Obaseki’s Metamorphosis In Edo Politics (1)

By Iwelunmor Patrick
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Godwin Obaseki came into political limelight when he became the driver of the economic management team during the tenure of former Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. Then, he was regularly applauded for the quality and ingenuity of the ideas and economic revival strategies he brought to the table. It was based on those antecedents that he was embraced by the generality of progressive-minded Edo people who encouraged him to mount the saddle of leadership as the Executive Governor of Edo State in 2016. The campaign manifestos that brought him into office were intellectually boisterous and issues-based. There were no qualms communicating his candidature’s unique selling points to the people of Edo State who, in turn, voted massively for him.

Since he assumed office, Obaseki has demonstrated, beyond every iota of doubt, a great capacity to build lasting legacies that will make life easy for many generations of Edo people. Against all Mephistophelean reservations from opposition quarters, Obaseki has engendered a patriotic zeal for governance comparable only to what was obtainable in the temporal milieus of the Samuel Ogmedmudias and the Ambrose Allis. He has surrounded himself with creative minds who have continued to churn out impressive developmental ideas and winning concepts in their various fields of endeavour. The Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-Best) programme is the product of a man’s irrepressible passion to positively change the narrative of the educational life-cycle of an average Edo child who before now, had been an endangered species. Under the Edo-Best programme, over 11, 400 primary school teachers have received cutting-edge capacity building training with over 243 schools built and free books, totalling over 1.1 million distributed. The programme has become a model in Nigeria and in some African countries. More so, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum have applauded the success and innovativeness of the programme.

In the area of infrastructural development, Obaseki parades a superlative scorecard borne out of a problem-solving mind-set. With the construction of over 800 roads, stretching 2000km and with a road completed or nearing completion in each of the 192 wards in the state, his government has etched its name on the firmament of good governance in Nigeria and beyond. The reconstruction of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium coupled with the 20 mini stadia being built across the state will impact positively on Edo youths, who before now, were famed victims of illegal migration and human trafficking. Using sports as a social re-engineering strategy, Obaseki has been championing a robust attitudinal change campaign that has led to a drastic reduction in the number of Edo State indigenes who ignorantly take to illegal migration and human trafficking as routes to greener pastures. His collaboration with the European Union and the Italian Government in the fight against these illicit ventures has made them very unattractive. And with a multi-million dollar Agro-Credit scheme for repentant victims and patrons of these illicit ventures that promoted international prostitution, human part harvesting and vending and drug trafficking, that toga that portrayed Edo youths as desperados has been torn to pieces. A grand and burgeoning reputation for cerebral and entrepreneurial pursuits has replaced the unbridled propensity for crime. Obaseki’s insistence on universal best practice in all facets of Edo life coupled with an exemplary resolve to preserve and propagate the cultural values of his people is responsible for this. As the Edo 2020 gubernatorial elections draw near, all Edo youths, leaders of thought, the intelligentsia, religious and traditional leaders should rally support for their illustrious son so he can complete the beautiful job he is doing. Unless they want to retrogress into the heart of darkness, supporting him will help actualize that legacy of a bright future for many generations, including the unborn. Without undermining the martial ululations of his political opponents, the coming elections will be a great and historic political Armageddon.

This is the time to showcase his achievements and not to engage in needless political mudslinging with the opposition. Every lie told about him must be rebuffed with verifiable facts and performance indices. Propaganda may sell temporarily but truth endures forever. Obaseki should engage his people on an interactive platform where mutually-beneficial issues will be addressed. Let him continually carry them along on the progresses he has made in his quest to better their lives and assure them of his government’s readiness to do more. Above all, his bridge-building efforts across the South-South region are commendable. Together with my state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, they should consider the idea of creating a Delta-Edo Development Commission to help do more in teackling socio-economic challenges, especially unemployment.

Iwelunmor Patrick, a Public Relations and Media Practitioner, writes from Lagos.