The tragedy of governance in Edo(2)
FOR those who have keenly followed the performance” of the Oshiomhole administration, one conclusion is inevitable: that it is a continuation of the Igbinedion years.
The thin line is that while Igbinedion is said not to have done anything at all (and this is arguable) and our public funds just crudely disappeared into private pockets, Oshiomhole has gone digital and scientific by tying the questionable expenditures of contracts which did not pass through due process.
It is therefore understandable why a majority of Edo people have become gullible of the impression of a “performing governor” that Oshiomhole has cleverly orchestrated with the expansion of some roads and renovation of some roadside schools at over-inflated contract sums. This is the issue.
If the claim is that Oshiomhole has performed, the question is: How much financial damage has the so-called performance unjustifiably caused to our public coffers? For instance, the expansion of the eight-kilometre airport.
The renovation of Maria Goretti College was said to have gulped N550 million while that of Idia College purportedly cost N500 million. We are talking of renovation and not building of new schools.
The tragedy of this deceptive governance style is that while Oshiomhole is seen to have done some work in and around Benin City, unenlightened Edo people do not know that billions of naira have been spent in the guise of infrastructure and development projects. The strategy of the Comrade-Governor is simple: He gives the people some things to see and admire which were lacking under Igbinedion.
Now, the economic argument in informed circles is that Oshiomhole’s government has made the people to pay for the financial recklessness of his government through a harsh tax regime. High taxation, they argue, would not have been necessary if there were no leakages occasioned by over-inflated contracts.
The point being made is that with imposition of responsible taxes coupled with judicious use of federally collectible revenues (which have notched up under Oshiomhole than they were under Igbinedion), even a governor without clear vision or sharp focus but with integrity would be able to turn round the fortune of the state.
Does it not, therefore, amount to an abuse of the people’s mandate and betrayal of trust to run Edo State political economy on maladministration? I am sure that if Igiebor were to attempt an assessment of Oshiomhole’s performance, what is on ground today would not be in sync with the original intent and purport of his prophetic proposition(s) when Oshiomhole was yet to throw his hat in the ring for the governorship contest.
Lest I forget, will Igiebor say Oshiomhole is capable of evenhandedness in the development of Edo against the backdrop of the networks of road infrastructure (these are largely non-economic roads) which he constructed in and around his Iyamho village and other communities in Etsako area of the state? The Comrade-Governor did not pretend that he did not know what he was doing. He saw it as an opportunity to develop his area at the expense of other areas, claiming that an Etsako man might never have the opportunity of being governor again.
What of the mansion that he is building in his village? Where is the money coming from? Can he still be said, as Igiebor projected in 2005, that Oshiomhole “commands a deep moral authority?” Besides, where is the nobility of defending the interests of the people? These odious acts are tragic and antithetical to the persona of a self-professed comrade and people’s governor.
Is he, for instance, governor of Iyamho or Etsako? I think he is both and that is why I consider his current enterprise of seeking for the votes of other segments of Edo State in the July 14 poll, perhaps to continue the perpetuation of Iyamho or Etsako agenda in office, repulsive.
Mr. JOHN AINOFENOKHAI, a political analyst, wrote from Anambra State.