By Odeon Kodalo
In terms of governance, political evolution, strategic and critical thinking, these are not certainly the best of times for Edo State. It is very difficult to predict right now, where the state is heading.
In the most recent times, Edo State has literally come to represent the general belief in Africa which suggests that when yesterday’s condition of a patient is far better than that of today, the destination of such patient is obvious, irrespective of the proficiency of the physician.
When such a belief is related to governance, we find a situation where the people who typify the patient in the above analogy, will be lost in negative impulse and very far from improvement, development and visionary legacy which good governance ultimately bequeaths.
In Edo State as we speak, particularly since the inception of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s 2nd term in office, nothing but crisis, conflict and antagonistic policies have been the Hallmark of the system.
In the period under review, since the 2020 electioneering, the age long and enlivened Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structure in Edo State has been systematically dismantled, as well as methodologically and deceitfully displaced; all at the peril of the Edo State people for the singular interest of Governor Godwin Obasek’s second tenure, and that of his Deputy, the SSG and even the Chief of Staff all in one swoop.
Surprisingly, frantic attempts are being made to undo the structure that brought them to office such that it is being brazenly dissolved and disbanded in utter disregard for mutuality devoid of conflict.
In the education sector under Governor Godwin Obaseki, the greatest victims have been the Colleges of Education, Ekiadolor and Igueben; College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi and now, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. These tertiary institutions in the state have experienced serious dislocation and in extreme cases, annihilation.
The Edo State Civil Service has been worse off as it continues to experience turmoil, the way it has been turned inside-out by Governor Obaseki.
Under Obaseki’s watch, very inexperienced and cosmetic consultants have been engaged to disorganise the civil service. The extant rules, principles, norms , methods and statutory order of the Service have been seriously undermined and compromised . The experiences , Seniority and importance of Cadres which used to be the hallmark of the Service are being jettisoned.
The Consultants have designed strange and phoney Cadres that are obviously at variance with the Civil Service and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria such that there is now total disrespect for Seniority. Juniors now brazenly Lord it over Seniors with reckless abandon.
At the behest of the Governor, his administration loudly told the world that e-governance is running in Edo State. To this end, sometime this year, the entire senior category of the Civil Service were mandated to undergo a promotional examination in the State. This they were told was necessary for the purpose of competence, capacity and the much needed reform.
Behold, while many institutions are using CBT as e-tool of participation and engagement, the very Senior civil servants in Edo State were made to write with biro and paper. Several months after the examination, no single candidate or civil servant that participated in that examination can tell the result as scores in the examination have been shrouded in mystery. This is antithetic to digital and e-governance as well as against the transparent utilisation of tax-payers money.
Rather than recognise the so-called competence, capacity and much valued experience of the time-tested Edo State Civil Service that necessitated the exams, it was speculated that, some staff of the Consultants traded and are still trading the scores of the exams, manipulating figures, positions and members of the Edo State Civil Service for self-interest.
What is more, the Edo State Specialist Hospital has been decapitated by Governor Godwin Obaseki. Rather than utilise the space and central location of the facility, at Sapele Road as designed by our forebears, the governor decided to decentralise its location rather than its services. This it was revealed by some residents that the expanse of land available for the Hospital is the interest of the Governor for private grabbing.
If you look around the hospital’s abandoned space right now, particularly on the Ezoti Road axis of the hospital, wild animals and criminals have turned the environment into a place of abode, with no serious intention of the Edo State Government concerning the land.
On the issue of land, Governor Godwin Obaseki is always quick to destroy and in a hurry to grab and acquire land with little or no convincing reasons for such attitude of Government.
Residents around Okoroma, Obazagbon, Evbuekpen and Obayantor are in a serious dilemma to see government acquiring their parcels of land with impunity, without serious consideration for their infrastructure deficit.
To this end, they have rhetorically asked to know what Governor Obaseki really wants.
“Obaseki wants to grab and acquire Garrick Secondary School layout. He wants to acquire and grab the entire Ezoti residential areas. He is intimidating the people Evbuekpen, Okoroma, Obazagbon and many more. What does he really want?”, the residents are asking.
Residents of Ezoti have severally cried out to the Government of Governor Godwin Obaseki to stay away from their heritage and ancestral land bequeathed to them by their forefathers. This is as a result of the fact that Governor Obaseki is considered desperate to acquire their ancestral lands in addition to his desire to destroy all that former Doctors Quarters at Ezoti Street, presently housing several ministries and government functionaries in the State.
According to many residents in the State, “if Governor cannot improve on our lives and facilities he met as Governor, he should leave us the way he met us, rather than destroy the entire place and build empty halls without aesthetic designs, convenience and vision and start to call them Hub”.
“He is busy telling everybody that EMOWAA is a must for his Government, even when he has not done anything to preserve several tourist and common heritage sites in the State. Go to Ramat Park for instance, it is like a village inside a city. Ramat Park is so bushy and irritating.
Several heritages such as the Central Specialist Hospital that was a beehive of activities and attractive to visitors and tourists, The Edo State Library, Edo Broadcasting Service, (EBS) and Bendel Newspapers Corporation, publishers of The OBSERVER titles, Ethiope Publishing, Edo Line, Edo State Library which collectively form part of our common patrimony and heritage have been strangely destroyed by Governor Godwin Obaseki for no convincing reasons and better alternative.
“In short, Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration has become so impulsive, prodigious and destructive not only to infrastructure, but also very caustic to the entire Government ecosystem and apparatus in the State.
“We had Gen. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia in this State. He built the likes of The Nigerian Observer as the mouth piece of government and the voice of the people and several other facilities. We had Prof. Ambrose Alli who built the University that Obaseki is frustrating today; and many more. These past Govenors neither destroyed nor displaced citizens and the system. The Secretariat that was renovated by Governor Godwin Obaseki recently was designed and built over forty (40) years ago. Yet it is still serving the purpose it was initially met to serve. The ICE building was built several years ago. It was renovated and is currently in use. Why the destructive tendencies and displacement of people and the system by this present administration?
The earlier a stop is put to these dangerous trends the better for Edo people.
-Odeon Kodalo writes from Abudu, Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Edo State.
Why Peter Obi Deserves To Lead Nigeria – Baba-Ahmed
Labour Party (LP) vice presidential candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, has insisted that Peter Obi deserves to lead Nigeria because he knows how to create wealth.
The former lawmaker and LP presidential flagbearer addressed thousands of supporters on Thursday at a summit at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.
The gathering comprised the members of more than 80 groups working for the 2023 bid of the former Anambra governor.
Baba-Ahmed said Obi’s achievements while in office for eight years should give citizens hope that with LP in power, Nigeria will be saved.
The Baze University founder called for vigilance ahead of the election and cautioned riggers to allow the voice of the people to prevail.
Baba-Ahmed assured that he and Obi were not seeking the seat of power so as to “look for money”.
“We are looking for how to manage government money by following a serious leader who knows how to create wealth.
“I am following a leader who has nothing to achieve again in this life except to see a peaceful and prosperous nation.
“It pains me when a uniform staff of a federal government of Nigeria, in broad daylight, collects money.
“Each time I see it, my heart breaks. That act is as bad as a $20billion scandal and it happens every day. We are going to end it”, Baba-Ahmed vowed.
APC Has Ruined Nigeria – Ex-minister
Former minister of Sports and Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi, on Wednesday urged Nigerians to vote out the All Progressive Congress in the 2023 elections, saying that the present ruling party has ruined the nation.
The ex-minister said the 2023 general elections offer Nigerians another historic opportunity to make Nigeria work again.
He stated that the dream of making Nigeria great could only be achieved if citizens, through the elections, chased away politicians in the fold of APC.
Abdullahi, Kwara central senatorial candidate of the PDP, in the forthcoming general election expressed this while featuring at the 33rd edition of the ‘Media Parliament’ of the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Ilorin.
He spoke on ‘Retooling Nigeria For the Task Ahead’.
Abdullahi said, “The APC government has brought this nation to its kneels. All the things we thought could not happened had happened in the last seven years. There is no way we can exonerate APC from the problems of this country.
“APC has ruined this country. Nigerians should say no to any politician seeking elective office under APC. 2023 presents historic opportunity to make Nigeria work again.
“Every Nigerian lives in fear today because of the problems of insecurity and poverty. The poorest of the poor are 90 million in Nigeria today. But we seem not to understand the magnitude of the problem facing us. We carry on as if all is well. We are treating cancer with wrapping bandage on it.”
Abdullahi also traced Nigeria’s problem to 1966 when the nation had its first coup plot, said that no nation can have peace without justice.
He added, “After the civil war our leaders ought to realise that the Nigeria that the British gave us could not work. We should have restructured the country then.
“Another opportunity we missed to make Nigeria a real nation was the annulment of June 12. We diagnosed the issue as if it was a Yoruba problem and decided to make one of them a president in 1999. We had a lot of opportunities in June 12 debacle but we bungled them.”
Speaking on the lingering ASUU strike, the former Minister called for an urgent resolution to save the nation’s education sector from total collapse.
According to him the issue in contention should be resolved amicably to enable students resume academic activities.
He expressed worry over the security challenges in the country, adding that all hands must be on deck to bring a lasting solution to the problem.
Abdullahi also urged the youths to contribute their quota to ensure better development of the country.
Earlier in his address of welcome the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists Kwara state Council, Ahmed Abdulateef, called for the collaboration of all stakeholders to make the country better.
Tension Mounts In PDP As Crisis Worsens; Elders Weigh Options
Bode Gorge, Others Call For Ayu’s Resignation
Amid tensions, some elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, intervened in the crisis rocking the party by giving approval for the constitution of the presidential campaign council.
Vanguard gathered that while some PDP leaders are pushing for the party to wield the big stick against those engaged in anti-party activities, other leaders are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts.
It was learned in Abuja yesterday that the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and other organs of the party, including the National Working Committee, NWC, the Caucus and the Board of Trustees, BoT, have agreed to go ahead with the constitution of the party’s presidential campaign council.
This came on a day former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, urged the PDP National Chair-man, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to honourably resign.
George, however, urged Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State not to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, despite misgivings over the choice of running mate to the PDP presidential candidate.
Party elders wade in, mull options
A top ranking member of the party, who is familiar with the issue but elected to speak in confidence, said: “We held a major consultative meeting on Tuesday and I can assure you that the membership of the council will be announced in the next two weeks.
“Campaigns start next month; we want to be up and running before this happens. We have been reaching out to our members nationwide, including our respected leaders in Rivers State.
“Details of our next steps are being worked out. You know the PDP, being a very large family, has a lot of tendencies and individuals and groups have egos that require massaging. We are doing that.
“There are those pushing for us to wield the big stick but the majority are more favourably disposed to ongoing reconciliatory efforts because we are in opposition; we need everyone more than the ruling party.”
Another party leader, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said: “The PDP has dealt with bigger challenges; this one too has come and it will go. Governor Wike, whose name is being mentioned anytime our current challenges are cited, is a party man, he has said it himself.
“He has other party leaders who respect him and look up to him to protect their political interests. Whatsoever those interests may be, he feels an obligation to protect those who stuck out their necks for him during his bid for the ticket.
“It is the pursuit of this that has delayed us till now but we must make progress; we have an election to win and there will be positions of responsibilities to be given out. It is the patience component that is the issue at the moment.”
Substantial progress is being made — Atiku’s camp
When contacted, Mazi Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said: “Substantial progress is being made with regards to resolving outstanding issues. My principal has assured the party and all members that everyone will be carried along. That commitment has not changed.”
We’ll resolve crisis soon—PDP leader
Also speaking, a top PDP leader told Vanguard that leaders are making moves to resolve the crisis.
The PDP leader, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are making efforts to resolve the crisis.
“All I know is that Wike will not leave the party. As regards inviting APC leaders to commission projects in his state, he has said it before that he would invite leaders across party lines to commission projects in Rivers. I can assure you that the crisis within the party will be resolved soon.”
Ayu should resign honourably —Bode George
Commenting on the crisis rocking the party, George, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, insisted that Ayu should honour his words by stepping down as national chairman of the party.
He, however, urged Governor Wike not to join APC, despite misgivings over the choice of Atiku’s running mate, saying “you don’t win all the time.”
Heis words: “In democracy, we must talk and exchange ideas. We must agree and disagree without actually being disagreeable. Any organisation with human beings will always have issues but the ability to manage that crisis will be the determining factor.
“I want to appeal to all sides to sheathe their swords. Nigerians are waiting for us and we must convince them that we can manage the resources of the country in an equitable manner.
“They should all cease fire. Statements of arrogance and innuendos that can destroy the party should stop forthwith.
“Zoning has sustained our democracy for this long because it’s the concept that established our party.
“My plea is that all should cool temper because if we don’t get it right this time around, this nation will never forgive us. Nigerians are waiting for the PDP.”
On 2023 general election, George said it was not yet uhuru.
While expressing worry over the security situation in the country, he said: “My fear is that if the insecurity continues, who will be bold enough to campaign or cast votes during election?
“These are serious issues we must consider. Are we thinking about it? It’s scary. How will people go out to vote on the day of election?”
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