• Edo Boy London

ENA Convention 2018: Big Gathering, Big Responsibility, Big Vacuum!

When Nigerian leaders meet in Government houses or Asorock to discuss Nigerian issues, the Nigerian people feel disinterested because history has proved Nigerian leaders do not care about their people. They only play lip service. Nigerians Worldwide are currently in too much mess created by Nigerian leaders to believe anything a Nigerian Governor, Senator, Local Government Chairman, Commissioner, President or Vice President have to say or have said for years. Last week in Abuja the British Prime Minister said it well, over 90 million Nigerians were living below $1.90 a day, making Nigeria ”home to more poor people that any other nation in the world”. This is the truth.

In Canada this week, 31st August- 3rd September 2018, the Edo National Association (ENA) held its 27th annual convention in Toronto, Canada. A 3-day event attended by Edo families across America and dignitaries from Edo State. This year’s ENA theme was “Edo Youth Empowerment” and it was blessed by our royal father, Oba Ewuare II.

The usual glamourous celebrations displaying Benin culture and tradition was in full view, as was the flow of food and drinks over the 3-day period. The leaders of ENA spoke about their agenda for next year, the dignitaries from Edo State spoke and everyone is gone again for another year. This year the governor’s delegates spoke about Emotan Gardens housing estate. How wonderful.

The issues with ENA is not a shortage of blessings from our Royal father or a lack of first class dignitaries from Edo state, nor is it ENA’s own robust agendas but a lack of courage to address serving Edo Governments, present at the convention, about their failings in Edo State. This is ENA’s weakness. Also, the progress made by ENA on their many endeavours is very patchy.

2 years ago, Adams Oshiomhole attended the ENA convention as governor of Edo state. In 2016 ENA’s programme included: The member fund, political action committee, park initiative, community health centre, medical mission, women summit, youth movement, Children’s program, cultural programs. Two years on and how has ENA fared in its objectives? What experiences and issues did they encounter? How is the Edo State Government assisting ENA? How can the Edo government assist ENA and other diaspora organisations? Well if certain ENA task has being achieved with or without the government , let us start by celebrating and promoting those before moving to another theme?

In 2018 what has ENA done for Edos caught up in human trafficking? Did any Edo National representative go to Italy, Libya or Edo state? Did ENA send tea, coffee or blankets to the detention centres? Did they build a skills acquisition center in Edo state? Did ENA put pressure on the Edo government to help other Edos stuck in Libya to get back home? What about the security challenges and crime in Edo state increasing and preventing Edo diaspora investment? Why is there no Edo leader coming to the ENA convention to explain why they have let Edo people down? Why is ENA not lecturing the Edo leaders on accountability and curbing excesses

Over the last 4 years, the ENA convention has hosted the biggest names from Edo state. All Edo serving governors, deputy governors, senators and commissioners have been to this convention. What is ENA’s verdict on each Governor’s tenure and what have they done to express their gratitude or dissatisfaction?

In current times, ENA giving Edo State delegates the floor to talk about Emotan housing is a clear sign of disconnect between ENA and Edo people. It makes you question why there has never been a statement from ENA condemning recent activities in Edo state, including leaving Edos in Libya who were begging to be helped to come back home. I am a tad sad because Tony Kabaka’s wife was present at this ENA Convention but she did not get an opportunity to speak. Her husband’s issue with the Governor would have been an immediate hit with Edo people rather than Emotan housing.

Caution is needed, because a convention the Edos in America created with good intent now serves partly as a political whitewashing ground for Edo Governments, ironically, in the midst of Edo people who escaped the hardship caused by these leaders.

Let us applaud ENA for putting together a convention that Edos in the United Kingdom or Europe have not been able to put together for over 25 years. Applaud ENA for getting Edos to a point of organisation, co-operation and strength. After that, it seems ENA executives are more interested in using ENA Conventions to get close to the Edo ruling class rather than using the convention to impact Edo lives.

Come 2019, show us numbers of Edo youths in affordable employment, providing for themselves in Edo state via programmes from this ENA 2018 convention, even if it’s only 1 person, we will salute! That is Youth Empowerment.

Edo Boy, London

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