By John Mayaki
Yes, he did not pass the O’ levels exams – he failed Mathematics and English – yet, if you compare his result sheet with his scorecard as governor, the man did far better in that examination. People often ask, why do we always ask Obaseki about his achievements. Was that not the same question that PDP asked in 2016 after Adams Oshiomhole brought him up in government? We are a democratic party and we believe that after staying in office for four years, one should be able to defend his achievements and campaign to continue it.
Obaseki knows this. And this is why when he was in APC, he defended the $75m World Bank loan which the state government took in 2016 while APC was campaigning for him to be governor. He was the head of the Economic and Strategic Planning Committee, and that was why, he claimed that the PDP chairman, Dan Orbih, should be ashamed at the level of ignorance displayed by the opposition party in the state. He even appealed to PDP in Edo to verify the educational status of Dan Orbih and review his stay in office as the chairman of the opposition party in the state.
He had described PDP as a deformed political party which is too outdated to withstand this knowledge age of information technology. He invited the executive and members of the PDP in the state on a one-month project tour round some of the World Bank projects across the state with relevant documents. Oshiomhole, he said then, had given value to every government investment on project whether its road, water, schools, electricity or erosion controls etc.
So why did Obaseki now open his mouth to say that APC ran the state aground before he took over? Anyone who knows Obaseki well will know that he is not a stutterer, except when confronted with inconvenient truth. He stuttered throughout the Channels Television debate simply because he was being asked to account for four years in government. He tried to blame his failure on the past government, but he was reminded that he was a part of that government.
PDP blasted him in 2018 for closing down schools. They were not lying. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu asked him why over 38% of Edo teachers are retired. There is a scarcity of teachers in schools in Edo. The governor stuttered. He, it must be restated, only stutters when he is unsure of what he was saying. He was prepared for the question on 200,000 jobs and was able to lie effortlessly about creating 157,000 jobs. But when he was told that political appointments are not jobs, he stammered.
In the past four years, the economy of Edo has been mismanaged, plundered, with huge amounts flushed down the drain without any tangible achievements in agriculture, healthcare, industries and so on. Edo is in a sorry state, and this reality was emphasised by the PDP themselves all through these four years. APC knew this and rejected him, and then the PDP accepted him. A party that welcomes a turncoat has ulterior motives. A party that employs a turncoat who performed better in a failed O’ level than he did in government is a party no one should touch with a long pole.
“You seem to forget you have been governor for the past 4 years. Were you sleeping in the past four years? Is that why you asked us to sleep and wake before seeing your work,” Pastor Ize-Iyamu had asked him.
He could not provide any answers. A new government can campaign on promises, but an old government must show what it has done. This man wants to start afresh. He bamboozles us like he is the only educated man in the state. He says that the workings of governments are too complicated for our mere illiterate minds. We who scored higher than him in school? Even if we did not, does that mean we are not qualified to know what is going on?
While the governor was busy making up phantom figures, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said, “We will go vigorously on E-learning. It is something we will do in the first 100 days in office.”
He knows this because already he has a school where this is being practiced. Anyone in Benin can attest to that. He did not only ask the governor to show his scorecard, he delivered his own scorecard. A governor who has paid so little attention to health sector and admitted that he has never stepped his foot into the central hospital as governor, and who did not know that Stella Obasanjo hospital has existed for over 12 years is a most distasteful failure who does not deserve second term. Today if an audit is done on health workers, Edo State Health Management Board has less than 200 workers. As for the School of Nursing and Midwifery; it has been closed down.
Of course, we saw how Obaseki has in the last four years done little else that hold one workshop/summit or the other. Anyone interested can go to Hotel Randekhi in Benin City to verify this. He was always there with workshops and summits that brought absolutely nothing to the state. Meanwhile, the same cannot be said of his company in Lagos, Afrinvest. On the other hand, Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s farm is thriving in Edo and he has proven his mettle unlike the governor who is completely at sea in the agricultural sector.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu was clear when he said: “We need to really invest in technology in our schools to train teachers. Hear him again: “If our churches can be running e-learning during this pandemic, why can’t our government do the same?
He said more: “The truth is that a person can be a technocrat but remain technologically illiterate. The governor is not a technocrat. He has also not developed the state technologically. How can he account for receiving up to three windfalls from federal government and still borrowing heavily and running the state into debts?
APC is certainly not attacking Obaseki for fun. If he had performed, he would ordinarily be able to defend his record if only to refute the claim that projects which he continues to project in the media are anything but phantom. But he knows he cannot.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu on the other hand has presented his SIMPLE agenda which sums up his vision of what the next four years under his watch would look like.
Like his SIMPLE agenda, the choice on Saturday for the people of Edo is a relatively simple one. They understand the SIMPLE agenda. They will vote in Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He will work. He will not be focused on vengeance. He will appoint only competent people that can move Edo forward to work with him. This is what he brings to the table.
By the way, what else can the man whose commissioner is rotting in an Italian jail for money laundering bring to the table? Edo people will speak to this as indeed other sundry the malfeasances of the Obaseki administration on Saturday. Trust me, it will be loud and clear.
Mayaki is chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council.