An appraisal of Governor Godwin Obaseki”s four-year rule in Edo State reveals to any discerning mind that it was an era he fought his enemies at the expense of good governance, which the people yearned for.
Political watchers within and outside the state are often tempted to compare him to the likes of Adolf Hitler of Germany because of his leadership style.
His critics describe him as a man who went out of his way to sweep the legacies of his political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole under the carpet, that he won’t be remembered for virtually nothing using the Hitler strategy of war, which was the main reason Germany was ultimate.
Even though they do not declare Oshiomhole a saint, the critics believe that the governor began the fight too early and took it too far by obviously refusing to accept reality, the same way Hitler took no advice from his Generals and then made poor decisions.
It won’t be out of place to assert that Obaseki was misled by probably myopic observers of Nigeria’s political drama whom, in a bid to attain his second term, daming the consequences.
Edo people and other Nigerians, who have now taken up arms against Obaseki, recall many of his sins against a presumably weak godfather, Oshiomhole, who is accused of acting belatedly even when it was clear that the governor started the war from the inception of his administration.
Also on October 6, 2018, he allegedly imposed his preferred candidates for National/House of Assembly elections on the party in several LGs of the state. February 23, 2019, Obaseki lost his ward, LG, federal constituencies and senatorial district in the Presidential/National Assembly elections.
On March 18, 2019, Obaseki purportedly suspended Gen. Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (rtd) from APC.
On June 5, 2019, he accused Edo APC leaders of fighting him for access to the state treasury to share Edo money. On June 17, 2019, his administration refused to inaugurate 14 APC members-elect into the Edo State House of Assembly. On June 17, 2019, 14 Edo House of Assembly members-elect were attacked at the Golden Tulip Hotel by political thugs.
On July 3, 2019, eight commissioners and special advisers believed to be Oshiomhole’s loyalists were sacked while on July 4, 2019, Chris Okaeben was suspended from the APC by the Oredo LG chapter of the party. On July 23, 2019, Obaseki was fingered in the fight against the ministerial nomination of Clem Agba by President Muhammadu Buhari. On July 31, the chairman of Etsako West LG, Yakubu Musa, was suspended.
On August 29, 2019,a letter was sent to President Buhari through the APC Ovia North East LG chapter rejecting the nomination of Dr. Pius Odubu and Chief Victor Ekhator as chairman and member, board of NDDC respectively. On September 3, 2019, the governor’s lawyer, Andrew Adaze Emwanta filed a case before an FCT High Court, Abuja against the nomination of Odubu as NDDC’s chairman.
On September 27, 2019, the governor sacked Alhaji Aremiyau Momoh as chairman of Etsako East LG while on October 5, 2019, thugs attacked the Benin GRA residence of Oshiomhole.
On October 9, 2019, he proscribed the Edo People’s Movement (EPM) at the Edo APC state party secretariat.
On October 11, 2019- Obaseki ordered the arrest of Hon. Osarobo Idahosa, the APC leader in Ikpoba Okha and about three police hilux vehicles were stationed outside his house for days. On October 18, 2019, Lawrence Okah was suspended as Edo State APC secretary.
On November 2, 2019, thugs riding on a bike booed Oshiomhole at Edo University, Iyamoh convocation.
On November 14, 2019, nine of the 26 exco members were used to suspend Oshiomhole in his ward 10 of Etsako West LG.
On November 21, 2019, a protest was staged at the APC national secretariat led by the governor’s aide, Osagbovo Iyoha, calling for the resignation/removal of Oshiomhole as APC national chairman.
On November 22, 2019, the state government sealed up the hotel of Comrade Osakpomwan Eriyo and seized his caterpillars, excavators and other working equipment at his sand excavation business site.
On December 3, 2019, Frank Okiye declared the seats of 14 APC House of Assembly members-elect vacant and asked INEC to conduct by-elections.
On December 12, 2019, NWC members and Oshiomhole’s convoy were attacked in Benin by thugs, who burnt vehicles, set bonfire on Airport Road and on December 13, 2019, the governor placed a ban on all political rallies and gatherings in both public and private properties with a threat to revoke the Cs of O of such properties.
On December 13, 2019, the state government ordered men of the Nigeria Police to seal up Garrick Memorial School to prevent the welcome rally for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu back to the APC.
On January 29, 2020, he set up a panel to probe Oshiomhole over the construction of the Benin Specialist Hospital.
On February 1, 2020, the state government ordered the Police to seal up ‘Okaigiesan Hall’, the initial venue of the Edo Central APC rally.
On February 3, 2020, he, through his deputy, asked the IG of Police and Director of DSS to arrest Oshiomhole.
On February 5, 2020, the state government demolished the hotel of Comrade Tony Kabaka Adun, a loyalist of Oshiomhole at Ugbor, Benin City.
On February 22, 2020, his loyalists blocked both the street entrance and exit to the Benin private residence of Oshiomhole with Edo State Waste Management trucks. This was to prevent Oshiomhole from accessing his house or receiving guests.
On June 2, 2020, he took the NWC of the APC to the Federal High Court in Benin City to reverse direct primary option to indirect primary. The same day, he also took the NWC to the Federal High Court in Benin City not to accept Ize-Iyamu as a member of the party and to challenge the waiver ordered by NWC.
*Obetoh, a social affairs analyst, writes from Benin