Lessons From Governor Obaseki

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LESSONS FROM GOVERNOR OBASEKI By Sampson Sampson Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in South-South Nigeria was in Akwa Ibom to witness the official flag-off of campaigns of the APC gubernatorial candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, popularly referred to as the ONE. The event which held at the Uyo Township Stadium drew a humongous crowd including the timbers and calibres of Akwa Ibom politics. But the focus of this piece is neither about the unprecedented crowd that thronged the venue nor the array of political juggernauts that were present at the event. It is also not about the fine political speeches symbolising a unity of purpose that were made. It is more about the hard facts that were contained in Obaseki’s goodwill message to the candidate of APC and the good people of Akwa Ibom State. Governor Obaseki had said that in Akpabio’s era, Akwa Ibom used to be the envy of other states because of its pace of development. “Akwa Ibom is a State we used to look up to with envy but after he left, all that disappeared” , the dark skinned and confident looking governor noted in a deep sonorous voice. He asked the cheering and enthusiastic crowd if they have not noticed the difference to which they responded in the affirmative. He charged them to be circumspect and elect a leader that would return the State to that pride of place pointing out that Obong Nsima Ekere has the pedigree to do that if elected into office. The deduction in Obaseki’s statement is a confirmation that the then well publicised “Uncommon Transformation ” was not a ruse but a well coordinated development paradigm that is in tandem with universal development model. This widely accepted view is in sharp disagreement with the opinion of the Udom Administration which is busy albeit fruitlessly pushing a strange opinion that the Administration which he served under as Secretary to the State Government only built MONUMENTS that has no economic value. Many have repudiated the statement and declared it as a mark of frustration on the part of Governor Emmanuel whose electoral fortune in the 2019 election is dimming by the day in the face of mass defections. With no scorecard to guarantee his reelection, Udom sees Akpabio as his Achilles’ heel believing that if the latter had not joined the APC, he would have easily coasted home to victory. This development has forced Governor Emmanuel into unrestrained rantings that sometimes tend to diminish his office. GovernorObaseki also made a poignant statement of compelling interest. He said that Edo State gets one-fifth of what Akwa Ibom gets and that as paltry as that is, he has achieved a quantum leap in infrastructure development without owing any salary, pension or gratuity. It is on record that the only achievement the Udom administration flaunts lavishly is the payment of salary which, however, falls under moral obligation which posits that a worker deserves his wages. Payments of promotion arreas, pensions and gratuities are still contentious and yet to be addressed by this Administration despite defeaning outcry by intended beneficiaries. Akwa Ibom has for sometime now been the highest beneficiary of money from the FEDERATION ACCOUNT. But it has been widely agreed that work on ground does not commensurate the quantum of funds received. The Administration can not point at any completed project which led former governor, His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah to describe it as “mystery”. The Administration has laid claim to constructing 1,750 kilometers of road but the roads are not seen. It has laid claim to industries but these are privately owned cottage industries. It has laid claim to a revolution in agriculture and taken this deceitful act further by leading a coterie of government functionaries to inaugurate a private farm and presenting bags of rice with Adamawa inscription on them. The Administration is therefore deficit in public trust. Perhaps one of the most instructive lessons from Governor Obaseki was the reference to his relationship with his predecessor, currently the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, His Excellency, Adams Oshiomole. He proudly said that when Mr President visited Edo State recently for campaigns, his predecessor publicly declared that he is proud of what his successor is doing. Can Udom’s predecessor say same of him? Very doubtful and rightly so. This reasoning is germane in the fact that development has plummeted since Udom came into office. Even projects which he was a part of and which he has refused to complete for reasons unknown to Akwa Ibom people despite its obvious benefits have forced many to ascertain that the incumbent governor does not mean well for the State and therefore undeserving of another term. Sampson hails from Akwa Ibom State.
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