By Josef Omorotionmwan
WHY are they interested in reviving old wounds? In their naivety, the Governor’s men keep parroting the fact that I worked for another aspirant in the build-up to the primaries; and they proceed in all haste to the conclusion that if my preferred aspirant had won the primaries and the election, I would not have been writing because, according to them, I would have been able to sustain the political dynasty I have built over the years.
True, it was an open contest in which my support for an aspirant was not subterranean. Again, is it not self-evident that if my preferred aspirant had won, some of the issues for which I now complain would not have arisen in the first place?
They under-rate me, though, in their twisted belief that I would have kept quiet, even in the face of evil, if my preferred aspirant had won. If anything, my nearness to the Governor would have enabled me to constantly confront him from within before going public where that failed.
They have asked us to kiss The Observer and EBS goodbye. They must be obeyed. These are State media, subject to State control.
In the particular case of The Observer, it is almost akin to an army of occupation, forcefully sacking the occupant from his bedroom and taking it over! That back-page journalism in The Observer, which has today become the envy of everyone; and one of the few things remaining in the paper, is my brain-child. I heard clearly, the voice of Mark Twain (1835-1910), “When you come to a place, you look for the condition you want; and if it is not there, you create it”. That was the guiding spirit behind my creating that Column. Before my arrival at The Observer, the page was devoted to pool-betting and some morbid sports news. Originally, I created that Column for serious discourses by matured minds, not for praise-singers.
Those familiar with newspapering will quickly tell you that a newspaper without an insignia is like a train without an engine – totally rudderless! Before I got to The Observer, the paper had existed for more than four decades without an insignia. I created what you have today on The Observer Titles, “THAT THE PEOPLE MAY KNOW”, thus providing the paper with some sense of direction.
Essentially, from cover to cover, if my inputs on the Observer were to be removed, the paper would, once more, lie prostrate! That will not happen because Edo is my State and Observer is my baby. The same blessing goes to EBS.
Their descent to voodoo journalism provides the most nauseating scenario. It is still unimaginable that far into the 21st Century, a government would be addressing a perceived challenge, using the 12th Century methods. It is, however, doubtful if they really let the principal into the satanic department where they crossed the red-line into retaining the services of a juju-man to decree death and issue death-threats on those deserving of it, perhaps oblivious that curses are like chickens – they come home to roost. There is a trending video out there from their voodoo domain.
This takes the Administration near Plato’s definition of a degenerating democracy where governance is abandoned to the mob. It is, indeed, a return to atavism!
Praise and worship must be reserved for the churches where they rightly belong. Those who have come face to face with their debilitating effects, particularly in the field of politics, have learnt to avoid them like plague.
How many people remember today that Edo State once produced one of the greatest Local Government Chairmen that this country ever had? The man left lasting legacies – tarred numerous solid roads; and built several solid water-works across the Local Government Area. He provided the type of educational and health facilities that even the State Government could not provide at the time. Prior to this time, people were inundated with the sing-song of how that particular Local Government was getting zero allocation from the Federation Account.
This was the same enthusiasm that the man brought into the State Administration when he was elected Governor. As a matter of fact, some people were already seeing him as a potential President of this country. Alas, he became the best President that Nigeria never had! As a Governor, he was soon ambushed by praise singers. On a few official engagements, he was dragged out of his official car and carried shoulder high – in a manner suggesting that governance was one continuous campaign trail. In the hall, no one heard his address as it was dwarfed by shouts of “o talki na do,” “Ogidigan” and the rest.
That was his albatross. If a man was already getting, in three months, the type of reward that should await him after eight years of service to the people, naturally, he should relax. Unfortunately, some of us were too new in the system to do what we are doing now. And given the mood of the time, it would also have been too hazardous.
Nothing in the foregoing vitiates the fact that excellence and hard-work must be acknowledged. As a way of saving the best for last, there are positive signs that Edo State has a listening Governor. We hear that while his aides were yet ranting over spilled milk at the State Capital, Obaseki has been quietly delivering the dividends of governance across the State. See how he has virtually turned the Evbuobanosa-Oghada-Igbanke Road into an Expressway with the only bridge on that Road now a tourist attraction! Hear one local resident: “We asked for a bridge but Obaseki gave us a bridge and a beach. This is our own idea of Wake and See”.
There is no escaping the inevitable conclusion that the people will remain grateful to him. We shall all celebrate him in due season. For now, our only stipulation is that he should be allowed to work rather than being detoured with seemingly empty shouts of Wake and See at this early stage.