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    Saturday, 3 February 2018

    Where is Lucky Igbinedion?


    .Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion who was a force to reckon with in the murky waters of Edo State politics has suddenly gone underground in the political scene.
    He is seen as a political player who cannot go behind the scene or underground in both the state and national politics having held the highest political position in the state. However, his absence from the political scene for a while is proving otherwise.
    Born on May 13, 1957, to Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Lucky attended Edo College in Benin and proceed to the University of Wyoming, Laramie in 1982, where he obtained BSc in Marketing. He later obtained an MBA from the Jackson State University, Mississippi, United States in 1983.
    Chief Lucky Igbinedion started his political career as elected Chairman of Oredo Local Government Council in 1987, a position he held till 1989.
    As chairman, he was said to have performed exceedingly well and this facilitated his choice as a governorship candidate in 1999 at the return of democracy in Nigeria.
    He was voted the Best Council Chairman in Nigeria and he received an award for his developmental efforts.
    He contested gubernatorial election in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and won. He was re-elected in 2003 for another term of four years which expired in 2007.
    During his tenure as governor, he was elected by his colleagues as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). 
    He was said to have played a major role in the emergence of the immediate past Governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, even though Oshiomhole contested on the platform of an opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
    Strikingly, the former governor went underground in the political terrain of the state after the 2016 governorship election in which his party, the PDP, lost to Governor Godwin Obaseki, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
    The questions on the lips of political observers and many Edo people are, “Where is Lucky Igbinadion, has he quit politics or is he working underground to spring a surprise, has he focused entirely on his business?”
    It is believed that the failure of the PDP to win the presidential and governorship elections in the state, which badly affected the party, made most of the political actors like Lucky to go into oblivion.
    Observers say Lucky is a quiet person and has always lived a quiet life devoid of publicity, even when he held sway as the Executive Governor of Edo State.
    Some people in the state allege that during his reign as governor, he used the state’s resources to enrich himself and family, a claim that others say is not true.
    His supporters say Chief Lucky established the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, located in Ovia North East Local Government Area, the Stella Obansajo Hospital, among others.
    Lucky is the heir apparent of Chief Gabriel Igbinedion’s business empire, he is the Deputy Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Okada, and he is always coordinating activities of the university on behalf of his father.
    He owns one of the best and most popular relaxation spots and eateries in Benin City, among other business interests.
    A political pundit in Benin City told Daily Trust on Sunday that Chief Igbinedion was a household name in Edo politics and could not just be wished away.
    He said, “As you know, he is the quiet type. He is a force to reckon with in Edo politics and has not quit politics. People who don’t know him think he has abandoned politics. Last December, he organised a reunion party for his political associates.”
    He said the former governor was an international businessman who combined politics with business, adding that he was working behind the scene. 
    “Edo PDP still consults him on any issue concerning the party. He is still a member of the PDP and I am sure he will also play a major role in the enthronement of the PDP in 2019,” he said.
    Speaking with our reporter on the issue, media aide to Chief Lucky when he was governor, Mark Nkwoji, said the former governor was still a man of the people who had played his part well in the development of Edo State as governor for eight years.
    Nkwoji said Chief Igbinedion was very much on ground offering political advice and grooming the younger ones to take over governance.
    “His Excellency has been very much around in Benin. He has been participating in activities such as marriages in his father’s compound,” he said.
    He further said each time people asked Chief Lucky about his quiet disposition he would say there is a time in life after one has occupied the driver’s seat to go to the back seat and watch from the sidelines, offering useful advice “and I believe that is what he is doing now.
    “My boss is not a political jobber; he has businesses he is attending to: I think that is what occupies him for now. If you want him to mount the rostrum in political rallies or campaigns, I don’t think he is cut out for that now. I believe attending to his business is uppermost in his mind,” he said.
    “People keep asking him this question, but he always tells them that he is offering useful advice. He is now an elder statesman. When a reporter asked him this question one time, he said he clocked either 48 or 50 at the end of his second tenure as governor. I believe he feels that at his age he should be providing political advice and grooming younger ones,” he said.
    Nkwoji said people were clamouring for the younger ones to take over governance as it happened in France, Australia and other climes, adding that Chief Igbinedion was supporting the idea of the young ones to take over the mantle of leadership.
    “He is doing that in practical terms by being on the sidelines encouraging younger ones to take up the mantle of leadership. He is doing that perfectly well, and to me, I think that is the way to go. 
    “Chief Igbinedion was a businessman before coming into politics and having done his best by uplifting the living standard of Edo people for eight years, he feels he has to leave active politics and go back to the business world where he was before joining politics.
    “Chief Lucky Igbinedion is a man many people misunderstand, but I am happy that people are beginning to realise that he means well for the state and the people. 
    “Every government has its priority. He came to power after decades of military misrule and workers and pensioners were owed backlog of salaries. When he came on board, he cleared everything and gave people new lease of life,” he said.
    Nkwoji explained that the former governor left government without leaving any debt for the incoming administration.
    “He did his best. He established Usen Polytechnic, gave people new lease of life, among others. To me, Chief Lucky Igbinedion remains a man of the people,” he concluded

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