Accompanied by Osarodion Ogie, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, marched into a compound, trailed by a wagon of men singing cheerfully in what looked like a praise of loyalty pledge. He walked in; chest pumped in gladiator-style, entering an elevated landing where he will briefly be a listener and then, like always, a talker. But studied closely, at least judged by his own words, what he rather entered was an arena, a tournament of fierce competition.
Obaseki has since prided himself to be in serene peace with all men, insisting there is no bad blood with anyone. More so, he vehemently maintained he was happily in good terms with the former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. But if the events of these past few days are anything to go by, Obaseki’s insistence on the existence of amicable accord, falters and crumbles, as fists gear up in anticipation of cantankerous contention.
Yet it is nothing to be surprised about this eventual turn of dynamics, as Obaseki in his three-year stint, has famously secured the reputation of saying things that are amiss, absent and false in reality. This weekend’s comeuppance, however, is characterised by a certain quality which in its stirring nature, seems to have awakened the truths buried deep in the cemetery of Obaseki’s deceitful mind.
Anchored by the seemingly abrasive Ogie, Secretary to the State Government, the truths began to materialize, taking form and spilling unto public access.
In his speech, employing one among the favourite Nigerian punchline of hope, becoming strangely religious, he reminded the audience that their destiny is not in the hand of anybody. At that moment, as against the almost arrogant confident exuded over the preceding months, it was made starkly clear that all is not well, and the looming danger, is powerful and enormous.
What makes the confidence of Obaseki and his acolytes damming and arrogant, is the removed nature of their carriage—that larger-than-life conduct of self, that stubborn insistence that their performance and handling of the state, is contrary to objective analysis, wonderful. When Obaseki took the microphone, his infamous oratory and proficient sophistry could not mask the glaring status of discomfort.
“In the next election, we will shock them”, Obaseki said, and although he may not know it, introduced finally, the searing condition of things: there is fire on the mountain. There always has been, never mind his broad smiles in public. But worse than this, is the grand arrival of the more disheartening truth. It appeared, however, that despite a swift tongue, Obaseki may finally not be so smart. This is proved in his very first statement shot at the sycophant crowd cheering his thoughtless speech: “I want to thank you people, at least your local government is one of those places they have not been able to convince your House of Assembly member to join them, at least you’re being represented in the House today.”
Above is a plain acknowledgement of his own evil machination, an appreciation of the wickedness crafted and enforced by the heartless governor. In one breath of statement, Obaseki makes official his raging war against a certain ‘them’, but worst than that, he unwittingly admitted the crippling of democracy in Edo State, emphasizing that, at least the particular local government legislator, is today among the favoured nine persons his despotism permitted access to the legislative chambers.
On display were resplendent fangs and sharp claws, threatening to rain fire on Edo in their bid to retain power. Ogie, adopting Christian parlance, suddenly remembered destiny against his dark history of mindless exploitation and robbing of the people’s very own destiny.
But it does not cause awe nor wonder because the devil, it is said, quotes and knows the Bible too.
For Obaseki, the band remains the same, except that the piper and the tone are now known, with the tempo incrementally adjusted.
However, the greatest cause for worry is the deeper consequence of the short speech. With such brazen pledge of horror and shock, a manifesto and governance of policy, substance, and achievement is butchered, substituted for a brutal campaign of calumny and animosity. Edo will suffer in the hands of this man, if the impending doom of his return is not averted. Yet one benefit emerges: Obaseki, finally, is known for who he truly is, who he has always been.
– Mayaki, former chief press secretary to Governor Godwin Obaseki writes from UK