By Ozioruva Aliu
ADAZE Emwanta (Esq) is the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Public Affairs, he has had personal interactions with the governor.
What is your personal assessment of Governor Godwin Obaseki as a person?
I will start by saying that Governor Godwin Obaseki comes from a very noble family; the Obaseki family and when you look at the track record of that family, they have produced persons who occupied the highest positions of authority in Nigeria.
The family has produced a foremost Justice of the Supreme Court who at some point was the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria; Andrews Otutu Obaseki, one of the greatest legal icons we have had in the Nigerian judiciary. We also have a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr Jackson Gaius-Obaseki. From that family is a slso foremost sports administrator, Chief Oyuki Jackson-Obaseki. So a man with that kind of background, you cannot expect anything less from him and of course you can see the level of development he has brought to Edo state right from when he worked with Oshiomhole as his chairman of the Economic Team and you know Oshiomhole himself on several occasions commended Obaseki for the role he played. He said he as governor was the hardware while Godwin Obaseki was the software. It is because of this problem of godfatherism, of allowing thugs to continue collecting revenue on behalf of the state government, the idea of allowing some political leaders to take over governance, persons who before now used to think that government revenue is meant to be shared.
I think it is a fallout of ll these issues that border around public revenue that some persons in the APC said he should not be given a second term on that platform hence the draconian disqualification. But the good thing is that the governor was now accepted by another party which is the PDP.
Obaseki is a very bold man; he has served in different capacities. He even worked as Vice President, Financial Advisory Board of Dangote and he still maintains a very good relationship with Dangote just as he does with other people and that is why the people have embraced him. Governor Obaseki represents the movement of Edo people. You see how the governor was embraced and accepted across the 192 wards of the state and the way and manner he was received by the people.
He has a very good relationship with the people he works with and I can tell you as his Senior Special Assistant in Public Affairs, he gives me a free hand in doing my job, just the way other aides have been given free hand to do their jobs. He is not a dictatorial person, he is not a tyrannical person, he is a man that believes in you doing your job and the approach should be result oriented and must be public centred, people centred because his position has always been to serve Edo people and that is what the governor has done in the past three years.
Does he respect friendship, loyalty?
I met the governor for the first time at the residence of late Dr Samuel Ogbemudia in 2016 and for me, he came across as a gentleman and since then whenever I call him, he picks my calls and I can tell you that even till now as his aide, he still picks, he is a man that treats people equally. Whenever I go to his residence, he does not consider me as an aide, he considers me as a friend. We eat on the same table, he is as humble as that. I will tell you that that is the first time ever that I would eat with a governor. I have worked with governors in the past but that would be the first time in recent time a governor would invite me to share the table with him.
The moment he sees you as somebody that has talent, he respects you and the reason most people are attracted to him is his talents. There is a popular saying that hard work will always breed talents. Sometimes you go see him at 11 pm, this man is still working so if you are not a hardworking person, it will be difficult for you to relate with him. He is not somebody that is given to gossip, he is not somebody that is given to idle talks. Whenever you see him, he is busy, thinking of how to go to the next level. So it is sad when you see people talk about things that are not true about the governor. It is sickening and it is because of their selfish interests. Look at the people behind him, all the former governors of Edo state except Oshiomhole are with him: Chief Lucky Igbinedion is with the governor, Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor, Chief Oyegun is supporting him because of who he is. Virtually all the prominent Edo people are with him except one or two.
When they say the political class doesn’t support him, what about the Ikimis, the Igbinedions, the Iyayis, the Uyigues? Are they not the political class? Are they not with the governor? The Edo people, the pensioners, the workers even up to the keke and the bus drivers are with him because of his personality.
Perception that Obaseki is arrogant
Governor Obasdeki is being misrepresented because in terms of respect, he has respect for people and the royal father, that was why the Oba wanted the peace meeting. He was one of those who facilitated the peace meeting. he has been attacked verbally. He was attacked at Iyamho, there was no reprisal, he still respects friendship even when Captain Hosa attacked him, he simple sent a letter. It is because he respects friendship, that is who he is, a human and urbane person. Obaseki is an individual who believes in the people of the state and a good manager of people, that is why the people are with him which will translate to victory on September 19th.