EdO 2016 and the idle talk of continuity
The forth-coming Edo state gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on Saturday, 10th September, 2016 shall be a transition from the civilian dictatorship of incumbent Governor, AAE Oshiomhole since another person (barring any unforeseen supervening occurrence) must be inaugurated as the Executive Governor on 12th November, 2016. Oshiomhole, having previously taken the Oath twice for the maximum two (2) terms of eight (8) years would be ineligible to re-contest to that office except an amendment is made extending the tenure of States’ Chief Executives in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he remains barred from aspiring to be Governor either of Edo state or any other state of the Federation for the rest of his life. Thus, for a government that has traumatized Edo people, the tenure limitation has set in to rescue the state from the fetish grip of tyranny and the reign of a man whose precepts, like the biblical Pharisee, are the noblest of values but whose actions or character portray the very opposites.
Oshiomhole before his first inauguration on 12th November, 2008 held then, what seems like a messianic promise to run a government that would make Edo state a model of civilization and democratic governance deserving of emulation. This belief was kindled by the pro-masses image deliberately hued out of the several strike actions instigated and led by him as President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), to force government’s hands on its policy of deregulation or appropriate pricing for petroleum products. There was no inkling that those actions were all the times design by the one time trade Union generalissimo to blackmail his way into the midst of the oppressive Nigerian ruling class with a view to replicating their indulgences in extreme proportions. In the over seven years of this dying administration Citizens of the State have labored under the yokes of insensitive or punitive tax system; exorbitant tuition fees; vicious deployment of unemployed youths for political violence; casualization of labour whereupon employments are guaranteed only to the extent of the duration of every election and thereafter, the jobs are summarily and unceremoniously withdrawn; astronomical inflation of projects cost and profligate or dubious spending on voters compromise just to mention a few examples. It is owing to the monumental disappointment that this government turned out to be that one finds outrageous , the antics of some persons or group of persons; predominantly gubernatorial aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to seek an elongation of Oshiomhole’s regime hence their campaign for CONTINUITY.
IS CONTINUITY AFFORDABLE NOW IN EDO STATE?
Oshiomhole’s administration failed to deliver on his vows of prosperity, egalitarianism and democracy. As our state writhe in debilitating poverty, it is outrageous for any aspirant to seek to continue a government whose myopia restricts its understanding of governance to whimsical projects that do not really translate to any socio-economic benefit for the majority of the citizenry except to satisfy the megalomaniacal appetite of the governor.
For a Governor who said he was here to dismantle the political machinery of so-called political god fathers and ipso facto deepen democracy for which reason our people gave popular endorsement to his mantras of:
1 man, 1 vote; let the people lead; abolition of poverty; etc
In return for their support, Edo people were paid with such excesses as:
· The summary dismissal of the faithful Okada riders from the streets of Benin City without alternatives led to suicidal economic predicaments for the Riders and commuters who depended on them.
· The unending promises to provide public service employment that never saw the light of the day.
· The harassment of the civil populace as seen in the molestation of a peasant widow who was told to ”go and die” but following public outcry, she was compensated with a special Assistant (S.A) to the Governor.
· The usurpation, appropriation and annexation of powers and functions of other authorities, organs and bodies in the state. In the All Progressive Congress (APC), his Party, the powers and responsibilities of appropriate executives or officials have been usurped by the governor. Today, one can safely say that Oshiomhole is APC.
· The worst organized Local Government Election in Nigeria’s history contrary to the mantra of ”one man, one vote”.
· Twice in his tenure (one each in his first and second terms), he violently disrupted the smooth operation of the state House of Assembly and on both occasions, thugs and notorious criminal elements were deployed to attack opposition Lawmakers and till date the legitimate earnings of these perceived opponents have been misappropriated by Oshiomhole and his stooges.
· Denying striking civil servants their salaries under an obnoxious application of the ‘No Work, No Pay’ rule.
· The notoriety of the Oshiomhole’s administration at perversion of Justice and disobedience to court’s Judgments/orders is a matter of common knowledge. He has not refuted the assertion that he was behind the blatant refusal until 5th April, 2016 by the speaker, Edoror Victor Tiger to admit Mr. Gallant Double Eruaga to sitting as member representing Etsako west II Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) in compliance with the order of a competent Court of law made since December, 2015. Remarkably, Professor Osarhieme Osunbor never remained a day further as Governor from the day the Court ordered that he vacates the office for Oshiomhole.
Trivialization of governance ; indulging in profligacy at the expense of the ordinary citizens as in the double standard funding of the new University being built in Iyamho the Governor’s home town and other state own tertiary institutions of same legal status.
Misappropriation of state assets as seen in the diversion of proceeds to private pockets from the fraudulent sale of pipes for urban water supply sponsored by an international finance institution.
That all available roads, in Edo State were re-constructed and asphalted;
·That all our schools were renovated and crown with red roof; and
·That there is this so-called ”five (5) star Hospital building” each in every senatorial District in Edo State; which at any rate is far from the realities on ground,
Can we with all sense of objectivity say that Oshiomhole has given proper interpretation to democratic governance. I hold the view that road construction, renovation of schools or hospital buildings might appear very important but these are still pedestrian in the assessment of what constitute a responsible government within the context of a democracy. Therefore, governments, whether a Monarchy or Military dictatorship can as much build roads and renovate state-own buildings and infrastructure. But a democracy is expected to do all that as well as avail the people the enabling environment that would help them realize their dreams, visions and potentials. It is equally required that government is conducted in the most transparent manner so as to guarantee equitable distribution of the state’s wealth. Also, there must be absolute respect for the laws of the land and the rights of citizens.
· If under Oshiomhole, incentives for educational excellence such as scholarship’s grants or bursaries have never had a place and whereas as far back as the colonial era and as recent as the 2nd Republic under Professor FOLORUNSHO AMBROSE ALLI, these were common place educational policies that saw to the education of many of our people;
· If under this administration, there has been no deliberate effort to create or support industries and consequently create jobs, whereas before it, previous administrations established farms/industries like the Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation; Bendel Breweries, Edo line, Ewu Flour Mill, Ukpella cement factory, Ethiope publishing e.t.c;
· If under Oshiomhole there has not been recruitments of new teachers whereas previous administrative made periodic employments of teachers; and
· If under Oshiomhole there has not been Housing provisions;
· if under Oshiomhole all that there is to Sports is Okpekpe race where those who benefits are athletes of foreign climes; it is certain that CONTINUITY is an ill-wind that blows no one no good.
ON THE DAY OF RECKONING
Our people will no doubt reject CONTINUITY with their VOTES and instead usher in the hegemony of a person whose ideas and charisma reflect that courage of conviction to understand that the only way forward for Edo State now, is an urgent departure from the narrow confines or convenient recesses of a patronizing status quo; and flee from the insipid campaign of CONTINUITY, the grudging warmth of which we are impressed upon and deluded we will be accustomed, helped of course by the ephemeral lust of mortals; who for fears of the unknown resigned to fate of dormancy and indignation foisted by fellow men; with a view to slowing down that usually steady step of faith, which though may appear bleak in its contemplation, but assuredly heralds the manifestations of great destinies!
Let us vote wisely!
By HON. (BARR) OGIERHIAKHI FRIDAY OSAKPAMWAN
Lawyer and former
Member of Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA),
Representing Orhionmwon South Constituency