Daily News

Obaseki: What manner of Olive Branch?


By John Mayaki

Happy times are here for Godwin Obaseki, who rode into victory, courtesy of his Rivers State counterpart and comrade-in-electoral sleight of hand, the flexible Nyesom Wike, upon the blood of three All Progressives Congress members in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.

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’. Interestingly, after standing up Arise Television on the governorship debate, he was only too happy to acquiesce when invited for post-election interview. He cannot be begrudged if, intoxicated by his recent electoral coup, 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, perhaps a product of his recent tutelage under his newfound mentor and god-uncle, Governor Wike, he displayed excellent specie of motor-mouthed pontification and acerbic attributions upon the very sources of his political relevance.  He claims 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 his character 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’!

Need one remind that Obaseki sought to make Frank Okiye speaker of the State House of Assembly but 19 of the 24 elected members wanted Victor Edoror instead. In a brazen display of byzantine tyranny, Obaseki, who now claims to be democratic and godfather-phobic, got a conclave of nine in a 24-member parliament to accede to his desires. Interestingly, it was this ‘nine’ who partnered Obaseki to foist a 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. Evidence of Obaseki’s 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 photo 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 of which could not be accessed and read in print or electronic format 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, let loose upon Edo people in an election they bonded to make neither free nor fair, transparent or credible; the first and best is to return a mandate procured by force and deceitful artifice. He should be man enough to own up to this fact and apologise for committing such grand electoral larceny. In consequence of this admission, he should await the expiration of his ongoing term to vacate the Samuel Ogbemudia Quartres.

To complement the first move and to prove his genuine contrition, he should address a press conference, alongside his party, the – the PDP – to atone for the blood of the three APC supporters killed at different polling centres during the election, the man whose wife was beaten to stupor by his 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 to 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 and perverse depravity 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.

It should be time for a governor who promised at least 500,000 jobs but ended up recruiting boys to defend his failures on social media to offer penance for his vengeful and exclusionary policies against the people.

Contemporary Nigeria and dearth of reason

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