Edo 2016 and the Obaseki agenda


AS the current administration winds down in Edo state, the people are beside themselves, singing “thank you” to the governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, for a job well done. For obvious reasons, the only exception are members of the opposition who seem to see nothing good in all the amazing developing witnessed across every nook and cranny since its inception in 2009.

At the moment, the state and it’s diverse people have more than enough reasons to shout “Halleluya” to the high heavens for making him the governor at a time they almost gave up hope that nothing good can ever come out of the ruling class. None of them has forgotten the hopeless days where life meant residing alongside forgotten streets and abandoned public infrastructure, including roads, schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure. They now rise daily to behold evident testimonies to the breakthroughs the administration recorded in all sectors.

Beyond the dexterity with which Oshiomhole handled development issues, spreading same across the state particularly at a time the country went through an unprecedented economic malaise, there is no doubt that “Oshio Baba”, as he is fondly referred to by his horde of admirers, equally invested so much in human capital. This is very evident in the calibre of aides he appointed into the office to help him drive his people-oriented policies. They are the behind-the-scene hands that constantly whispered reminders into his ears just to ensure that plans remain on course particularly in the light of the state’s lean resources. For their roles, the state never defaulted in all its obligations even when some of its richer counterparts were unable to meet recurrent obligations.

One of them is Godwin Obaseki, a very quiet investment banker, heading the administration’s economic direction.

As a mark of the confidence reposed on Obaseki, the governor did not only ensure he served out the role successfully in the first term, he also received the mandate to play same duties during the second term re-election campaign. The governor retained him to continue to fill in as the administration’s economic and investment eyes and ears after securing a second term in office to once more, fulfill the promises he made to the people.

Arguably, the place of Benin-born Obaseki is like that of the Ibo adage which says that a woman needs no better praise for preparing a good meal than seeing her husband clears out every morsel. If praises follow Oshiomhole for his outstanding performance in terms of service delivery at a time the entire nation went through a debilitating economic downturn, the man who played a key role must smile. No doubt, Obaseki deserves some praises and must smile from ear to ear for helping to nurture an impressive governance record.  Indeed, given the praises that trail the performances of the Oshiomhole administration, there is evidently no reason for any sane thinking individual or group to doubt the fact that he has done well.

For so long, the issue that dominated the state’s political space is Obaseki’s aspiration for the ultimate seat as governor of the state. The real issue is that what ordinarily is a legitimate aspiration is deliberately jaundiced mainly on the supposition that he is the governor’s favoured heir. Thus tagged, the suggestion remains that he lacks the moral right to aspire to lead the state in the next dispensation. Curiously, however, those tagging him want to wish away the fact that he is as good, if not better than anyone else nursing the same ambition. Deliberately too, they ignored the fact that their claim is true, it does not remove the fact that he has every legitimate right as a citizen to nurse any leadership ambition, particularly when such aspiration is within the ambit of extant laws.

In quickly putting a tag on Obaseki, his traducers also forgot that it is not an accident that democracy prescribes rules with which it must be practiced. No cares to echo the fact that none of the laws excludes him. In other words, they deliberately ignore the fact that he is, by the rules, a qualified and bonafide aspirant. One is, therefore, distressed to realise that the man is being tagged by those who seek to see their own aspirations as appropriate. The question then is, can we rely on individuals and groups who seek to lead us but are at the same time deliberately misleading all of us with claims designed to impugn the character of a very qualified and deserving aspirant? For me, the answer is no because their aim is to employ very laughable suppositions to impose mediocrity on all of us.

For me, the time has come for every right thinking individual and group to impress it on those tagging Obaseki that the real issue should be the need to have a level-playing ground for all. Character assassination will not fly.

By now, Obaseki’s opponents need to be reminded the guy’s antecedents speak volumes. They need to be reminded that he seems to have enough professional contacts with the right political and economic clout to further change the face of the state for the better. If he can achieve result even as we have all seen in his capacity as a controlled lieutenant, just imagine what he will achieve calling the shots. The prospects are enticing. Therefore, rather than whine and tag him negatively, his opponents would do better developing better and bankable links that will help Edo state get to the next level.

I am of the opinion that with such sublime credentials, Obaseki is deserving of our plaudits and encouragement now that he has expressed a legitimate desire to aspire to the highest office in the state. It is wrong for any right-thinking individual or group to celebrate the mundane by considering his aspiration only from the narrow prism that sets aside his sterling qualities.

His chances of success should be considered from the standpoint of his antecedents and what he is doing right now. Come to think of it, he is not sitting pretty like an anointed son as he goes the entire state reaching out to those who matter. That is what matters.

The time has come for our people, particularly decision makers, to celebrate achievements.  Those who seek to govern Edo state must show that they have brains.
Mr.  Ernest Omoarelojie, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Benin City, Edo State.