As the current administration winds down in Edo state, the people are beside themselves, singing “thank you” to the governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, for a job well done. For obvious reasons, the only exception are members of the opposition who see nothing good in all the amazing developments across every nook and cranny of the state since its inception in 2009.
At the moment, the state and it’s diverse people have more than enough reasons to shout “Halleluya” for making him the governor at a time they almost gave up hope that nothing good can ever come out of the ruling elite. None of them has forgotten the hopeless days where life meant residing alongside forgotten streets and abandoned public infrastructure. They now rise daily to behold evident testimonies to the breakthroughs the administration recorded in all sectors.
Beyond the dexterity with which Oshiomhole handled development issues, at a time the country went through an unprecedented economic malaise, there is no doubt that “Oshio Baba”, equally invested so much in human capital. This is very evident in the calibre of aides he appointed to help him drive his people-oriented policies. They are the behind-the-scene hands that constantly whispered reminders to ensure that plans remain on course. For their roles, the state never defaulted in all its obligations even when some of its richer counterparts were unable to meet recurrent obligations.
One of them is Godwin Obaseki, a very quiet investment banker, heading the administration’s economic direction.
As a mark of the confidence reposed on Obaseki, the governor did not only ensure he served out the role successfully in the first term, he also received the mandate to play same duties during the second term re-election campaign. The governor retained him to continue to fill in as the administration’s economic and investment eyes and ears.
Arguably, the place of Benin-born Obaseki is like that of the Igbo adage which says that “a woman needs no better praise for preparing a good meal than seeing her husband clears out every morsel”. If praises follow Oshiomhole for his outstanding performance, the man who played a key role must smile. No doubt, Obaseki deserves praises and must smile for helping to nurture an impressive governance record. Indeed, given the praises that trail the performances of the Oshiomhole administration, there is evidently no reason for any individual or group to doubt that he has done well.
For so long, the issue that dominated the state’s political space is Obaseki’s aspiration for governorship of the state. The real issue is that what ordinarily is a legitimate aspiration is deliberately jaundiced mainly on the supposition that he is the governor’s favoured heir. Thus tagged, the suggestion remains that he lacks the moral right to aspire to lead the state. Curiously, however, those tagging him want to wish away the fact that he is as good, if not better than anyone else nursing the same ambition. Deliberately too, they ignored that if their claim is true, it does not remove the fact that he has every legitimate right to nurse any leadership ambition.
In quickly putting a tag on Obaseki, his traducers also forgot that it is not an accident that democracy prescribes rules of practice. No one has ever said the law excludes him. In other words, they deliberately ignore that he is, a qualified and bonafide aspirant. The question is, can we rely on individuals and groups seeking to lead us but same time deliberately misleading us with claims designed to impugn the character of a qualified and deserving aspirant. The answer is no. The time has come for every right thinking individual and group to impress it on those tagging Obaseki that the real issue should be the need to have a level-playing ground for all.
By now, Obaseki’s opponents must know that his antecedents speak volumes. They need to know that he has enough professional contacts with the right political and economic influence to further change the face of the state for the better. If he can achieve result in his capacity as an aide, imagine what he will achieve being in charge. The prospects are enticing. Therefore, rather than whine and tag him negatively, his opponents would do better developing better and bankable links that will help Edo state get to the next level.
Obaseki is deserving of our plaudits and encouragement.His chances of success should be considered from the standpoint of his antecedents. He is not sitting pretty like an anointed son as he goes reaching out to those who matter.
The time has come for our people, particularly decision makers, to celebrate achievements. Tagging Obaseki negatively will not fly. Those who seek to govern Edo state must show that they have brains; Obaseki is the best of the lot!
*Ernest Omoarelojie writes from Benin City