FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, July 20, 2019
odionik.patrick@hotmail.com

GOVERNOR OBASEKI: AND THE DILEMMA OF GODFATHER POLITICS

odfather, traditionally signify a sponsor, originator, advisor or mentor. In Nigeria though, it has been inverted and misconstrued. This is because our so-called political elites like big words and worship titles with no reflection on the wider implications. Consequently, the Nigerian politicians like being glorified as godfathers instead of calling themselves bandit leaders by virtues of their actions and what they stand for! That Nigeria and people have been held hostage by these bandits has to do with its political history and conception. Therefore, No person gets into public office without the backing of a so-called bandit leader. In return, officeholders are expected to maintain absolute loyalty, serve in their shadow and compromise the system of governance to that of self enrichment; not minding the purposes of public service, the public good of hard-work and merit. Increasingly, nobody gets far whether in politics, business and in all aspect of life unless you have a bandit leader as a sponsor. The reach of the arrangement of these bandit leaders and their politics have become big burden and existential threat to Nigeria and its people.

The Nigerian godfather or bandit leader gives power to only those who will continue the same circle of corruption, self interest and greed. It is expected of any of their surrogate to have no room for dissenting and to operate only on the terms set by the former; no matter what? It is this fallout that is at play between Governor Obaseki and Chairman Oshiomole.

Against this background, governor Obaseki is seeing the realities of godfather politics. No wonder that, he is now asking Edo people to help him free from the virus of selfish interests and their greed for Edo people's money. Edo people do not need oracle to know that ex governor Oshiomole is his godfather. Edo people are equally glad that he picked him. If I were Mr Oshiomole looking back to how he came to power and could complete his terms including the prominence of getting his own man into office. He should be quite pleased to free governor Obaseki from this yoke of godfather. Considering that governor Obaseki has the mindset and capacity to make Edo unique and prosperous after the long neglect and poor governance, no matter the personal disagreement. After all, the interests of the state and the welfare of Edo people should be the converging point - 'Edo money belongs to Edo people'. It is a good talk because governance is about people and public services - welfare and public services deliverance!

It is no bad thing to be a godfather per se; if it is about the desire to put someone into public office for public good and for promoting good virtues. So that godsons are free to have their own mind, set their own rules and balance their own policies in light of continuing the good deeds of their godfathers. Anything contrary ought to be resisted by the people! Edo people must stop Chairman Oshiomole from contemplating Tinubu's experiment in Benin City to stop Governor Obaseki's second term bid or instigating chaos in Edo State in order to bring down his government. Edo people are the biggest victim of federal government bad policies and politics. Governor Obaseki is set to give a new narrative to Edo people with a vision on education and vocational skills for the youths in order to end their hopelessness and the quest of wanting to migrate abroad for so-called better life.

Edo state is a rich state from all criteria. Yet, the state is still deprived after the eras of Late Ogbemudia and Professor Alli. If you think Edo State's indigene actually control the politics of Nigeria; then, you wonder why the state has not become the Dubai of Nigeria as opposed to be scorn with all the bad negativities - prostitution, kidnappings, major and petty crimes and the new trend of stealing the pants of women for dubious money making ritual? That the impact of these so-called Hench and Strongmen of Nigerian politics are not felt; or are missing in action points to the direction of self interest and greed. By now, Edo State ought to be boasting of having best roads- dual carriage from Benin City to Abuja via Ekpoma and Auchi, railway networks and Benin Airport becoming international. Considering that more of Edo people are living overseas and contributing more direct foreign remittances to Nigeria. What a shame?

Those who enjoy the privileges of power ought to know that governance come with huge burden and responsibilities. It is a borrowed power of the people; which is not a blank cheque for cheating but for protecting public trust and interests.

Governor Obaseki is not only speaking for himself but for the people of Edo. Who are under siege by a few self-interest driven politicians who parade themselves as godfather. He is the people's governor and has come to serve his people. That Governor Obaseki is now hostage of a system that brought him to office reveals the twist of event. Only fouls should have no mind of their own if governance is about service. Edo people should not accept the kind of dictate that was given to ex Governor Ambode of Lagos State by godfather Tinubu. If we fail to stop the same experiment, Edo people are in for a long walk to freedom and bandit free politics.

Can it be right that the non-state actors have constituted themselves as parallel government, collecting revenue and intimidating the business people? For what was Governor Obaseki elected if it is not for public interest and for the welfare of Edo people? This godfather business is anathema and bad for progress. It undermines the effective functioning of the institutions of the state: might of man versus rule of law. In other words, where the dictate of godfather override the authority of the state, we might end up having a Mafia system of government and no longer a democracy but a diddle-crazy rule. It is also the reason that Nigeria is a lawless society and the destructive cost on its people. Any system that serves only the interest of a few is bound for catastrophic end!

If not that Governor Obaseki is a civilize man, the power of his office is enough to spit fire on all the enemies of progress or at least to make them feel some heat. All the same, both Governor Obaseki and Chairman Oshiomole should arrange a roundtable conversation no matter the depth of the rift and difficulties! Above all, they should begin to worry how posterity will judge them, their legacies and place in history? But then, what does Chairman Oshiomole really want after from being nobody to get so far in Nigeria power chain?

Governor Obaseki should not allow his adversaries to take over the debate. Rather, it is time for him to move away from the shadow of Oshiomole. After all, on becoming the Governor of Edo State, you are at par with your predecessor in finding your own voice, how and what will define you after leaving public office. As critical point, let your goals match the values you uphold as you rightly said "politics is all about services to the people, I'm honoured to serve my people". As such, it is important you get this on your pin board and in front of you in the office; where you will match or review policies against your core values and interests as the purpose of seeking public office on every day basis.

Governor Obaseki's outburst about the greed of few people for Edo' money is a good cause to fight. Therefore, He should be loud and clear about it and stand his ground. He must not compromise his values at any cost for the benefit of office except that, which is informed by the people's interest or is deemed to serve public good. Edo people stand up for Governor Obaseki to do what is right and good for Edo State. It is time to end the politics of godfather, their greed and their selfish interests.

The grace of Edo people will protect and give strength to Governor Obaseki to end this backward politics of godfather in Edo state and Nigeria. Peace can only reign where there is justice! Edo people have suffered too much on this premise of godfather politics. The time is now for a rethink and to end it.

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