WHERE IS LOUIS ODION FROM?
My attention has been drawn to the write up of one Loius Odion. I understand that he is a columnist with the Nation, but chose to use his privilege to vilify my person on the pretext of responding to my clarion call for the restablishment of the Benin political class. He accused me of ethnicization of the contest between Oyegun and Oshomhole for the post of the National Chairman. For God sake, we all belong to one ethnic group or the order and I have a duty to defend my tribe of origin against the overbearing influence of fortune seeking strangers tending to treat my ethnic group as a conquered territory. The points I raised in my said article were never really dealt with in his response.
The bad news for Loius Odion is that my article was well received by the target audience and the renaissance has begun with various Benin groups gearing up to change the political narratives of the Benin people.
Louis Odion tried hard to deride my person for no reason. Beyond the invective language used in his piece, he gave the impression that my write up was founded on imaginary malice against Oshomhole for failing to support my senatorial bid when I approached him for help in APC. Odion was dead wrong. I never sought a senatorial seat on the platform of APC. I did on the platform of PDP. In any case, Odion’s story confirms my call for Benin political renaissance. If indeed Oshomhole can influence how a senate seat is occupied in Benin province from Iyamoh, a village in Edo North Senatorial District, it is enough reason to justify the views I expressed publicly.
The most shocking of what Odion wrote about is that he is a “conscientious Bini”. How is he a Benin man? It is true that the Benin heritage is proudly attractive and many, including Odion applaud this. That does not make Odion a Benin man. Those who knew him when he ran media errands for Chief Tony Anenih maintain that Odion claimed to have hailed from Ewu in Ishan land. Some of his professional colleagues have also revealed that Odion confided in them that his ancestral home is in Ondo State and they are prepared to bet on this.
However, when he was to serve as a Commissioner midway into Oshomhole’s regime, he was transferred to a village called Odiguetue, a trading outlet between Edo and Ondo States. Odiguetue is a village in Ovia North East LGA , within Benin province in Edo State. This was after his rejection by Edo Central ACN leaders on the ground that he was not from Ozallah in Esan West LGA as he claimed. This development made it clear to all that his ancestry was difficult to trace. By this time, Hon. Orobosa Omo-Ojo had already been given the slot of Commissioner from the same LGA. In the end, that LGA had two Commissioners within the said period. One, a son of the soil and the other, a complete stranger. How then is Odion a Benin man? No blue blooded Benin man would have written what Odion wrote on his column against Chief Oyegun, irrespective of what drips into his mouth from the honey pot of his puppeteer.
I may not be as educated as Odion, but I challenge him to a television debate on any topic of his choice in order to refute his innuendo about the composition of a stark illiterate or whatever he meant by that. I admire Odion’s hard work and how he developed himself from an office typist to what he is now. That is not a reason to disrespect others. Like Odion, I worked very hard for my Ph.D.
I am a responsible family man with a wife and children and do not move around pepper-souping as Odion has insinuated. Above all, I am a serious minded person and not passion boy for any fellow man. I run a complete and disciplined home as a true Benin man. I do not lack the strength of character to publicly hold my views on contemporary political issues and those who know me can attest to this. Odion must learn to be humble with the pen and work hard to acquire the values that traditional African men are known for.
Upon the completion of my tenure in the House, I returned to manage my law firm. I have a second address and therefore not a crass opportunist. I stand by my publicly expressed views on the need for the Benin People to resist Oshomhole’s over bearing political influence on the Benin majority in Edo State. I am confident that this would be achieved soon.
I will not be deterred by the likes of Odion who think that a newspaper column is their preserve and they must use it at will to lampoon others for expressing rationale and pragmatic views that they do not agree with. Great columnists make their points without needlessly being scornful of the authors whose work, may have attracted their commentaries.
Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa.