Oshiomhole Leaving in a Blaze of Glory


Canticles… By  Eddy Odivwri, Email: eddy.odivwri@thisdaylive.com 08053069356

It would have been a political disaster if Governor Oshiomhole could not produce his successor.

What kind of disaster? It would have been taken as one of those things in politics. You either win or lose, just as it has happened in America. Would you now conclude that the Obama’s tenure is a disaster just because he could not produce a successor who is a democrat?

You don’t understand. America is not Nigeria. If you aggregate all that Oshiomhole did in eight years to the Edo people, not being able to produce his successor would have been taken as punishment for a good job done.

But didn’t you hear that Edo State is one of the states with the highest debt profile in Nigeria?

Really? Which one is better: to owe debts and you can point to many laudable things and projects for which the loans were taken or to pile up loans without seeing what they were used for? Let me tell you. Nigerian politicians are not as charitable. They will always discredit whatever their opponent did or does. Nothing is ever good enough in the eye of the opponent. That is one of the banes of our politics.

Were it not so, seeing all that Oshiomhole has done in Edo State, no right thinking person will not be singing his praise.

You speak as if you do not hear the groan of the downtrodden Edo people. Are you not aware of the loud groan of the pensioners who said Oshiomhole has refused to pay them their little pension? Of what value is the good road or great school to a man who is hungry and cannot meet his basic physiological needs?

Again, you have just abridged information on the matter. Do you know the pile of pensioners’ debt inherited by Oshiomhole from previous PDP-run governments? Do you know that the Oshiomhole government has paid substantial part of the pension debt? Pensioners’ matter is work-in-progress. There is a template to deal with that by his successor.

I don’t care what your argument is. Any government that puts the well-being of his citizenry on the back seat is not worth the trust of the people. The comrade governor cared very little about human capital development. He wanted to play to the gallery by building roads and physical structures just to earn the praise of men, at the expense of the people’s well-being. Or have you forgotten the Go-and-die saga? Is that the heart of a man that has the people as central in his government?

Don’t trivialise issues. We have long moved beyond those mischievous platitudes you are trying to reinvent. You forget that Oshiomhole it was who employed 10,000 youths in his first term. Which other government before him ever did that? And you shock me with your queer analysis. Those hospitals, schools, roads, and many other facilities which President Mohammadu commissioned during the week, will be used by who? Goats and sheep? Is it for nothing that an ascetic and fastidious Buhari declared that he would need Oshiomhole’s service at the centre (Abuja)? Look, there is a good balance between infrastructure development and human capital development. Or did you hear that Edo State is among the states that can’t pay workers’ salaries, like many other states? Come on, man, be charitable!

I wonder when last you were in Benin. Do you know what the Benin residents went through during the rains? Is that the evidence of the Edo poster-boy governor, you are presenting? Did you not see houses and cars that got submerged in floods because of poor drainage system?

And for crying out loud, did you see how bad the road that connects the Oba palace with Ekenwan road is? Do you know that many inner roads are in terrible shapes even in Benin-city, the state capital? Can you therefore imagine how terrible the roads are in other towns like Ekpoma, Uromi etc.?

Don’t be cynical. No one government is able to do just everything at the same time, especially in the face of lean resources. Government is a continuum. Oshiomhole’s successor, Godwin Obaseki will continue from where the comrade governor left off. That’s how governments roll! Those who have no political jaundice are able to see the many highways and inner roads that Oshiomhole built. The airport road in Benin-city, for instance, is one of such example. Many communities outside Benin-city which did not have roads all these years are glad to have tarred driveways down to their communities now. Go to Edo north, and Edo south, and you will understand. My brother, it is just you who is choosing to see the bottle as half-empty and not half-full.

Ok, let me ask you: What is the sense of establishing another university in a state that already has five Universities? There is the federal-owned University of Benin, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi; Federal Institute of Construction Technology, Uromi; and some privately-owned ones such as Igbinedion University, Okada; Benson Idahosa University; Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa; Shaka Polytechnic; and Light House Polytechnic all in Edo State. And there is also Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; School of Technology and Management Sciences, Usen; College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi; Michael Imoudu Institute of Physical Education, Afuze; School of Health Technology, Benin City; College of Education, Ekiadolor; College of Education, Igueben; and School of Nursing and Midwifery, Benin City.

So why add another educational yoke to the state in the name of Edo State University, Iyamo? Is that not a sign of poor prioritisation?

You are simply implacable. Let me ask you, at the time the late Professor Ambrose Ali established the then Bendel State University (now Ambrose Ali University), was the University of Benin not there and running? Look, it is a function of vision which every leader should have. You will soon find out in the nearest future the wisdom and vision that led to the establishment of the Edo State University, Iyamo.

Whatever you say, I can assure you that many people do not believe Oshiomhole is a noble personality. Many think he manipulated the election that produced Obaseki. Many believe he was not exactly honest with the state treasury. Many believe he was clannish. Many believe…

(cuts in) Enough! He is a politician. He has enemies, otherwise called opposition. They are bound to see any sweet-smelling offering as a burnt sacrifice. That is the acrimony in Nigerian politics. The more discerning people of Edo State and beyond do know and celebrate the years of Oshiomhole, and that is why his service is crowned with glorious finishing garnished with the onyx of excellence and praise.