A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Chief Press Secretary to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Prince John Mayaki yesterday feared that if the desperation of the Governor is allowed to continue unchecked, it would endanger the fortunes of the party come 2020.
Mayaki said Obaseki’s desperation, his quest for endorsements from opposition party Chieftains such as Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion and Chief Tom Ikimi, among other anti-party activities tells of a drowning man.
According to him, “even to the most apathetic observer of political events in Edo state, one fact is indisputably clear: Governor Godwin Obaseki is a drowning man.
Across the state, especially in the city of Benin, which is considered to be his foothold, the pomp and pageantry that accompanied his election into office has now been replaced with despondence, disappointment and anger.
Obaseki who campaigned with rosy promises such as the creation of 200,000 new jobs is now considered by many as a flimflammer, following his failure to deliver results or match expectations.
The ‘wake and see’ sobriquet which the governor and his litany of aides, some of whom have no job description yet draw salaries from the state, coined and bestowed on his administration as a hallmark of performance, has now been revised by the people to ‘see and weep’, a description of their regret at the unraveling of a man who promised so much but ultimately gave them nothing but huge debts.
Youths who waited for naught on the 200,000 jobs are now victims of violence, brutality and increased hardship; a situation which has now transformed the ancient city of Benin, otherwise known for industry and productivity, into a theater of protests. When the youths are not protesting infrastructure decay or the reversal of fortunes from that which they were used to under the previous goverment, they are protesting indiscriminate attacks by state actors or criminal elements.
With all of these facts, many of which will be analysed in details in subsequent media engagements, the party hierarchy and the grassroots leadership of the party, should beware that the heightened disaffection for the non-performing smoothtalker will definitely hurt the party’s fortunes at the polls, if not checked.
Already, there is a chasm between the party’s objective and that of Obaseki. In his usual aloof and heady style of governance, Obaseki, high on the euphoria of victory and displaying utter political naivety, labeled party officials who played prominent roles in his campaign as “thieves” and treated them like social pariahs.
There’s no doubt the Governor has become unpopular and facing rejection; both by the people of Edo state and the All Progressives Congress, and this has elicited a dangerous desperation in Obaseki and forcing him into alliances with strange bedfellows. This desperation can be seen in the charade that followed his recent return from a lengthy vacation abroad. Himself and his confused allies, some of whom are tacitly seeking an exit from the sinking ship, could not get their acts together to stage a supposed “organic welcome party” by the people at either the airport or on the streets.
Perhaps the greatest show of desperation came in the celebration of the visit by two PDP chieftains, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin kingdom and Chief Tom Ikimi to the Edo state government house. In a classic show of collective amnesia and cognitive dissonance, Obaseki and his henchmen touted the visits, and approval, of these personalities as an evidence of performance.
In the event that he has forgotten, just as he did all of his promises to the people, it is important to remind Godwin Obaseki that a significant portion of his campaign was focused on demonizing the Igbinedions, with a particular striking allegation that the family, in a brazen act of state capture, colluded with the then PDP candidate, Pastor Ize Iyamu to sell off state assets and divert the proceeds. If this is the case, how can an appraisal from the same man be considered meritous or worthy of celebration by the Governor? Is this a further demonstration of his lack of scruples and principles? Or maybe the allegation isnt without substance and Obaseki has taken the role of Pastor Ize Iyamu in this grand conspiracy to place state resources in the hands and pocket of a few, especially with his eagerness to abdicate responsiblity and ship off all public properties at the slightest opportunity? These are questions Obaseki and his band of incompetent political and media advisors failed to think through, but they must now answer to the impatient public who are tired of governance in “buzz words”.
No drowning man ever goes down without a fight. In a desperate bid to save himself, he kicks, clutches the air and wriggles vigorously, creating ripples across the body of water. The same is the case of Godwin Obaseki who, staring defeat in the face, is now in pursuit of any kind of alliance or “recommendation” to look good. How much time and state resources he is going to commit to this fruitless venture is anybody’s guess. But he must understand that we, the people, are aware and vigilant. We understand that although a drowning man cannot save himself, he remains more than capable of drowning others. His plan, which runs contrary to growth and public good, will be met with resistance. Edo will not go under water.