Friday, May 8, 2009


Prospect for Bio Tchané’s candidacy more likely than ever

During his short trip in Benin, Bio Tchané has let hints appear both in his address and in gestures which might suggest he would definitely be a contender in March 2011 presidential race.

Alfred Cossi Chodaton

For a while, there has been a lot rumors coming out about his possible candidacy. Moreover, many opposition politicians have voiced their support to this possible candidature.

Of course, so far he himself has never expressed publically any opinion about his alleged willingness in taking part in the race. However, it was before he came in Cotonou on a short trip. On the sidelines of the signing of a loan agreement for the funding of the road line which links Djougou and Ouaké, Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, President of West African Development Bank (BOAD) held a press conference alongside, the WAEMU Global Economic Crisis Committee Chairman, Soumaïla Cissé at Ibis Hotel in Cotonou.

Answering the questions of the journalists about his alleged willingness to be a contender in March 2011 presidential race, Bio Tchané said, « I am aware that this issue is a concern to many of our compatriots in the country. However, elections are still two years ahead and I am a citizen like everyone else. May God allow us to live until then! »

Such a statement can be seen as a sign that the prospect for Bio Tchané’s candidacy is more likely than ever before. Bio Tchané means he, as a citizen of Benin, does not rule out the possibility of being a candidate.

Apart from this clue in his speech, one should not fail to mention the noticeable presence of some politicians who have been urging him to respond positively to the call of the citizens on him to be a candidate in March 2011 presidential race. One could refer to MP, Zoumarou Wallis, one the strongest adversaries of Boni Yayi. Last weekend on a television channel, Zoumarou Wallis once again pointed out the irreversibility of Bio Tchané’s candidacy. Former MP, Assane Seibou also attended the press conference and confirmed this candidacy when questioned by journalist. The former Minister Boubacar Arouna was also present.

After the press conference, Bio Tchané went on to an outlet located behind the National Health Training Center (CNHU), commonly called "Morgue", pretending he had been there to get some newspapers to find out about the news. Everyone knows that this is a political microcosm, which is the proper place where he could gauge his popularity. In fact, the area always booms with folk of drivers of taxi-motorbikes from all political sides gathering all the time to talk about politics. It is clear that he went there to appreciate the pulse prevailing and appraise the admiration he enjoys with this social group.

The West African Development Bank, which Bio Tchané heads as Boni Yayi’s successor, has granted Benin a USD16-million loan for the construction of the road linking Djougou-Ouaké to the country's border with Togo, according to official sources. This road construction will help open up the north-central part of the country and increase trade between Benin and its neighbors in the sub-region.

This loan might also be seen as one more sign indicating Bio Tchané is willing to respond positively to people’s call. Djougou is his hometown and as such, a prospect for him to be a candidate cannot be credible unless he gets the support of his hometown. Hence, he must use his position to get their backing. It is what he seems to be doing right now.

In early February 2009, Bio Tchané made a short trip to Djougou. It was a trip, which had been seen in the media as a test to gauge his popularity with the people of his hometown. The test at the time turned to be a success because the population was reported to have gathered along the way as his convoy passed throughout the city. At the great mosque of the city, he met the elders and the local dignitaries before holding a meeting with the municipal council, which counts on him for the development of Djougou.

Bio Tchané is also said to have the backing of both G13 Alliance, which is among the opposition forces at work for a change in Government in 2011 and the former Head of State, Mathieu Kérékou who is still an influential figure on Benin political scene.

No comments: