Eben Enasco Kingsley
The rising profile of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State and his growing list of achievements in just under three years in office is transforming the governor into a socio-economic reformer, a trend which is sending cold shivers down the spins of a handful of insecure politicians in the state, who are now throwing feeble, infantile attacks to whittle the governor’s glowing image.
These apprehensive politicians have been hurling jabs in the media that can best be described as a storm in a teacup, as their attempts have fallen flat and exposed them to be scavengers seeking to curry unmerited favours and boxing the thin air for relevance.
The Obaseki brand has grown beyond what these set of people can comprehend, hence their attempts at blackmail or subterfuge have left them even more befuddled as to how they can unravel him. Their feeble attempts were to fly kites of a disaffection between the governor and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, but when that didn’t stick, they attempted to cause a ruckus in the party, hinting of splinter group being loyal Oshiomhole, to curry favours for themselves. That also fell flat, with all their tantrums not even landing a scratch to the governor’s looming image.
Governor Obaseki’s declaration on return from his annual leave that there was no skirmish between him and Comrade Oshiomhole, exposed these persons for who they truly are – greedy opportunists seeking to milk the state’s meagre resources. The media campaign was sponsored by a small, vile group of politicians in the state chapter of the APC, who were angling to get him to share the money meant for the people to them. Party leaders have also come out in defense of the governor, pointing out that the interest of the people far supersedes that of a greedy lot.
The governor has been particularly unequivocal about his stance, making it known at every fora since his return that the state’s resources will never be used to service the parochial interests of a few, who have over the years, grown a fat appetite to be serviced with state resources.
A groundswell of opinion in support of the governor’s stance has been building ever since, coupled with political intrigues steered by the gravitation of political opponents to the governor’s humane style of governance.
On the streets of Benin and across Edo State, the governor is amassing followers by the day due to his glowing achievement in different spheres of the state’s economy, notably in basic education, infrastructure, law and order, workers’ welfare, institutional reforms and deployment of technology in government processes. The refrain is often that the governor doesn’t make noise. But much of that is tied to his peculiar carriage and a civilized, methodological approach to governance, which the people are warming up to, and which has pitched him against a fast receding culture of sleaze perpetuated by a few individuals in and around government.
While it is healthy to have opposing views in a gathering, the end game of these people who are displeased with the new culture in Edo State is what should be troubling to any right-thinking person. That wanton rape of the state’s resources to the detriment of every other hallmark of progress is the ultimate goal of these few persons calls their sanity to question.
They have constituted themselves into naysayers and spew multifarious, obnoxious lies, coming in form of crying wolf over naught and making a ruckus where they should join in further strengthening the delivery of good governance to the people, whether as objective critics – if they chose such roles – or as partners in progress.
The state government, through the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, has also come out to lend credence to the fact that the supposed rift with the state government by a few individuals, is only the antics of a greedy few. The handwriting is on the wall that the government has no intension to part with the people’s patrimony, no matter the scheming of these few individuals, who have gone extreme lengths to vent their anger.
In recent weeks, opposition bigwigs from the People Democratic Party (PDP) such as Esama of Benin, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Chief Tom Ikimi and Comrade Osamede Adun also known as Bob Izua have come forward to throw their weight behind the governor. They came with glowing praise of what the governor’s achievements, which they can attest to even though they are on the other side of the divide.
Though many would argue that the endorsement from Chief Igbinedion, is suspect because of what many arguably say was a bad outing by his son when he was governor, it is not a gesture that should be taken with a pinch of salt. This is because of the stature of the Esama of Benin as one of the last standing in the pantheon of ‘Kingmakers’ in Edo State, with the passing of the colossus from Esanland, Chief Tony Anenih, and Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia.
Also, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has joined in lauding the Governor Obaseki’s sterling performance, noting that his support for the governor was from the knowledge of what the Benin City looked like in the past and was impressed with how the governor has quietly changed the fortunes of the state capital.
While it may be advisable for this group of prowling politicians to sheath their swords in the face of overwhelming support for the governor across and beyond party lines, as their continued affront would be going against the will of the people, it is also expedient to assert that only delivery of veritable governance can imbue the government with the confidence to insist on prudence and transparency, as the Obaseki government is currently doing.
As the political intrigues continue to play out, it is instructive that the governor and his government have maintained the stance that the state’s resources are not to be frittered and the verdict is out for the people to pick out those ogling their patrimony with the intention to deprive them of much-needed development.
––Kingsley, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Benin City, the Edo State capital.