IT is understandable why Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is hysterical. He is confronted with the monstrous reality of defeat in the scheduled July 14 governorship election in the State. And because his administration is on a quicksand, he has become desperate, seeking platforms and structures that will give support to his precarious re-election project.
This is the reason he has been shopping for support and endorsements from different quarters that he never gave any consideration or cared about until now that election is around the corner. Oshiomhole had, from the outset of his administration on November 14, 2008, carried on as the Alpha and Omega of governance in Edo State. Ask his commissioners!
He is the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, government in the State; other leaders of the party amount to nothing. As far as he is concerned, they can go to hell. He can afford to underestimate elements in the party because he is governor; whereas, he never had a political structure of his with which he secured the party ticket in 2007 to contest in the governorship election.
The Grace Group founded and funded by his friend, Lucky Igbinedion (former governor of Edo State) and superintended by Pastor Osagie Izze-Iyamu propped him up and sponsored his election on the ACN platform against the PDP and Chief Tony Anenih. The party structure belongs to some forces within and outside the party. But Oshiomhole has, all along, acted in spite of the owners of the structure that produced him on the party platform.
He has successfully arm-twisted and unduly influenced all the elements within the ACN to secure the party nomination. That was after he had been able to etch himself, through propaganda, in the consciousness of gullible groups of people in the State as the best thing to have happened to Edo. He has done so little with so much money and has overrated his performance through half-truths.
While his friend, Lucky Igbinedion, was a disaster and the greatest nightmare that had happened to Edo State in terms of failure of governance, he (Oshiomhole) has performed poorly, scoring below 20 percent; the truth is that 15 percent of the rating he got was on account of the road infrastructure he built in some areas of Etsako ethnic nationality from where he comes in Edo North.
The people of Akoko-Edo and Owan ethnic nationalities in Edo North are complaining because their areas have suffered conscienceless marginalisation in the hands of the Oshiomhole administration. They have not benefitted from the selective road repairs/rehabilitation/construction in Edo North. This is to underscore how Oshiomhole has succeeded to set the people against themselves.
In Edo Central, most of the good roads are the ones constructed by the administration of the late Professor Ambrose Alli and Dr Samuel Ogbemudia. For understandable political motive, he claims to have rehabilitated the less than a kilometre road that leads to the house of Anenih in Uromi. If it is true that he did that, of what significance is that to the people who are locked up in the hinterland of Edo Central which need to be opened up?
What of Edo South, the largest zone in the State? What he claims to have done there is infinitesimal compared to what he has done in his Etsako ethnic nation. How much of the state fund has he pumped into Edo South compared with Edo North (nay Etsako)? Yet, he is claiming a rare performance that will campaign for him.
The vast majority of enlightened people in the State are not deceived. Oshiomhole is running a deceptive government on the platform of Lucky Igbinedion’s disastrous outing, which has made him (Oshiomhole) look like a star with mostly uncompleted political projects and contracts to which he pretends to be committed.
It is true that he has beautified the popular Ring Road in Benin. But what has happened to the N1 billion water fountains that have stopped working? What was the philosophy behind the beautification project? The answer to the last question is simple: To divert the attention of a people who had witnessed his friend (Igbinedion’s) eight-year administration of the locust from the real issues of governance and accountability. Some people now naively talk about this without interrogating other sectors.
It is also true that he has patched some failed parts of a few intra-city roads in Benin. A vast majority of the roads and street roads are still bad and need repairs. The expansion of the eight-kilometre Benin Airport road is perhaps the most expensive road contract in Nigeria. The road contract has been mired in controversy. Oshiomhole knows that governance is not about road alone. But this has been the focus of his propaganda. What about other sectors that have been abandoned?
Oshiomhole knows that the political elites in the State have seen through his chicanery. He knows as much as they (elites) know that his second term in office will be an anti-climax; he knows that they know how uncaring and brutal he will be, knowing full well that he will no longer be constitutionally enabled to seek renewal of mandate if he wins.
This is the scenario in Edo. There are hurdles between Oshiomhole and a second term in office: his ethnic-motivated road rehabilitation, his oppressive treatment of teachers, his intimidation of the organised labour whom he accused of taking a sub-contract from the opposition party to destabilise his administration, his over-taxation regime, his harsh tuition fees increment policy, especially in the state-owned Ambrose Alli University; his demolition of market stalls and so-called illegal structures; his giving official protection to some notorious individuals, including one Osakpanmwan (alias No Molest) who recently assaulted a prince of the Benin monarch, et al.
These are the problems of Oshiomhole which is why he has been running about procuring support and endorsements from every nook and cranny of the State. It is the same desperation that has pushed him to enlist the support of some Niger Delta militants under the leadership of Alhaji Asari Dokubo and his Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, NDPVF, who have not stopped criticising the successful Amnesty Programme of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-controlled Federal Government.
Dokubo was in Benin on April 2 to deliver a lecture on “Niger Delta Excellence in Leadership and Good Governance: The Adams Oshiomhole Example”. Dokubo said on the occasion that he would mobilise militants to take over Edo State during the election to check rigging by the PDP. This is another sign of Oshiomhole’s desperation. He wants to use militants to intimidate innocent electorate and cause commotion in order to be able to manipulate and compromise the process.
I have been trying to understand Dokubo’s stake in the politics of Edo State? Having been dissatisfied with the PDP government over the Amnesty Programme, he has found it convenient to lend himself to the devious usage of ACN’s Oshiomhole in his desperate bid to secure re-election. Perhaps, overwhelmed by the inducement and out of excitement to please his friend, Dokubo gave himself and his strategy away.
Mr. CALLISTUS OMOREGIE, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Benin City, Edo State.