By John Maiyaki
The question should be: how come the manifesto and agenda of the candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is more popular, known, and profound than that of a sitting governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who has the ability, avenue, and opportunity to execute his agenda? As puzzling as it is, this strange obliviousness began in the year 2016 when Godwin Obaseki first contested for the Edo State governorship position.
The absence of a known manifesto holds a very deep and dire consequence. It is an outright exoneration from accountability, the permission to be classically irresponsible, a set up whereby a leader or anyone in similar capacity can turn around and say: “but I did not promise anything.”
Perhaps, it was Pedro Obaseki, that Benin scholar, who first displayed a prophetic understanding of the situation. In his popular 2016 ‘someone I can hold responsible’ interview, the erudite lecturer stated that he would opt for a leader whose manifesto is in the public domain to have to himself, in few years to come, a template of judgment upon which performance is sieved and weighed. For this, he clearly, like he bravely does always, confessed he is not voting his kin Godwin Obaseki.
Now, what has happened? Godwin Obaseki has become the exact thing Pedro Obaseki foresaw. A man that cannot be held responsible, a man whose real intent cannot be known—and paying good heed to the hermeneutics of the English language, intent can in various ways be linked with the manifesto.
Do you want to hold Obaseki responsible? Do you want to score his government? Then on what basis? Against what background? As a governor of which party? Now that he is in the PDP, what exactly is his principle, philosophy, and ambition—and yes, his manifesto? Since going there, he only has catalyzed the emergence of another terminology in the Nigerian political lexicon. Taxpayers!
Godwin Obaseki has no known history, no known friend, no known act of charity, no proven record of activism or unionism, no real political history, and no known loyalty. Godwin Obaseki remains, like Pedro Obaseki foresaw, a man who cannot be held responsible. But then, what is leadership without responsibility?
Mayaki, Director of Communication and Media, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation, writes from Benin