By Osakue Aiyevbekpen
As we start the year 2020, I consider it auspicious to make few remarks on only one aspect of the politics of Edo State. I have watched all kinds of people building a rampart around the Governor (Godwin Obaseki). I believe some are very sincere in expressing their opinions, rightly or wrongly. But many others have prostituted their hearts and souls for pittance. Interestingly, those who did not give Obaseki a chance, those who fought against us with their might, those who were thousands of kilometers away from the battlefield and those who did not even vote for Obaseki are the ones on the corridors of power or on the social media ventilating hot gas. Suddenly, complex and highly risky political operations have become mere patriotic acts for which no commensurate reward should be expected. For the information of the vociferous novices, campaign and election are two related operations that are comparable to war operations. The strategies are similar except that one does not include the use of guns and killings of enemies. In politics, we have opponents and not enemies. In both political and military operations, when a little slip occurs, like it did occur on the side of our then opponents, the consequences could be devastating and irreversible. We took full advantage of their slip to overtake them at the last lap! That’s how the result was delivered! Your entirety must be at alert, think on your feet and respond to situations in split seconds!For the horde of ingratiating manumits and hallelujah choristers, who celebrate outright ingratitude and legendary insensitivity, we pray for them to come face to face with such acts that they now glorify in every facet of their lives! May they commit their intellect and talents and put their lives on line for a cause and at the point of success, may they be so neglected, abandoned, dumped and blackmailed!
What was really the contribution of the candidate in the process of becoming Governor? What public goodwill did he parade? What war-chest did he bring to the war room? What strategic capacity did he bring to the table? What public persuasive skills did he exhibit at campaigns? These are all known to those who were in the arena struggling through the various huddles at each turn and bend of whole story! And someone tries to belittle the heroic accomplishments of others? Good conscience and fairness have long taken flight from these climes and people have become pitiable victims of mountebankery!
I plead with you all, friends and foes, to strive to be a bit kinder, a bit more charitable and considerate in our comments and remarks on matters to which all facts are not available to us. As citizens, our first responsibility is to hold government accountable for its actions. In this regard, how many of us have asked the right questions? How many of us have a copy of the Governor’s manifesto? On what basis can anyone realistically engage government if you don’t have the very basic tools for such engagement? And how can anyone expect real growth and development to occur out of a rigged system? We gloat, hype and celebrate tokenism.
I was invited to defend government policies and vision at the inchoate stages of this government and I did. I was also invited to do a round of media campaign for our party candidates before the elections and I did. I believed it was my government and was ready to do anything and everything possible to make the government succeed. If this government is troubled today, it is not because there were enemies fighting to bring it down. No. It is because the continuity agenda, a major plank of our campaign was repudiated. That action was highly suggestive and that is how people began to murmur. And majorly, it is because of lack of emotional intelligence and inclusiveness resulting from technocratic divertimento!
The present political tempest should have been long nipped in its bud without much cost, just by exhibiting social reflexes and interactions, if my memos and discussions with his close aides during which I articulated practical ways of avoiding the looming crisis had yielded fruits. Mind you, the strategies did not include the sharing of money. It is about closing up relationships and patronage extension to those qualified. The humongous waste of time and resources of today would have been avoided by little gestures of goodwill yesterday!
* Mr. Aiyevbekpen, a strategist and the first DG of Godwin Obaseki Campaign Organisation 2015/16, writes from Benin.