By Josephine Anenih
I have observed with growing concern the state of politics in Edo State. I had to this point remained silent, as I assumed, wrongly, that reason would prevail and the interests of Edo people and Edo state would be put ahead of any other consideration, personal or partisan.
Sadly, I was mistaken, and as the drums of an avoidable war grow louder, I am compelled to speak directly to the architect of a bloody chaos that seems destined to consume Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomole.
“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely “.
This truism appears to aptly apply to Adams Oshiomole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Nigeria.
If Adams Oshiomole had retired in 2016 after his tenure as Governor of Edo State, he would have been remembered in Edo State for one thing and one thing only – that he waged a war against ‘godfatherism’ and won. That would have been his legacy. It is perplexing, then, that he seems to have removed one godfather just to turn around and attempt to crown himself the latest godfather in town. I have lived long enough to know that a man blinded by ambition will always end up in a hole, usually one he dug to ensnare his enemies.
I have spoken to many of my friends in the APC. Not one person has given me a good reason why Obaseki was chased out of their Party. They all agree he performed; they all agree he stopped giving public funds to private individuals; they all agree he relegated thuggery; fought the trafficking of women and children; empowered women; and invested in education and healthcare for the most vulnerable members of society.
But it is sadly the nature of our politics, that performance is secondary to patronage. But even if that is the case, it is not reason enough to burn Edo State to the ground. I have seen videos of thugs celebrating the ejection of Gov. Obaseki from the APC. Thugs are publicly rejoicing that Government House and markets and motor parks will soon belong once again to them
After 21 years of uninterrupted democracy, is this how we now measure progress in our great state? Popularity with thugs and cultists?
Oshiomole’s own words and actions in the matter of godfatherism have returned to haunt him. He should remember and be careful. According to him, ‘No man is God’.
Speaking to his supporters in 2009, Oshiomole said “We must do away with godfathers. We do not need to go to Uromi to decide who becomes a councillor or a member of the house. When you buried a godfather you don’t do it in a day you must continue until you finally kill the godfather “.
Why does Oshiomole want to resurrect the ghosts of the godfathers he had killed and buried?
Disqualifying a performing sitting Governor is the height of recklessness and disregard for the interest and success of APC by its own National Chairman, but that is the APC’s business. If they choose to destroy their Party, so be it. However, it is a different matter entirely if that recklessness is brought to Edo State and results in the loss of life of any Edo resident, or a regression in the progress the state is making under Obaseki. As an Edo man, why would the APC National Chairman want to destabilise his own State that is being competently run by his nominee?
This is a case of a man who cut off his nose because he wanted to teach his face a lesson. Shame.
I am a bona fide and loyal member of the People’s Democratic Party. I live in Edo. I am an Elder Stateswoman.
As an Elder Stateswoman I must always be impartial and seek the truth. In pursuing a personal vendetta he has robbed his party of golden opportunity to present a good candidate for the forthcoming election. He has insulted the collective intelligence of the good people of Edo State. Barely three years ago he convinced Edo people that Godwin Obaseki was the best person for them. Today he is castigating the same Obaseki and singing a new song.
As an Edo resident I will testify that Governor Obaseki has delivered good governance to the State. He has tackled insecurity and made the State relatively safe for all. Petty traders are free to go about their businesses without being crippled by multiple taxes that do not go to government coffers for the development of the State. He has cleaned up the reputation of Edo State as a State known for illegal emigration. Edo people in diaspora are the ones the world is proud of because they are honest and hardworking. Obaseki greatly improved the dilapidated roads and gave the capital city a refreshing facelift. Young professionals are coming back to Edo and are happy to work and raise their families here. Young Edo men are women are now proud of their heritage.
I pray for Gov. Obaseki; he is a good man. I also pray that God will continue to be interested in the affairs of Edo State. God has the last say. Like Oshiomole used to say when he himself was being persecuted, “No man is God”. If Obaseki gets the ticket from PDP, Edo people will vote for him. I call on Oshiomole, ambassador of the “one man, one vote’ mantra, to respect the wishes of the great people of Edo State, and resist the urge to allow hubris lead him to set fire to his own home.
May God ‘s Will be done in Edo.
Iyom Josephine Anenih, mni is the Pioneer National Woman Leader PDP, Member PDP Board of Trustees; Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development 2010 and Elder Stateswoman