By comrade Sunny Ifijen
The problem of Governor Godwin Obaseki, nay Edo State, started from the moment he took office. It was, however, self inflicted as it arose from his character flaw and negative policy direction. Right from the day Obaseki took over the reins of government, he made it abundantly clear that he was going to run a non-inclusive government.
Without mincing words Governor Obaseki made it known that his government was not going to accommodate members of the opposition party the PDP, who had struggled the governorship seat with him. This was an unprecedented decision in words and in deed. True to his words, for the almost four years of Governor Obaseki’s administration, he has never considered it expedient to reach out to members of the opposition party so as to swell the ranks of the APC as his predecessors had considered it wise to do and actually did.
It is instructive to note that the preceding administrations of Governor Lucky Igbinedion and Governor Adams Oshiomhole made overtures to members of the opposition parties, ANPP and PDP, respectively, and converted many not only to join the ruling party but to join government. The effect of such reaching over was that it strengthened the ruling party and weakened the opposition party.
If only Obaseki had left the non inclusiveness to members of the opposition party, one could by now have excused it on his inexperience as a politician and a political administrator. He however, extended his practice of exclusive governance to members of his own party, and in particular, all those who contested the APC governorship ticket with him in 2016. He went further to exclude virtually all the party members that sacrificed their time and resources to make him governor despite his lack of popularity.
To make the matter worse, when he was confronted with the anomalous practice, Governor Obaseki resorted to blackmailing and maligning his benefactors. The matter came to a head when he interfered with the inauguration of the House of Assembly in 2019 by causing the clerk of the House to selectively invite a couple of the members-elect for a secret inauguration so that they could elect a Speaker and Principal Officers he had handpicked. What followed has been a serious crisis whereby the House has largely remained improperly constituted to date and Obaseki had launched a campaign of calumny against the stakeholders who have vowed to make sure he never gets a second term.
Obaseki’s disruptive attitude had not only brought about chaos in the APC, it reduced the quality of governance such that instead of superseding the developmental initiative of his predecessor and benefactor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, he has been struggling to make a mark and has become a poor shadow with a flicker of grandeur sustained by sheer propaganda.
While Obaseki cannot be absolved of blame for his uncanny self-centeredness that distorted the synergy between the government and the party and has in a way affected the desired progress of the State, the APC stakeholders who brought him to such a critical office without proper appreciation of his competence to manage government with party politics should equally be blamed. We should however not rest at the point of regret and blame. There is an urgent need to redress the unfortunate situation that has not only brought Edo APC into public ridicule but Edo State to its present deficiency and the potential of a perilous future if Obaseki is reelected.
Therefore, as Edo State is at the threshold of another governorship election, we must learn from the lesson of Obaseki’s failure and therefore elect the right governorship candidate for the APC and governor for Edo State. What this means is that Edo APC and Edo electorates must elect a man with a proven record of sensitivity and inclusiveness in his character and public service.
ENGR DR CHRIS OGIEMWONYI has proven to be a man of the people since the beginning of his early days in NNPC and MINISTER of the federal republic of Nigeria. He can be trusted as a man that understands and practices the inclusion of similar and diverse interests in furtherance of stability and dynamism of governance structure.
It is an indisputable fact that of all the aspirants jostling form the office of Edo State Governor, ENGR DR CHRIS OGIEMWONYI is the only one that has a mutual relationship with the widest range of the political actors in Edo State. This is not strange.
As an engine room of sorts, of the political associations and parties he has been involved with, like no other person, CHRIS OGIEMWONYI has interacted with almost all the critical stakeholders at very close quarters. In fact, in the governments of late president Yaradua respectively, OGIEMWONYI was the major facilitator in his days why in NNPC and as a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria. He has also been instrumental to the appointment or employment of diverse political interests more than any of those running for the office of the governor.
His relationship is so closely knit with all interests that even the people in opposing camps entertain little or no fear that they would be sidelined or denied their due positions in DR CHRIS OGIEMWONYI government.
Interestingly, CHRIS OGIEMWONYI has a unique way of relating with everybody on the basis of what present value they can add to any process he is involved in without prejudice to the prior position they held in alignment or opposition with him. He is someone that does not take into account political differences occasioned by the individual’s need to defend his immediate political interest.
In building his political structure, OGIEMWONYI has always looked out to include those that were formerly opposed to him but possessed a peculiar brilliance that could be used to achieve an excellent building block. While he is not a man that does not recognize and reward the loyalty of friends and political associates, he also has a penchant for accommodating merit and granting concession to his opponents who he believes has something of value to contribute to the development of the system.
For this awesome quality, it is no wonder that all manner of political actors are included in OGIEMWONYI political structure. He is one man, whether in APC or any order party, there has always be an air of freedom and confidence for persons of contending ideological and political backgrounds around him.
In employing people, OGIEMWONYI has always looked beyond partisan and political interests. His goal has always been to put together the best hands from all divides to build an all encompassing political force for development.
Having been tried and proven, one cannot but be rest assured that OGIEMWONYI will not change his positive pattern as governor of Edo State. It is instructive to note that it is only OGIEMWONYI that has a prior relationship with more than 50% of the managers and major promoters of the respective campaign organizations in the APC governorship race. The same applies to every person in the state. If there is one man that the majority would have confidence in to run a government in which his opponents, including the opposition parties, will not be left out in the cold when he becomes governor, that man is ENGR DR CHRIS OGIEMWONYI.
In conclusion, I want to say that OGIEMWONYI all-inclusive approach to leadership and governance is what Edo State needs now. Edo is in dire need of a leader that will run a government of unity; a governor that will unite all the campaign structures and give them a sense of belonging in the Edo project. Under this kind of atmosphere, I believe that the Man ENGR DR CHRIS OGIEMWONYI, who has an excellent blueprint for taking Edo to a glorious level will be free of distractions to execute his excellent plans and make all Edo people to truly have access to the dividends of their mandate given to OGIEMWONYI the governor.