I can’t agree less to the axiom which says: “no man has anything, unless it
has been given by God”. It may be the same reason Governor Adams Oshiomhole
of Edo State is a myth and paradox, all together. There is no use denying
that Mr. Oshiomhole achieved some feats by reconstructing few roads and
renovating as much schools in Edo state. In fact, he has achieved what
”gods and goddesses spirits” were incapable of achieving.
Certainly, Governor Oshiomhole will be remembered as a man from the labour
movement that presided over the reconstruction of those roads; red roof
renovation of schools, aped minimally at gully erosion control, built a
five star hospital for eight years – still building it – toppled the
godfathers and ascended to their position amongst others. But ”believe you
me” as commonplace with all great men in history, they are soon destroyed
by ”hubris”, Aristotle’s term for the pride of a tragic hero that leads
him to ignore or over look warnings and break moral laws.
Even with his make-believe accomplishments, his tenure has been marred in
unexampled and Olympian inequality, nepotism and unparalleled lopsidedness
in distribution of political offices in respect to the almighty principle
of Federal Character. The anomalous seed of unemployment, over taxation –
24 different tax collection – and the bizarre indebtedness he bequeathed to
the generation yet unborn is syntonic of failed leadership. These will be
topics for another day; including the reengineering of Agberoism and
godfatherism at the expense of the common wealth of Edo people.
As we approach September 10th governorship election, there is the need to
reflect on the One-Man-One-Vote gambit which has since been replaced with
One-Man-One-Gun! Since 2010, with the use of state machinery at his
disposal, Governor Oshiomhole has continuously turned the hallowed chambers
of the Edo State House of Assembly, EDHA, into a theatre of commotion,
chaos and mockery.
It is said, a king that transformed a jungle to a city will forever be
remembered. At the same, a king that turned a city into a jungle would not
be forgotten. Apologies to his iconoclastic co-travelers, the comrade
governor has been both. That is why Ecclesiastes 7:8 cautions: ”better is
the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is
better than the proud in spirit”. Though, Governor Oshiomhole started
well, his end might be ”inconclusive” and shameful.
Of the six Speakers that held sway since Governor Oshiomhole came to power
in 2008; impeachments; electoral heist, rejection and self abnegating
stepping down has trailed their reign. A quick throwback to 2010, there was
a change in the leadership of the house when Rt. Hon. Zakawanu Garuba
representing Etsako West Constituency 1 was removed as speaker of the
House. Another PDP member Hon. Bright Omokhodion representing Esan West
Constituency was elected as the new Speaker; after he defected to the then
Action Congress (AC).
Talking about records, we are reminded that Governor Oshiomhole broke many
in his riotous more than seven-and-a-half-year of brigade. It is on record
that the imperial governor imported violence into the House of Assembly in
2010 by the forceful and illegal impeachment of Rt. Hon. Zakawanu because
Zakawanu refused to succumb to the dictates of the governor as regards the
removal and suspension of some local council chairmen.
As a rascal, he employed both Orthodox and contemporary weaponry to
pauperise the exalted office of the Speaker. Truth be told, Governor
Oshiomhole cannot be absolved of the consistent and continuous internal
scrabbles that has bedeviled the hallowed chambers since 2010. Free for all
fights were commonplace, honourable members threw caution to the wind and
used both the gavel and the mace – symbols of authority to inflict injuries
on fellow colleagues. Brouhaha reigned supreme. Rt. Hon. Zakawanu’s exit
was as a result of Governor Oshiomhole’s intolerance of the opposition and
the PDP-led House of Assembly.
However, Edo people will never have any cause to behave like the proverbial
man, who, while having his bath under the hot afternoon sun, encountered a
mad man who came and snatched away his towel, and in his stark nakedness,
gave the mad man a hot chase and every person who saw both of them couldn’t
tell the difference between the two of them. This explains why Edo people
should continue to resist the chicanery of a One-Man-One-Gun comrade.
After Rt. Hon. Omokhodion was installed Speaker by the Comrade Governor,
records have it that Hon. Omokhodion lost his re-election bid into the
House of Assembly in 2011. Pundits opined that he lost because the comrade
governor betrayed him and could not rig the election for him. Others assert
that the Comrade governor clandestinely ensured that a ”Judas” like Hon.
Omokhodion never got re-elected. “If he could eat his fellow PDP members by
decamping to the ACN and conspiring against Hon. Zakawanu, what will he not
do to the skin of the lizards in the then ACN?” Another school of thought
believe that his betrayal of the Esan nation by cross-carpeting over to the
then ACN was considered a sacrilege and was responsible for his defeat at
the poll. Hon. Omokhodion has since returned back to PDP.
In June 2011, Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe representing Oredo West Constituency was
elected Speaker. Insider sources had it that Governor Oshiomhole could not
interfere in the affairs of Hon. Igbe because he was the scion of the Prime
Minister of the Benin kingdom, the Iyase of Benin, Chief S.O.U. Igbe and
might incur the wrath of the palace of the Oba of Benin if any foul play
was noticed. As the ‘Oshiomholefication’ of the state’s house of Assembly
continued, in 2014, a major crisis engulfed the House.
That led to the polarized factions of Governor Oshiomhole-led group on the
auspices of Rt. Hon. Igbe and another led by Hon. Festus Ebea, the three
suspended APC members that defected to the PDP and their PDP cohorts
holding different sittings. Governor Oshiomhole’s faction threw decorum
through the window when it started holding plenary at the old Exco Chambers
within the premises of Government House. During that charade, Hon. Tiger
Edoror representing Esan Central Constituency was elected Deputy Speaker of
the Governor Oshiomhole faction. In 2015, Rt. Hon. Igbe lost his
re-election bid and Hon. Tiger Edoror became the Speaker. As it is said,
the moment visionless leaders no longer know what tricks to pull, they
would start doing everything unimaginable.
Less than a year of his second tenure in May 2016, the Governor engineered
the impeachment of Rt. Hon. Edoror after using the ”Tiger” without claws
to accomplish his legislative rascality. The Governor dumped Rt. Hon.
Edoror after using him to block the swearing in of his kinsmen Hon.
Sylvanus Eruaga of the PDP, member elect representing Etsako West II
Constituency on many occasions after disobeying the Court of Appeal’s
judgment for about four months that declared Hon. Eruaga winner, after
disqualifying the APC candidate.
However, Eruaga’s inauguration became a subject of controversy after the
former Speaker Edoror refused to swear in Hon. Eruaga, insisting that the
house was investigating the certificate of return issued by INEC to Hon.
Eruaga, which he dubbed as fake. The ouster of Hon. Edoror and his Deputy
Hon. Bright Osayande for alleged gross misconduct paved the way for the
ascension of the first female Speaker; Rt. Hon. Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie,
representing Uhunmwode Constituency, another treacherous legislator who
many critics posit that she can sell her own mother for money, while Dr.
Justin Okonoboh representing Igueben Constituency emerged Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Edoror was said to be removed because of his alleged highhandedness
and that he ”ate government money” the way the endangered red woodchuck
squirrel eats palm nuts. As he was eating one with his right hand, another
palm nut was in the left, gazing menacingly at the others to feast on in
quick succession! Hon. Kabiru Adjoto another strong ally of Governor
Oshiomhole was one of the principal actors of that palace coup that removed
Hon. Edoror. As the impeachment proceedings against Hon. Edoror proceeds,
many of his aides whispered to newsmen that governor Adams was responsible
for the ”Tiger’s exit”. They said when Hon. Edoror got a scoop of his
impeachment he desperately put a phone call to the Governor that was
rebuffed many times. What a pity!
In July 2016, Hon. Okonoboh who was elected Deputy Speaker in May 2016 was
sworn in as Speaker and the first female Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ativie who was
sworn in as Speaker in May, becomes Deputy Speaker in July. She
relinquished the office of the speaker to become Deputy Speaker! The novel
change of guard of legislative business in Edo State was possible during
Governor Oshiomhole’s reign of terror. Hon. Ativie was alleged to have
collected N30 million Naira to step down for Hon. Okonoboh. It was said
that the change of guard became imperative to create political balance in
governance to reflect equitable representation of the tripartite senatorial
districts. Is it too late to relocate the Speaker seat to Edo Central? Does
producing six Speakers in the life of eight years administration service
the interest of legislative independent? Was it not be same house that
approve the sale of Edo Estate in Lagos for Governor Oshiomhole to sell for
himself, which the previous house under Chief Lucky Igbinedion could not
approve for the PDP governor?
It’s obvious that the grand plan was to enable Governor Oshiomhole
hoodwinked Esan people for the forthcoming September 10th governorship
election after he has forcefully rammed his two puppets down the throes of
Edo electorate. Hon. Okonoboh emergence is said to balance the political
equation with Governor Oshiomhole from Edo North, Pius Odubu from Edo
South, while APC governorship candidate, Mr Godwin Obaseki is from Edo
South and his running mate Hon. Philip Shuaibu, Edo North. How long will
the dramatic impish governor continue to lie to Edo people and Nigerians
without his long nose exposing his digital deceit?
It is only a mad man that goes to town to tell warring audience that he is
God. Everyone with sane mind knows that no man is God. Governor Oshiomhole
is no God. He is a transitory mere mortal with clay feet. As Oshiomhole is
breasting off hostile criticism of his inordinate government, the question
of finishing weak/strong lurks in the outcome of the September 10th
governorship election. It’s a date to look out for.
Ikhide, A Social Activist writes from Lagos.