifestyles whilst carrying the title of Excellency. That paltry amount that is not enough to build roads, or schools, or hospitals that the poor can access.
Hey guys, everyone running for the office of Governor in Edo State, all of us, are slaves to our ambitions. Since as it is, there is no longer an Exclusive Esan opportunity so to speak as all the heavyweights from Edo North and Edo South have joined the fray, let us raise the level of debate. Our people are hungry for quantum leaps of progress. There is no reason why Edo State cannot be as developed as Dubai—-Foreign Reserves of ($185 Bilion), or Israel, ($200 Billion) or Norway, $70 Billion), in a few short years of focused leadership.
All ye who are running, come out and tell us how you plan to lift the State, a beautiful State that boasts a population of 5.2 million people who occupy the best gift that God has given to mankind to make progress—- fertile land of 18,300 sqkm——come and tell us how you will change our lives in the next four years. Everyone must come to the debate floor when the time comes. Tell us, so that we, the people, can hold you to account after 4 years of rule or misrule.
Michael Ovienmhada. Author, Poet, Playwright, Public Affairs Commentator, and now, Governorship Aspirant for Edo 2024.