BISI IDAOMI, OSHIOMHOLE AND THE MESSIAH
The Assistant Publicity Secretary of Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bisi Idaomi, a lawyer, may not be stupendously rich, but she is not without natural endowments every man would like to behold. She is charming and lively; with her, there is no dull moment. A staunch supporter and loyalist of Chief Tony Anenih, she hails from Ward 9 (Uneme Erhunrun) in Akoko Edo local government area.
She served as a Special Assistant to former Governor Lucky Igbinedion and was also in the 'government' of Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor. She is on her way to limelight again as an official of the state executive of the PDP and her first step was an interview she granted Saturday Sun on October 15, 2011 with the caption: 'Oshiomhole, not Edo's expected messiah.'
Though, the lady did not state Oshiomhole's forerunner, she concluded he is not the messiah. However, she has some kind words of commendation for Governor Adams Oshiomhole on the on-going development of the state, saying the PDP would 'not do anything to destroy the progress so far made by the Comrade Governor.'
She noted that Oshiomhole has not only embarked on massive road construction, but has also extended it to the rural areas and people in the hinterland who had never thought of having good roads. In her words: 'we also know that he has embarked on massive road network in Etsako West and East council areas, even in places where you have two or three houses. I mean hamlets, roads that lead nowhere.'
According to Idaomi: 'I know what I am talking about because I work in a construction firm. With his good intentions, I still believe he should have put more in the education sector, agriculture and in the youth development scheme.'
Barrister Idaomi, who recently emerged the Assistant Publicity Secretary of her party, PDP, during the harmonised congress held in Benin City, however, boasted that her party was set to reclaim the state and that, 'our target is 70-80 per cent, as a reformed PDP in Edo State. I live in Abuja, but I have a house in Benin and go there about thrice a month. So, from what is on ground, only a foolish person will say Oshiomhole has not done well. What we tell the people is that we want greater improvement. . .' Good talk. She also noted that 'the governor has blocked a lot of leakages in government.'
Yes, I agree with her because one of the first things Oshiomhole did on assuming office was to take a hard look at the structure of public expenditure in the state. In the past, overhead estimates accounted for between 60 and 70 per cent of the budget. That means that for every one naira that the state earned, about 70 kobo went into all kinds of expenditure such as seminars, conferences, workshops, local and overseas travels and pilgrimages.
In the light of the disturbing finding, the governor called the commissioner for finance and budget and said: 'we must reverse the structure. For every one Naira we shall spend, at least 60 to 65 kobo must go to the people through development. We can make do with 35 kobo out of every one Naira. And the starting point is to look at the spending level of the previous years and attack the recurrent expenditure beginning with the cost of running the Governor's Office.'
How did he achieve that feat? Simple. He led by example. He drastically cut down most of the privileges he is supposed to enjoy as the chief executive of the state. And once he did that, that of his deputy was affected, that of the Secretary to the State Government and, of course, from every other commissioner, the required sacrifice.
So, Barrister Idaomi was right, but she boasted that her party would take Edo State over from the ruling party and in doing that, 'we will be very civil and responsible; we are not going to destroy the little progress so far made by the Comrade Governor.'
Coming at a time the fortunes of the party had been dwindling on a per second basis and coupled with the 2012 elections with other party chieftains struggling helplessly to redeem the party from the morass of its past, Bisi Idaomi decided, without equivocation, to give credit to the deserving. This is what the PDP hierarchy would have branded anti-party activity - punishable by the PDP clannish men!
One is consoled that the PDP is still in the frenzy of its infighting while it has an indomitable Oshiomhole to contend with. To put these guys out of business, we need more of Oshiomhole's policies and programmes to unsettle PDP political gladiators who have held the state down.
Oshiomhole's commendation in recent times has continued unabated with series of awards.
He was named the Best Governor of the Year 2010 by the Leadership Newspaper group, just as the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) decorated the governor in Abuja penultimate week. Just as I was reading Idaomi's interview, Oshiomhole was receiving another award in Lagos by the Social Enterprise Report and Award (SERA) at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos and another at Lagos Sheraton by Etsako Club 81.
Praises also came the way of Oshiomhole from the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN), who, at a recent function in the state, said, 'I acknowledge that you are doing a very good job.'
National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi, is another prominent Nigerian that has applauded Oshiomhole for 'developing his state.' Azazi singled out Oshiomhole and his Lagos State counterpart, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), who arguably has also received a lot of encomiums for his dedication and commitment to improving the lot of the common man.
True to Idaomi, Gov. Oshiomhole has showcased massive projects at hand across the three senatorial districts of the state, including roads and schools, beautification projects, waterworks and a storm water project targeted at addressing the perennial flood and erosion problems in the state.
Yusuf, during a recent visit to Edo by a delegation from the Canadian Labour Congress, commended Oshiomhole for the 'quality of infrastructural development in the state' and for his vision and drive to change its fortunes. He went as far as calling on the Organised Labour movement in the state to give full support to the governor in his bid for re-election in 2012.
But, who is Oshiomhole's John the Baptist or forerunner? This is the question Bisi Idaomi is yet to clarify. 'What does Idaomi know about a Messiah? Can she please clarify this point? Before Jesus Christ, the Messiah, there was John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Jesus. He had prepared the way ahead for the Messiah but, if I may ask Idaomi, who is Oshiomhole's forerunner or who prepared the way for him to actualise those good intentions she claims Oshiomhole has for Edo people?
Amana writes from Igarra, Edo State.