OBASEKI’S OLIVE BRANCH

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Godwin Obaseki

John Mayaki urges the governor to apologise to members of the state assembly who were denied from representing their constituencies

Happy times are here for Godwin Obaseki, who rode into victory, courtesy of his Rivers State counterpart Nyesom Wike. Obaseki has since been more vocal and less busy than he was leading up to the election. He is no longer turning down interviews on grounds of having ‘an important meeting’. He cannot be begrudged if, intoxicated by his recent electoral victory, he is keen and ready to preach on every pulpit that beckons. He, however, must talk with caution and not chatter like a man given to all the prolixity of a canary.

On his most recent outing, he displayed a most excellent species of motor-mouthed pontification and acerbic attributions upon the very sources of his political relevance, perhaps a product of his recent tutelage under his newfound mentor, Governor Wike. He says Nigeria’s democracy is threatened by APC chieftains such as Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He flung words like ‘non-constitutional’, ‘anti-democratic’, ‘fox’, ‘vicious’, ‘evil’ and all of that all over the place in describing these time-tested benefactors of both himself and the people, entirely forgetting how consonant the expressions were to his own very actions and conducts since his emergence upon the scene of governance in Edo. To think himself a democrat, he clearly needed to have his memory rebooted!

If Obaseki has any iota of charity, as he claims, he has never displayed such. Sure enough, the PDP will have a taste of him in due course. In any case, it is a measure of his weird variant of democracy that lawmakers-elect would be herded and forced to participate (with one clad in shorts) in a nocturnal, underhand inauguration. A governor with overt predilection for lording wrongs quite gleefully, openly and frequently must indeed be charitable!

Obaseki wanted Frank Okiye to be speaker of the State House of Assembly, but 19 of the 24 elected members wanted Victor Edoror instead. To actualise his narrow-minded and tyrannical target, Obaseki, claiming to be democratic and godfather-phobic, got just nine of a 24-member conclave to accede to his desires. Whole four years, it was this ‘nine’ who partnered Obaseki to unloosen most despicable minority rule on the people of Edo, with telling consequences. It was dastardly enough that the executive arm of government would so flagrantly poke its nose into the affairs of the legislature, but the governor simply took tyranny notches up by ensuring that only the nine were inaugurated. Similar evidence of tyranny abounds across levels and cadres of the state, from education, health, commerce, infrastructure, and many more. Where are the roads constructed by Obaseki?

If anyone has the nerve to talk about justice, law and order, it is certainly not the man who kicked market women around after their shops caught fire and refused to make good on his promise to compensate them, although he hugged and cuddled quite a number of these during a so-called on-the-spot assessment of the development in overt show of sympathy – for quick foto sessions that would later serve him during campaigns as ‘a man of the people’. A political actor who demolished people’s businesses, uprooted the roofs of the state House of Assembly buildings, even while sending strong-men to seal up the place after which he went around bragging about running people out of the state and their hard-earned livings has suddenly become the poster-boy of a so-called democracy at work. Wonderful!

Now, the big story in town is that he has ‘extended the olive branch’ – so the media term it(!) – to APC candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He even talked about collaborations! Collaboration with whom and on what terms? With a man who has no known campaign manifestoes? A MEGA agenda – this was his name for a non-existing campaign manifesto that was full on rhetoric but short on substance, and one a single copy of which could not be accessed and read in print throughout electioneering? What then would be the basis for collaboration?

There are options for Obaseki in atoning for a litany of sins he, in cahoots with a few imported elements, unloosened upon Edo State people in an election they bonded to make neither free nor fair, neither transparent nor credible, the first and best of which is to return a mandate procured by force and deceitful artifice. He should be man enough to own up to this fact and apologise to the Edo people. In consequence of this, he should await the expiration of his ongoing term to vacate the Samuel Ogbemudia Quarters.

To complement the first move and to prove his genuine contrition, he should address a press conference, alongside his newfound love of a party – the PDP – to atone for the three APC supporters killed at different polling centres during the election, the man whose wife was beaten to stupor by thugs in Egor, and those kidnapped also by thugs imported from Delta and Rivers States. What is more, he should apologise to the House of Assembly members freely elected by their people but denied the opportunity of rendering their services to same people. This should extend to those constituencies flagrantly and most shamelessly robbed of representation in the parliament.

In doing the preceding, he should issue a definitive statement on commitment, detailing how he would restitute entire 17 assemblymen voted by their constituents but banished from the house with his draconian conducts. He will have to include processes and procedures for executing various projects denied all communities represented by the entire 17 members for the four years. Unfortunately and in truth, what Obaseki did to these communities was same as he did for entire state in his four years! His projects include the terrible shapes of roads across the state, the shutting down of College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, the School of Nursing and College of Education, Ekiadolor.

Finally, he will also have to apologise on behalf of his henchmen for the flagrant and unprecedented desecration of the hallowed chambers; the invasion, pulling down and the pouring of trailer-loads of granite trucks on their entrances. Although such wantonness carries equally extreme penalty, Obaseki should return to the very scene of his misconduct and apologise, applying a well-publicised medium, to the Edo people for a misconduct which remains unequalled in the annals of the state.

Time for the governor who promised at least 500,000 jobs and another pledge of creating 200,000 jobs and employing same but ended up recruiting boys to defend his failures on social media to offer half-hearted penance for his vengeful and exclusionary policies against the people.

Mayaki is Director of Communication and Media, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation