Obaseki: Home Solutions Versus Gallivanting
Yesterday, we were greeted with yet another story by the Edo State government’s paid propagandists that Governor Godwin Obaseki was attending, as a panelist, Africa Heads of State Summit in Das es Salaam, Tanzania. In the massage by these peddlers, it was added, “thrilled to join African Heads of State today to discuss our role as leaders in investing in areas of education and skills development, to drive productivity and economic growth on our Continent.” It was also put there,
“FROM STRATEGY TO IMPLEMENTATION IN EDUCATION.”
On July 13th, he was also in Lagos for the BusinessDay CEO Forum as a speaker. The theme of the discussion was, ‘Charting a Course to Growth and Development.’ And as one would expect, these media aides went into town narrating how the governor, “whose visionary leadership has led to remarkable achievements across all sectors of Edo State.”
My inquisitive mind raced like a bank teller when I read the stories of the Das es Salaam Summit. I contacted a colleague we often share notes on challenges and prospects in Edo State. He doubted if Governor Obaseki was a panelist in the summit. We searched the website of the summit, nothing of him was mentioned as such.
We downloaded the pictures of the panelists, he was not among yesterday . So I contacted the organizers through an e-mail for them to tell me specifically if he truly was a panelist, participant or a delegate.
And if he is a panelist, at what point is he going to speak during the 2 days summit. While I await their responses, I make these submissions on behalf of truth and conscience.
Governor Obaseki should not let himself be seen as one of those who are insensitive to local challenges the state is faced with until he is again embarrassed as the ruthless leader that was recently stuck in mud in his home town no matter how Federal Governmentalized some want to look at it. Such summits can be attended by a commissioner or the SUBEB chairperson. He cannot afford to abandon ‘physical governance’ in Edo State and be seen gallivanting the world over in the name of Forums, Seminars, Conferences, Public Speaking or Wooing Investors. He was elected to attend to localized problems that are worse than he met them 7 years ago, not as a motivational speaker trying to convince non-stakeholders in the state that Edo State is an Eldorado Hub.
Through any and every means available to us, we must redirect the steps and thoughts of the governor even when he is adjudged as one who does not listen.
The lives and well-being of the people of Edo State Matter.
Two weeks ago, the leadership of the Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) took the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki to the cleaners over the state of health facilities in the state and welfare of doctors under the employment of the state government.
The state chairman of the association, Dr. (Mrs) Udoka Imoisili, stated this at the opening ceremony of the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Resident Doctors under the Edo State Government Employment (ARD EDGE) where she lauded the doctors for being able to organize their AGM despite harsh working conditions they operate.
She said a tour through “most of our hospitals across the state is nauseating. There are no restrooms, dilapidated buildings, ragged furniture and fittings, no light source and devoid of water, the environment, only fit for poultry.”
This appraisal of the condition of our public health facilities is coming from professionals who are not into politics so cannot be accused of partisanship. If one of the most sensitive sector is adjudged to be this bad, as can be compared to poultry, what is the fate of others? As soon as you are not able to afford private hospitals in the state, as a patient, you are already a casualty.
Obaseki goes to speak of the education sector outside when for the past 7 years, public schools have become derelict, some are closed down under different pretences while there are no single government teachers in some.
He prides himself of reforms and policies like EdoBest and others. Can we agree the cost of policy will go as much as the much talked about $75,000,000 World Bank loan? What about annual budget on education and other such interventions? What are their translatory effect on the sector that has been abandoned to ‘roaches’ criminals and propagandists?
The state security is one of the worst in the South South region. Lives are wasted at will by kidnappers and gangs of criminals. Even within his nose there in Benin, cultists, brandishing dangerious weapons on social media, kill each other like flies. The last time he empowered the police and vigilantes, he gave them old 1984 Siennas that were barely functional where other states give state-of-the-art armoured vehicles.
If we talk about the agricultural sector, we will have to talk about how loans were secured from Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, and the World Bank without getting to farmers.
Those who were part of the management of the funds have gone to build palatial mansions in their homes without the fear of reprisal or even EFCC.
Just recently, we were told that the state is investing taxpayers money of over #19,000,000,000(Nineteen Billion Naira) in renovating an abandoned private hotel in Benin. While there is no transparency or detail accountability on how much the old property was acquired, the question before every sane mouth is whether that should be top on the priorities of the state government.
The Benin City itself is ravaged by perennial flooding and the roads are so bad that one will wonder if they are left in such states as the artefacts he was dragging with the revered Oba of Benin before he was stopped on his track.