By Iwelunmor Patrick
As the APC primaries for the gubernatorial election in Edo State draw near, certain political principalities are already fine-tuning strategies to undermine the unique selling points of the Obaseki-Shaibu candidacy. The disturbing reality one has noticed is the somewhat shameless and malicious claims of some enemies of progress who have continued to deliberately blind themselves to the monumental strides the Godwin Obaseki administration has made in the socio-economic, educational, industrial and agricultural landscapes of the state. It is no longer news that the only grouse such persons have against the governor is the fact that he has refused to mortgage the future of Edo people on the altar of political neo-Tarzanism. And because he has never hidden his illustrious ambition to leave the state better than he met it, it is of course, understandable why his political enemies are bent on propagating lies against him.
For those who understand the dynamics of partisan politics in a clime where nothingness is packaged to tower above substance, Godwin Obaseki has just completed his voyage to Lilliput. By now, he should have known also that height and size are sometimes true indices of the intellectual natures of men. God has only allowed him to fully come to terms with the fact that ‘there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’. He has now discovered that, beyond every act of political patronage, lies the equivocal and chameleonic propensity to manipulate. Those who claim that they brought him to power have betrayed the inordinateness of their real intentions when they accused him of side-lining them in the scheme of things. The truth is that Godwin Obaseki would not gratify certain ungodly appetites with the resources of his people. His commendable financial prudence is a huge insult to some people who had thought his administration would provide for them an unrestricted leeway to unprecedented squandermania.
Sometime last year, I had the rare privilege of meeting His Excellency in Benin, in a meeting convened by my mentor Mr Osakue Agbontaen. The agenda for that meeting was to cross-fertilise ideas for the furtherance of the Obaseki-Shaibu candidacy while also seeking conciliatory solutions to the sudden estrangement that had hit the hitherto cordial relationship between Obaseki and former governor, Adams Oshiomhole. Even the blind could feel the sincerity of purpose and the revivalist impulses of his policy thrust as governor of Edo State when he addressed us. We saw in him a man who was focused on leaving an enduring legacy of sound development in Edo State. He also revealed to us how he has been rallying other south-south governors to form a developmental synergy for the betterment of the region. While he was busy destroying some counter-productive political structures erected by glorified miscreants who were parasitically milking Edo State of its resources, he had expected applause from all progressive-minded party chieftains but alas, he was shocked to the marrows when they took offence and labelled him an ungrateful fellow.
From personal investigations, when he assumed office, Oredo Local Government Council hardly generated 5 million naira as revenue monthly but as soon as he carried out some reforms which included dislodging some parasitic agents in that Local Government, its monthly revenue leapfrogged from barely 5 million naira to between 80 and hundred million naira. What this means is that some people had been feeding fat on the resources of Oredo Local Government before Obaseki came and put a stop to it. That was one of the reasons he became an enemy to these people. In terms of political appointments at the federal level, he was hardly allowed to take decisions by those who had thought he would be a deaf and dumb godson that should be remote-controlled at will. They had also thought that, because he was not a politician prior to his becoming governor, they could bamboozle him with the unchartered intrigues Nigerian ‘politricks’. Unfortunately, the technocrat in him sent their ungodly machinations to the canvass.
The rancour and outcry against Obaseki by some old men who have refused to outgrow the toga of political infantilism in which they have been clad for a long time are nothing but the defeatist dissipations of frustrated souls. The other day, I read in one of the dailies where a former Attorney-General of the State alleged that Obaseki sent assassins to kill him. While I was still deconstructing that baseless and laughable allegation, I was hit by another verbal ballistic coming from a former PDP gubernatorial flagbearer whom Obaseki incidentally defeated to emerge governor and who has since decamped to the APC in a sponsored plot to make the incumbent’s chances of returning to power for a second term very slim. He was reported by a print medium to have said that there was nothing on ground in Edo State to show that Obaseki has done anything. He even said the levels of joblessness and hunger were unprecedented. For some of us who are dispassionately concerned about the development of all south-south states, we wonder if it is the Edo State we know that the man was referring to or another fictitious one – a figment of his warped imagination. I can assure all of Obaseki’s traducers that a huge package of surprise awaits them with the level of development he has brought to the state. For Obaseki, I can only say – WELCOME FROM LILLIPUT!
Iwelunmor Patrick, Public Relations and Media Practitioner, writes from Lagos.