Edo 2024: Edo Obaseki’s ingratitude now seeking laundry
By Kassim Afegbua.
Experience has a tendency to haunt their victims, and even render undue hardship to others in transfered aggression. When people behave in a very unsavoury manner to their benefactors, the rebound effect rubs off on others in a most regretful way, allowing reminiscences of old to perforate the reality of the present.
What Governor Obaseki did to Senator Adams Oshiomhole, has taught the latter bitter leadership lessons such that circumspection, crystal gazing and double reflections have continued to dominate Oshiomole’s thought process as regards those seeking the governorship seat of Edo state. Bad behaviour of one is like that oil that soils the fingers of life, cascadingly spreading beyond known boundaries, and leaving traces of regret and “had I known” on the lips of its victim. Even as Senator Oshiomhole, tries hard to rid himself of the tempers and ridicule that Governor Obaseki and deputy foisted on him, he continues to see the vestiges of that bad behaviour as a trap that must be avoided in the future.
There is no art to see the mind’s construction in the face; so says the old rhyme, but the behaviour of man is a predatory reference when trajectories are being chronicled. This is why Senator Oshiomhole, as leader of the APC in Edo state, is morbidly cautious about who to throw his weight behind, in the current contest for Edo Government House.
Anybody who survived Governor Obaseki’s invidious game needs to thank God for remaining afloat without being mauled down by a stroke, as a consequence of its rude shock. Not only did Governor Obaseki fight for the removal of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the ruling party, he also blackmailed Oshiomole to a crescendo of contradiction.
Oshiomhole’s God is truly alive and now watching the two actors, Godwin and Phillip, who combined to ridicule the former Labour Leader, go after each other’s throat. This should be a stark reminder to everyone that life’s positions are akin to a revolving door. Obaseki is winding down now, and he’s being confronted with accusations of poor performance occasioned by indecent behaviour, needless political squabbles, intemperate anger, noisy claims of bogus statistics, selective amnesia, importation of “foreigners” to run Edo economy, and a shameless attempt to balkanise the Benin Monarchy over artefacts that he knows nothing about. Now, at the twilight of his administration which has demarketed the state for the wrong reasons, at home and abroad, he suddenly remembers Senator Oshiomhole as a citizen deserving of an award. How disingenuous! A man he had hitherto rained all manner of allegations on, and was telling Edo people that Oshiomole wanted him to be making returns from Edo State’s money, has suddenly become the attractive bride to be lauded twice within a spate of two months; to be welcome to grace State Programs, during which Governor Obaseki declared that Senator Oshiomhole made him Governor. Hellooo oooo!!. Is someone suddenly awake from slumber? I am yet to fathom the motive behind Governor Obaseki’s recent romance. I pray Senator Oshiomhole does not fall for Obaseki’s political knavery and duplicity, not a second time.
While I cannot choose Senator Oshiomhole’s friends for him, I can caution him to be wary of those who speak tongue-in-cheek, conveying the symptoms of love in the morning, only to drive poison down his throat at night; those who are known to be bad people. Senator Oshiomhole must watch his back, and very well too. Governor Obaseki’s smile and pretentious laughter shrouded in hatred, blackmail, and his pathological double-standard. What has suddenly happened to the paradigm that made him heap all those insults on Oshiomhole, that made him present Oshiomole as one who sought to feast on Edo people’s collective till, with him the Governor, bravely wrestling power from this adversary on their behalf. Was it the same mouth that Governor Obaseki used to insult Senator Oshiomhole that he now uses to praise Oshiomole, to the point of saying that the former Governor made him Governor of Edo state?
Has Governor Obaseki forgotten that he once said he had no godfather, and that he would not play the role of a godfather? For that reason, I guess he only played “BigDaddy” in the last Local Government election: The real elections were concluded in the field, but the losers went to the Government House in Benin to collect Certificates of Return, while the winners were left to agonise with dismissive verbiage.
The victory of the current apparent winners was forced under Obaseki’s auspices. Till today, no corrective measure has been taken. Losers are in office, while winners are helplessly and awfully left in the cold. That is coming from a man considered to be a technocrat; grinding people’s emotions with high-handedness, heartlessness and sheer wickedness. How does one reconcile such situations? When leaders double-speak, it removes the fibre of morality and makes them little things before the discerning.
Now that Edo 2024 race has begun, Governor Obaseki’s ingratitude and bad behaviour has kept Senator Oshiomhole pussilanimous, while seeking God’s face and His voice in his choice of who flies the party’s flag. There are persons who share the same characteristics as Governor Obaseki; people who pretend to love Oshiomhole more than himself, who have already positioned themselves; we know them. They speak about loyalty as though the word emanated from their cocoon.
That was Godwin Obaseki’s pastime between 2008 and 2016 when he was the Economic Adviser to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He carried Oshiomole’s bag when they were traveling on several occasions, woke up in the mornings at Oshiomhole’s door-step, and was arguably the last man to shut Oshiomole’s door at night; but as soon as he won the election on 28 September, 2016, Oshiomhole was his first casualty.
The heart of man is indeed deeply wicked: after the campaigns and election and results had been declared but the baton had not been handed over, they both travelled outside Nigeria for a short rest to recover. Unbeknownst to Oshiomole, Obaseki before leaving left instructions with the then Accountant General not to honour payments and approvals from Oshiomhole’s table going forward. Civil servants being respecters of the In-Coming, the Accountant General played the ostrich from then on while Oshiomhole’s approvals were pouring in but remained unattended. That was just the beginning. At Oshiomhole’s present age, his muscles won’t be able to withstand another stab in the back.
He has to be circumspect and wary of the ides of March. There are a lot of Brutuses preying on him, but the thought of Godwin Obaseki’s indecent behaviour scares his innermost recesses. Obaseki’s latest olive branch compounds the scenario. It shows that it was all a plot. Nothing was inadvertent. Obaseki did all that he did deliberately. It was a tactic that fitted in his game plan. And he indeed scored a goal even at the price of being called infamous and a betrayer.
Governor Obaseki picked holes in the word “godfather” making it sound like an abominable word that he can never be associated with; but one year into the end of his tenure, just like yesterday, he has become the real godfather to his numerous footsoldiers and political gadflies. He’s even telling his deputy what the deputy can do and must not do, assuming the author of a self-made constitution that bars Phillip Shuaibu’s inalienable right. It may be said that it serves Phillip right, following his indecent behaviour like his boss’, but the fact remains that Governor Obaseki cannot take away the right of anyone as guaranteed by the constitution. Now, Phillip Shuaibu has dared his boss, and declared his ambition to run. Welcome to Edo state’s version of A Game of Thrones and Thorns. Get yourselves some popcorn, fasten your seat-belt, put a drink beside you, and off we go to the cruising altitude of comedy, tragedy and political tragi-comedy. It promises to be a blockbuster kind of drama, unveiling the protagonists and antagonists, locking horns in what promises to be an exciting drudgery. Now that Obaseki’s tenure is coming to an end, with low ratings, no legacy projects, and with his intemperate behaviour towards Senator Oshiomhole staring at him in the mirror, he’s mortally afraid of what Shuaibu’s effort will bring forth before his table of authority. And the circus continues, even as Senator Oshiomhole laughs away the beauty of the soundbites. With his seat belt fastened, the thought of his successor’s bad behaviour still hits at his mental awareness. It is a behaviour that will adversely affect others, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
Power is an opium, an intoxicant that makes men blind to their real intention. Power and its addictive properties easily make men see their tenured positions as an endless voyages; as a sweet sail which end will never come. When they start snoring away their tenure, and the last year knocks with feverish pitch, the entire years scare them away especially when their performance cannot be fully celebrated. If Obaseki’s deputy can run down their own administration, as lacking in sounds and bites, what better interrogation can be more than this authorial verdict in a piece of essay. Rather than be Obaseki’s running mate in the shared vision to deliver on the promises made to Edo people, Shuaibu now uses his own mouth to run down their leadership. Obaseki and Phillip have taken their script to a ridiculous level, showing their cat and mouse skills. That is what happens when there is no sincerity of purpose, when mutual suspicion dominates actions, and when plans after plans are footed as stumbling blocks in the way of the actors. Are they Finishing well as their latest slogan declaims; erosion is still rife in Benin City. Finishing well, yet a library was demolished, to give way to the business of Shoprite’s buying and selling. Yes, a place for knowledge acquisition and research for the tomorrow of Edo state was demolished for Shoprite chains of business. How well is this finishing? Or is it their fight they are promising to finish well. Anyway, what do we expect when the Governor has broken our vertebrae and left us nearly sprawling on the floor unable to be erect. When you affect the psyche of the average Edo mind, the mind of an average Edo mind will get to a psychic level of hollow ritual, loud noise and no content. May we never experience another Godwin Obaseki again. A second affliction will be one too many. Oshiomhole’s taciturn approach will eventually exude much wisdom. May God bless Oshiomhole, our dear state and us all.