•   Dr Loretta Oduware Ogboro-Okor

Let me quickly confess that I am emotionally compromised when it comes to this Edo State elections. Two of my very close friends are in the race. One has come out very boldly and the other one has not really raised up his hands.

Let me confess further, that I would most likely put my flag on the one that has not come out just yet everything being equal. The last time we spoke, he said-Duke be rest assured that once I take a decision, you will be the first to know and I say OK oooo, my Lord.

Then I got a powerful reach out from super intelligent Dr Loretta Oduware Ogboro-Okor, a Bini princess. She tells me emphatically that - I am going to be Governor and I say hopefully and she corrects me - I will be Governor and I say OK oo.

She now goes on a persistent push for me to listen to her. Like I said, I am compromised and in this kind of situation, I run away but my Princess who is a consultant Obstetrician - Gynecologist and who has practiced across international borders and who is also married to a Brain Surgeon is not one to give up easily.

Finally she gets me this morning and we go into a very deep and assuredly encouraging conversation. I had just finished my morning work out, in a futile bid to burn the excess sugar and fat a weekend of obsessive consumption of Afang and Fufu had dumped on me when her call came in.

Duke, I have followed your writings and must say to you very quickly that as a poet, I know you will understand where I am coming from and why I am going to be the next Governor of Edo State.

I am liking this, the confidence and the calmness in her voice makes me want to listen more. Duke, 150 women die daily in Nigeria from child birth. Edo State is contributing very aggressively to that figure.

As a child, I lost my dad very quickly and used to follow my mum to the market. The traders both male and female had a very high mortality as a result of the sedentary nature of their jobs, poor sanitary conditions and relatively no access to primary health. This situation still pervades till today making my decision to be the next Governor very compulsive.

As she speaks, I listen intently as her voice wafts thru my ears, energizing my walk and pumping a lot of energy into me.

When my father died, they used to taunt me she continued. Why not go to Italy, why suffer your mum, the people said. But she wasn't one for all the frivolous engagements that provided a short cut to life fulfilment even with its apparent risks.

So she hunkered down, remained focused qualified and built an admirable career that has seen her garner so much international respect that her voice now carries a lot of weight within internationally respected circles.

How do you now plan to engage the twin devil's that dog Edo State, I asked?. Human trafficking into Prostitution and cultism. She laughed-Duke "wetin woman fit do easily, he go hard for man to do, no worry she countered".

Something in her voice made me calm down as she explained the concept of forced criminality. Provide jobs, empower youths and engage the forces and you will see the issues tackled she averred. In fact, I am currently running a PhD program in international law focusing on criminality to better empower myself on this matter, she added. 

Edgar I could not have been the vice President of the UNIBEN Medical Students without understanding cultism, it's ethos and it's driving nature. Leave, Edgar I be Edo woman.

On zoning which is a contentious issue in Edo politics, she reveals that her father  is Bini and  her mother is Ishan allowing her bestride the two zones in contention but I counter that in a Patrimonial setting like Edo State, her fathers progenity stands.

As expected she didn't agree and pushed very vehemently against that notion insisting that both zones and indeed any group agitating on this matter should not be taken lightly. They must be listened to and in the end, let the people make their preferred choice. 

She also quickly added that the people are with her and her party which brings me to the politics of Labour Party in Edo State.

She wrote the LP manifesto regarding Health care for the Obi - Datti campaign. She is well grounded in the politics of the Labour party and isn't afraid of my brother Olu Akpata who is looking entrenched. She is so confident that she is looking beyond the primaries and have forged strategies that she will not tell me on how she will engage and win the battle.

As the conversation comes to an end, I ask her the inevitable. Men no go dey disturb you for road like this? She laughs and responds "that is a natural thing na". Men must be men, but over the years, she had come to forge a winning strategy of lightly turning down the advances while not loosing the friendship.

Something tells me she would more than need this skill in an updated and strengthened fashion, if she is going to achieve her goal of being the next Governor of Edo State cos as they say, Edo no be.....


 Duke of Shomolu