By Crusoe Osagie
Ordinarily, the piece with the above title does not deserve a reply, and the reason is simple: Reading through it, it is immediately obvious that the author has absolutely no clue on what is happening in Edo State.
However, I am compelled to respond because, as a journalist with about two decades experience, the first thing I do before reading a piece is to check the name of the author and, in this case, I am excited to find that the author is well known.
We worked together at THISDAY for several years. So, for me, this reply is just an intellectual exchange with an opponent I know fairly well.
Firstly, Sufuyan Ojeifo, you may be from Edo State, but you and I know that apart from the jaundiced brief you received from Dan Orbih and other actors in Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), you have no clue on what is happening in Edo State. The first shock I received from reading your piece was when you seemed to suggest that Governor Godwin Obaseki needs to load his government with political jobbers, who you, quite eloquently, described as “experienced grassroots politicians.”
You said: “The dearth of experienced politicians in his government is obvious in his political and strategic missteps”. My question to you is, do all these experienced politicians have to be in Obaseki’s government as political appointees before they can play their roles as political leaders within the ruling party in the state?
On the preposterous allegation of the diversion of rice meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to a senator in Ondo State and to a certain house after the by pass in Benin-City, for which Orbih boasted on a pidgin English radio programme, Man Around Town, I wonder why Ojeifo cannot understand that if any one makes such a definite allegation that a crime has been committed and goes on to state that he has incontrovertible evidence, then, naturally, the police and other security agencies have a job to do on that matter.
On the petition allegedly sent by the PDP to the police claiming that the Honourable Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu, and I may have incited the public against the Edo PDP because we called them a party of bandits and rogues, I would like to remind Ojeifo that a court of competent jurisdiction, in December 2008, in Enugu, convicted a former governor of Edo State on the platform of the PDP for fraud and misappropriation of funds.
So, if we say that such a political party that produced the governor is a party of bandits and rogues, is there no logical premise to draw such a conclusion?
Finally, I would like to remind you of the recent local government elections where the “Team PDP”, who you have described as being on the rampage in Edo State, seeking for goals, chickened out of the process and could not as much as feature even one candidate for the council polls. The 18 council chairmen on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and all the councillors from the party have since been sworn into office and have commenced governing at the grassroots level.
Edo is no longer a fiefdom ruled by a few lords. Hard as this might be for you to accept, there is a new order in the state, in which governance is about the ordinary people of Edo as against the old order of a privileged few. The new order is the new normal and will remain for a long time to come.
Governor Obaseki is committed to sustaining this new order by safeguarding the interests of the ordinary people.
*Osagie is the Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy