By Erasmus Ikhide

Gov.Oshiomole

The outgoing governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole will be

departing the state political scene with the knife sticking in the hearts

of the people who previously admired him beyond description. His

much-to-be-said-for-and against reflex the governor’s penchant crave for

political banality, godfatherism. He takes his people for zombies, sort of

unthinking people; as if he is robbing a grave!

 

No one can be certain whether he has learned from his imminent departure

from Osadebe Avenue that no imperium is absolute, no victory is complete.

But experience must have taught him that about impermanence in power. He

now has 100 plus days to go. It has become clear that his perceived genuine

commitment for what is right and his sudden fall for hollowness and

inwardness speak only of constant variables: people, power, institutions,

history, past, present and the future.

 

The governorship ambition of one Mr. Godwin Obaseki, a garish parody of

Governor Oshiomhole’s gaieties is at the centre of it all. This singular

misbegotten ambition of Mr. Obaseki has hurl down the comrade governor from

the Himalaya height, lost the people’s love, dominance, bedevilled,

humiliated and, broken upon power. He had chopped down all his legacy of

puritanical poll and now walk the lowly path of perfidy.

 

In 2007, Edo State almost burst at the seam with the campaign enchantment

of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. It was a well woven slogan; revolution-like

song of “No More Godfather” and sundry coinages. That song has now pitiably

been altered by the same comrade to “Continuity Is Not Godfatherism”,

“Anointed Candidacy Is Not Godfatherism”.

 

The allegorical and dystopian novel by George Orwell, Animal Farm

graphically captures the political plot envisioned by the comrade governor,

a pretentious former unionist. The book reflects events leading up to the

Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet

Union. It was a mirror with full consciousness of what he was doing, “to

fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole”.

 

Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile

to Moscow-directed Stalinism, an attitude that was critically shaped by his

experiences during the Spanish Civil War. The Soviet Union, he believed,

had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality and

enforced by a reign of terror.

 

The book is a classic work that ushers in the pass in disguise. The pigs

start to resemble humans, as they walk upright, carry whips, and wear

clothes. The Seven Commandments are abridged to a single phrase: “All

animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. Napoleon

holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with whom he

celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes the practice of the revolutionary

traditions and restores the name “The Manor Farm”. As the animals look from

pigs to humans, they realise they can no longer distinguish between the two.

 

That is the present precarious political situation we have been returned in

Edo presently. Just as The Seven Commandments was abridged to “All animals

are equal but some animals are more equal than the others; the slogan also

changes from “No More Godfatherism”, to “Anointed Candidacy Is Not

godfatherism”. Oshiomhole’s handlers have chosen to have resort to more

obscene illiteracy, rationalising and distinguishing godfatherism from

anointed candidacy.

 

The impression created by such misconception or outright abuse of language

is to arm twist the people and collapse their discerning minds. It is a

devious tactics to avert the mass of the Edo people’s consciousness of the

real situation so as to manipulate the them out of themselves. It is

nothing far from repugnant political gimmick at best, and at worst, brutal

subversive streak of a treacherous make-believe activist going in the name

‘com-rade’.

 

The argument for the reintroduction of godfatherism into Edo political

landscape is solely conducted at the level of Governor Oshiomhole’s

anachronistic leadership failure. It is more so at the level of

followership failure because the people allowed themselves to be deceived

by platitudes parading as governance. Without any conceptual linkage to his

earlier stance on inclusive democracy, Governor Oshiomhole’s diachronic and

stale political language and style are capable of derailing and distorting

the democratic process, going forward.

 

The 2016 gubernatorial election is all about where we are at the moment

rather than where we are coming from and where we are headed. In

retrospect, Governor Oshiomhole’s heroism and considerable political clout

that led to the grand defeat of the godfather of Edo politics and chattered

the nation’s democratic course come with regrettable mayhem and bloodbath.

Many lives were laid waste and others paid the ultimate price for resisting

the then established godfather of Edo politics.

 

Now, we are back to the same era of manipulative banality of the godfather;

this time by the sole-dispenser of One-Person-One-Vote. It was like the

reversion from “The Animal Farmer” to “The Manor Farm” after Napoleon has

castrated all known enemies and chased the rest away from the farm. The

state’s deputy governor, Dr. Pius Odubu barley escaped being killed by

guns-invading-thugs at his campaign venue at Auchi a few weeks ago whose

allegiance is alleged to have resided with the comrade governor. Several

commissioners, executive directors, special advisers and other aides of the

governor have been sacked and jailed for not canvassing for the governor’s

anointed candidate.

 

The comrade governor has been asking Edo people to surrender their

sovereignty to an unstated but turbulent political process that reenacts

everything he previously stood against/for in exchange for the red roof

schools he built and the few roads he tired! Governor Oshiomhole remains a

classic example of how not to be a leader or an incarnate of a mulish

dictator.

 

Democracy in all its majesty will fade if strong individual like Governor

Oshiomhole are allowed the usurp the destinies and sovereignties of nearly

five million people. Edo must remind itself where it is coming from before

it becomes a land of living ghosts. It is time for the governor to realise

that the mood of the Edo electorate at the moment is far from the kind of

evangelical hysteria that attended his first and second coming. The

borrowed glamour and facade are over, so also is the dangerous struggle of

a colossus among the dwarfs.

 

 

 

Erasmus Ikhide, a social activist writes from Lagos, Nigeria.