Post-Obaseki Misguided Government In Edo (1)

 

By Erasmus Ikhide

THE more Governor Godwin Obaseki struggles with the rejection of his

candidacy by the State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the

more he blames his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National

Chairman of the party. To Governor Obaseki, the facts hardly matter, as his

concoction of the wrong-headed falsehood of "THEY WANT ME TO SHARE THE

MONEY" tragically shows. If he and his motley of minders think a staled

trump card such as this will win votes, they have ran into cul-de-sac.

 

Governor Obaseki's Achilles heel from the very beginning stems from his

measure of gloating and pride when he signposted himself as a wiz

kid/technocrat and deliberately alienated the power blocks upon which he

climbed to office. This early signs of political importance were ignited by

political hirelings who deceived and keep deceiving him about his

invincibility, in spite of Obaseki's clumsy, feckless response to

governance and party development. He did not only get his politics,

priorities and policies choices wrong but also rides high horse of

self-importance -- an omnipotent sort of godhead demagogue with horror!

 

From available account, Chief Bisi Akande, one of the founding fathers and

leaders of APC was the party’s third official attempt at reconciliation in

the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress to bring the

Governor to earth to see reason why he has to govern with human face. The

first two attempts were the committees constituted and headed by the Senate

President, Senator Ahmed Lawan. The peace deal proposal was scuttled by the

Governor who publicly derided and announced his rejection of the committee.

He accused the personalities involved, including fellow Governors and

national figures of the APC of bias and less-than-ideal integrity platform

to resolve the party crisis.

 

The Governor was ruthless in accusing the Senate President’s committee. He

did not even wait for the committee to initiate the process of reconciling

the conflicting parties in the state before hurling insults at the Senator

Ahmed Lawan and the members of the committee. Only yesterday, at the

twilight of his four years governorship mandate, albeit under frantic

desperation, he met with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in company of seven Governor's

begging him to beg Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for endorsement.

 

To say, on a lighter mood, that the governor lacks emotional intelligence

to have allowed political squabbles with his mentor and party supporters to

get to a tipping point such that his known thugs now brutally crack party

supporters skulls; throwing bombs and dynamites into people's homes,

demolishing party members hotels and property, even assassination attempts

at those who opposed his second term ambition is an understatement. Not

only that, the governor has visited mayhem on scheduled political rally

venues were his thugs regularly set ablaze campaign podiums.

 

Beside the National Chairman of the party, Barrister Henry Idahagbon, Chief

Lawrence Okah and other leaders of the APC in the state have come under

assassination attacks for their opposition to Mr. Godwin Obaseki, several

less mighty political figures have been heavy-handedly opposed by non-state

actors who were recruited by the state government. While they managed to

escape, other party members have not been so lucky with many still

receiving treatment at various hospitals across the state for injuries

suffered at the hands of thugs empowered by the state government and given

a free rein to unleash terror on anyone not caving to the tyrannical desire

of the Governor. Businesses sealed and life cut short as Mr. Godwin Obaseki

has blurred the line between the personal and official, using state

agencies and public resources in his personal quest to crown himself King

of Edo politics. Pastor Ize-Iyamu was hunted for daring to return to the

political party he midwifed along with other eminent politicians. The

Governor simply recreated a political space where dangerous cavemen with

sword dripping with blood feel empowered.

 

Mr. Obaseki's disdain for inclusive governance and accountable democracy

was noticed early enough. In his appointments into political positions, he

shunned loyal party members and favored unknown individuals who were

incapable of passing any competence test and placed his own personal

relationships over and above important party considerations. This was a

problematic factor that resulted in the governor handing sensitive

positions to his Lagos boys and girls.

 

More troubling is the sliding of the state into a state of complete

disrepair with critical projects abandoned and new ones commissioned and

executed with sub-standard materials away from the days of Comrade Adams

Oshiomhole's administration whose legacy projects remain solid and visible

till date. All of these made it difficult to justify the actions of Mr.

Godwin Obaseki and his neglect of the party in the state, especially to

members who sold the Obaseki candidacy to their friends and neighbors as a

result  of his propensity for violence and poor  governance.

 

During the general election in 2019, Edo State lost to the PDP in the

Presidential election. For the first time the Governor himself, in the

history of the state, failed to deliver his own ward, Local Government Area

and Senatorial District to the APC. It was later revealed that the party

actually obtained confidential correspondence that showed that Mr. Gdowin

Obaseki deliberately traded off the ambition of the candidate of Edo South

Senatorial District in the person of Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon.

 

The Governor repeated similar disloyalty tactics during the primary

election for the representatives of Edo State in the Edo House of Assembly.

Obaseki’s growing rejection by party members also came to the fore when his

attempt to rig the nomination process was resisted and credible candidates

were produced. Initially, when the nomination process was concluded, Mr.

Godwin Obaseki went to town decrying the process. He accused the National

Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of swapping the list of

nominated candidates in Abuja and replacing them with “unpopular choices”.

 

However, when the APC swept the election and produced all members for the

available 24 seats in the Edo Assembly, the same man recanted his stance,

attempting to claim credit for the outcome by posturing that the victory

was a ‘vote of confidence’ on his administration despite his opposition to

the candidates who delivered the victory and his needless attack of the

National Chairman of APC.

 

The falsehood became manifest when he refused to inaugurate the same

members whose victories he laid claims to, thereby resorting to force and

intimidation, conditioned the inauguration of the Assembly and the

swearing-in of the members-elect on the selfish requirement that they

relinquish their age-long, constitutionally-guaranteed practice of freely

electing the leadership of the House and determining the legislative agenda

and priorities of the Assembly.

 

As follow up to this illegal action, the majority of the members-elect who

refused to be a part of the sham process and insisted on the right thing,

including a well-publicized and circulated proclamation of inauguration

served to all members-elect indicating time and venue for the inauguration

exercise contrary to the nocturnal affair conducted by the Governor, came

under attack. The Governor's thugs led by his personal security aide,

Michael Nwankwo, at the Golden Tulip hotel in Benin City on the 19th of

June 2019 came short of killing the elected house members. They suffered

physical assault and some were hospitalized including, Hon. Crossby Eribo.

 

Strictly speaking, Governor Obaseki's pretences at genuine reconciliation

has been exposed by his outlandish and hide-and-seek tactics. While his

more organic and liberated counterpart in Ondo State in the person of

Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) accepted direct primary or any other method the APC

leadership may wish to adopt, Mr. Obaseki is still throwing spite into the

air and collecting it with his face. He says it's indirect primary or all

hell will be let loose!

 

So much incendiary from the "Wake and Sleep" hypersomnia plagued governor.

Mr. Obaseki's threat to destabilize and scuttle the party was made manifest

this afternoon when he approached Justice Vestee Eborieme of the High Court

sitting in Abudu in the outskirts of Edo State capital where he filed and

sponsored ex-parte motion seeking to restrain the APC from conducting its

internal and direct primary in the state and screening leading aspirant

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

 

The case has been heavily criticized as unnecessary interference by the

court in internal party affairs. Critics have cited Section 87(10) of the

Electoral Act which forbids the interference of courts in the conduct of

party primaries in the nature in which Obaseki’s allies are seeking to do.

 

Other legal experts have also pointed at the ruling of the Supreme Court in

the case of APGA vs Anyawu & ords where the highest court held that

conflicts over the membership of a political party is a domestic affair of

the party concerned and a court will not involve itself.

 

The chickens have come home to roost! After nearly four years of pursuing a

shadow misguided governance model and avalanche of political terror, the

Governor belatedly appreciates the role of party cohesion and supremacy in

a constituted democracy, when Edo people are gingerly and eagerly looking

up to his post-governorship. Should there be reconciliation between

Oshiomhole and Obaseki when majority of the elected house members have been

chased out of the state by the Governor's political thugs.

 

The APC crisis in Edo State is beholden to the cult of inefficiency,

barefaced status arrogance and banal treachery on the part of the Governor

who is sly and serpentine. Effective leadership and governance are not

products of conjecture or make-belive and gobbled up story of technocratic

invincibility.

 

Ikhide, A Social crusader, journalist and security expert writes from

Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Email: ikhideerasmus@gmail.com

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