Last week, exactly a year before another round of gubernatorial contest in the ‘Heart Beat of the Nation’, it's shocking the entire Edo landscape boils with political tensions like Papua New Guinea jungle bristling with head hunters and primitive blood-curling human vampires.
This is the time the governor should have been reeling out all his achievements, three years down the road but the opposite is the case. In all, Edo people are the victims. It's most tragic and a matter of conjecture how a peace-living state becomes a furnace of a state with the image of blood embracing government, orchestrating incendiaries and banditry by street urchins.
The polity is not helped by counter measures from sidelined APC warlords who have positioned themselves militantly to do battle with the governor unto death. Most shockingly is how the APC has suddenly become wracked by tension and mutual hostilities in less than four years of Obaseki's tenure in office. That's the dark ironies and a compelling tribute to the governor's elitist grandstanding; acclaimed technocratic superiority over politicians and the tyranny of politics of imposition.
I cautioned at the twilight of 2016 governorship race where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole threw caution overboard, curiously throwing democracy and its majesterial ethos under the bus for Godwin Obaseki to ride the roughshod. I titled the piece, "Edo 2016: Clowns In Search of Crown".
Governor Oshiomhole's reaction to the article where I suggested to him to allow a level playing field so that liberated individuals like Engr Chris Ogiemwonye, Comrade Peter Esele and others who are profile in excellence and integrity to emerge earned me the comrade's caustic tongue: "Comrade Erasmus why is it that militancy runs in your family?".
"The other day, Comrade Ikhide Ifidon your cousin and President of Student Union Government presided over the burning of three comrade buses inside University of Benin; now you're writing trash about Obaseki," he roared.
That piece erupted unprecedented anger in Comrade Oshiomhole and shattered over two decades relationship we had built because I noted certain prinpricks that suggest that Obaseki will throw him under the bus, just the same way he did to democracy. Now, Governor Obaseki is shouting himself lame that Edo people detest godfatherism. The question is since when did Oshiomhole become godfather and how?
Obviously, Governor Obaseki has set the machinery in place to use the APC National Chairman as burnt offering. The second question is how far can he go? Governor Obaseki is simply testing Oshiomhole's capacity to navigate his ways out of political crisis; or his talent for absorbing the heat; or his mastery of the mechanics of negotiating skills. Even in the midst of overwhelming public supports Obaseki enjoys outside APC party structures, the governor is not helped by his less-than-charismatic speaking style; a known inherited reputation for destroying his benefactors; his mindset as a scold who glories in others travail as a self-parading master-of-the-universe and a demagogue.
As we speak, the charges of deceit against Obaseki's government is stronger and infinitely evidential than those levelled against his predecessor. Besides, under the deliberately fractured All Progressives Congress the governor's feeble and unelectable streak tarnishes his awful strategy to whip everyone into line. Strong man or arm twisting political opponents is not a leadership strategy, it's a sign of political impotence.
The governor seems to be acting like a typical slave raider who puts the entire state to sword because of his second term ambition. His government has been dishing out crumbs to political touts who go about cracking protesting activists’ skulls for demanding to know the actual owners of the allegedly sold Central Hospital, instead of creating sustainable jobs for the mass of Edo people.
Edo State virtually under siege. Only two days ago while the governor was at the New Era College churning out half-truth about his achievements at the 'Ala Gho Daro Submit', over 200 newly recruited political thugs took over King's Square and the state House of Assembly's premises shooting sporadically into the air from 6:00am in the morning till 6:00pm to show his maximum power of political dominance!
How Governor Obaseki who once prided himself as a technocrat suddenly abandoned the course of governance, settles for scam, brigade, touts-buying, violence and bloodfest will ignite thorough research in the political fields of study in due course. Even though the governor has performed credibly well by renovating dilapidated structures in parts of Benin City one of the biggest scams of Mr. Obaseki's fraud that has constituted a museum of misgovernment is the 200,000 jobs scam he promised to create at electioneering in 2016.
Focusing on job creation in 2016 from his manifesto at his inaugural speech at Ogbe Stadium, the Governor intoned: "Within four years, we will create over 200,000 new jobs across the state through agriculture, entrepreneurship schemes, attracting investments for the development of industries and technical and vocational skills development. We will publish a template to be jointly used by the public and the civil society to track the achievement of this objective".
A few days ago, in one of the state's media bizarres blushes comes with this outright falsehood and mind manipulation gambit thus: "Edo jobs was birthed as a practical and strategic step to realise his Excellency, Governor Obaseki's campaign promise of 200, 000 jobs to unemployed residents in the state. Of the 200,000 jobs, about 90,000 jobs have been created so far". With above statement, it’s pretty clear that one is bound to suffer mental deterioration when you call yourself "Excellency". It's a shame that Mr Obaseki is already campaigning for second term in office in spite of his woeful failure.
A check across the 18 Local Government Councils and 192 delineated wards of the state exposed the ‘technocrime’ in a supposedly technocratic government. A breakdown of the fathom jobs created by the governor across the state would mean that 5,000 jobs were created in each of the 18 local council, and 468 jobs plus created respectively in each ward, going by the 90,000 media hype jobs!
There is no doubt that the governor has found himself in cul de sac having erroneously misread a written script of 20,000 jobs for 200,000 at his inaugural campaign debut in 2016. The costly mistake which ought to have been amended instantly has been the governor's singular albatross, aside the mismanagement of the relationship between himself and his benefactor, Comrade Oshiomhole.
As the saying goes, when you tell one lie, you need a million more lies to keep yourself temporarily on the spot to save your face. Governor Obaseki alongside his handlers know that even the presidency hasn't created 90,000 jobs in the last five years, let alone in Edo State where the capital city is virtually under water for lack of road construction, where all the tertiary institutions, including College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi which has been shut down indefinitely since the governor assumed office.
Two major pronouncements of the governor at electioneering would have helped to furnish his job creation plans if he was prepared for leadership or committed to his own words: "We revive moribund industries within the first year in office, we will restructure and resolve all outstanding debt obligations with Bendel Brewery, Edo Line and any other state-owned enterprise.
"We will also conclude ongoing efforts to complete and commission industries initiated by the PDP government but abandoned before commissioning including Uromi Cassava Factory and Fertilizer Factory in Auchi".
Three-year down the road, it has been motion without movement and empty twitches. On February 3, 2017, the governor inaugurated power generation committee. The six-man Joint Development Committee to implement the Edo Electrifying Initiative for electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the state was a scam. It was the first and the last time the committee ever sat!
Again on the 11th of the same month in 2017, the governor made another pronouncement to make Edo medical tourism destination. Edo people are still in the wilderness as to what the governor meant by Edo medical tourism since no cottage clinic has been built ever since he took office. More also because even the Central hospital that has been left to decay for nearly three years has been allegedly sold to the governor's business interest.
Besides, Governor Obaseki is yet to explain to Edo people the outcome of the constituted committee on the Tayo Akpata University. On the 2nd of February, 2017 the governor set up the committee to kick off the development plan to make Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor technologically driven and benchmarked on global standards. Again, it turns out to be one of those fraud where the tax payers' money dedicated to the educational needs of the people took flight and birthed in privately owned company by those in government.
On February 13, Edo people were treated to yet another broken promise by the governor that he has already begun to construct 3,000km of road using concrete technology.
A further check across the state revealed that nobody was trained apart from minor experiment around Ugbague Street in the heart of Benin. Rather, it is one of the usual MOUs future governmental dreams of the governor meant to keep deceiving the people. The governor's wish has been that the people should forget another promise he made towards stable power supply. On March 16, 2017, he signed power purchase agreement, promising uninterrupted power supply across the state, especially in strategic areas, stressing that Edo State is one of the transmission hubs and home of electricity in Nigeria.
“We should be able to deliver 24/7 uninterrupted power to all government establishments located along Sapele Road axis including Government House, Secretariat, Court Complex, Central hospital, House of Assembly and also the Palace”, the governor said. It's now dawned on the governor that it has also become a promise gone awry as he faces the ballot a few months from now.
What of the spirited advertisement that Edo Government is collaborating with MAN to create industrial park? On February 2nd, 2017 Governor Obaseki declared that in the next twelve months the state will establish a real industrial park with 24-hour electricity that will enhance the development of the state. It's obvious that the industrial park is another costly MUO induced jokes.
How about the 15th of April 2017 Sobe Farm scam and others across the 18 local government councils that costs the state over N5bnn without a single grain of maize harvested? All the grandstanding about Accelerated Agricultural Development Programme in Sobe, Owan West Local Government Area of the state were hoaxes designed to keep the people hoping which put more money in the hands of a few individuals who have been massaging the governor's ego that he's now his own new godfather.
Was the governor testing the resolve of the Edo people on the 5th of April, 2017 when he said Edo was already collaborating with National Library Association to revive libraries in order to rethink and restore the library system in the state. Was Obaseki joking when he visited Amahor waterside on the 14th of April, 2017 to explores tourist potentials to ascertain the tourism potential of two rivers which formed a confluence at Amahor town in Igueben Local Government Area of the state.
It must be what the governor's transducers called technocrime or MOUs conglomerates of fraud when Obaseki said on the 15th of May, 2017 that Benin City central bus terminals in continuation of Comrade Oshiomhole's government to decongest and clean up Edo State, after inspecting the city centre, Ring Road and its environs, where he moved to recover government properties. What can we say about his promises on the 4th of May 2017 to decongest major roads in Benin City by relocating illegal street traders and to build ultramodern markets across Benin City? The same Governor Obaseki, last week handpicked few women whom he called market women to endorse his second term bid even when Uwelu and Satana markets were raised down few months ago without a single fire service operative to the rescue.
The scam is even more gangly when Governor Obaseki reeled out Edo Housing Business plan on the 29th of April that his administration was ready and open for housing business and ready to tackle the challenges facing the sector to ensure that Edo people got affordable houses by 2019.
He made the disclosure at the close of a 2-day workshop on Housing/Real Estate themed: “Quest for Adequate and Sustainable Real Estate for Edo People”, organised by the state government.
It's the same empty MOUs driven rhetoric that propelled the governor on June 13th, 2017 to state a stoic but hollow promise to have Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Toyota, Sumitomo, Yamaha, Yokogawa, Panasonic and the Japanese Trade Organisation (JETRO) to have their plants planted before the end of 2019. Edo people can't locate the place where the assembly plants have been planted by these automobile giants. Only the governor and his team know where they're situated.
Perhaps it's only Edo State Government that knows that it is generating 3000 megawatts in collaboration with Siemens AG or has been generating 1000 megawatts of electricity annually when it held a shareholders' forum on the 10th of July 2017 to identify the challenges in the power sector of the country.
It's only Edo State branch of Nigeria Red Cross Society that is our witness for Obaseki's administration claim that it has actually built emergency response system for providing First Aid for accident victims across the 18 local government councils as promised on the 13th June, 2017 for the purpose of repositioning sports activities in the state.
The received truth is that democracy has no room for a leader that is so detached from the people and party democracy. The governor should stop blaming Comrade Oshiomhole for everything that is wrong with Edo State. Obaseki should take all the excuses off his manifesto manual and face reality. In “How to run a country: A 10-point manifesto for leaders who stand – and want to deliver,” The Independent (UK), says, “The wrong way to achieve a legacy is to claim: ‘My predecessor was an idiot and my successor is a traitor.’” In Obaseki's apathetic and primitive three years of misgovernment, Edo State literarily collapsed. Cultism and insecurity have laid the state low; killings and kidnapping have been on the increase.
Who can doubt the governor's penchant for broken promises when on his first day in office paid a visit to Benin Technical College to renovate and fix the much needed vocational education centre. Three years after, the government efforts at fixing the school hasn't yielded any result.
Oshiomhole's major undoing as a maker of men is the fact that he has majorly made more enemies who pretended to be friendly with him than those who genuinely loved him. Godwin Obaseki has proved as a disastrous faker not only by being sly and serpentine, but a betrayer who has been striding and freezing state's resources, even when Oshiomhole was governor.
If Afrinvest, a company owned by Governor Obaseki, could corner N9.8bn in the first tranche of World Bank loan as consultancy fee for securing the loan for Edo State Government as Chairman of Economic Team under Comrade Oshiomhole's administration, then there can be no worse demagoguery than that. Edo people need a better governor and a maker going forward, not a faker.
Email: [email protected], Follow me on Twitter @ikhide_erasmus1