Chief Dan Orbih is not a smallish man but one blessed with an imposing frame. He is the man who flits around Comrade Adams Oshiomhole like the Devil around the biblical Job. He maintains a punky and jibe-like insouciance nearby Edo State Government while making dumb allegations all the time. A recent and classical one is on allegation of frittered N200 Billion. But Edo people, even the Church now know how to fix him due to a learning curve, writes JOHN MAYAKI
Can you hide a gigantic sum of N200 Billion in your chest pocket? This is not exaggeration taken too far; in Dan Orbih’s imagination, it is doable. He had alleged, the other day, that a humongous sum of N200 Billion has been netted into one man’s pocket and in this case, the breast pocket. “It may have been sourced in hard currencies to contain the purse”, don’t you think this is Orbih’s theory?
In a translucently transparent government like the one in Edo State, it is quicker and easier for a graphene-based scanner to reveal images hidden under layers of paint- it’s the latest in a growing toolkit of imaging technologies that conservators can draw on to investigate and can penetrate layers of paint and dirt to reveal previously unknown features without laying a finger, let alone a scalpel; or how else should Orbih’s allegation on Oshiomhole be likened?
Rather for a continuous lie to stick, it’s revealing the truth by the day. The latest from the Bishop of the Anglican Church, when thumbing-up the Oshiomhole’s government. Our brains had suck figures from Orbih who uses it at random (data or figures used inter-changeably) to deceive us and seeking to make us do dumb things to affect our daily existence. Orbih has a cognitive bias either for figures or Oshiomhole such that whenever he speaks to the microphone on figures, Oshiomhole must feature in the attack.
If a man’s lie reveals the truth, he can be said to be slightly less stupid. He may pose to have data about everything being done in government but does not live within the confines of Osadebey Avenue, where, even the market women can effortlessly access; it is so because governance isn’t an organization that is opaquely administered.
The Church can see, if Orbih cannot. To fritter away like Orbih alleged is to squander. Even if he meant pocketed, it does not enjoy rigorous test; his allegation cannot endure. To be exact, he alleged that Governor Oshiomhole had deducted about N200billion from the Councils since he assumed office as governor in 2008. He didn’t stop there, he adduced the paucity of funds and the inability of the councils to pay salaries to alleged deductions from the state government.
He is alone in this fight as tempers flare against him. For instance, men of God such as Bishop Imasuen thanking Oshiomhole saying, “for what you are doing in the life of men and women in Edo State. Before now, it was difficult for us to go through Siluko road, today you can go through it without fear of erosion. With the limited resources, you have been able to put smiles on the faces of the people and we are grateful”.
I like his chosen word, “limited resources”, unlike Orbih who deludes himself. Who needs his support when the Church is with you? Hear the Bishop again, “It is our duty and the duty of the church to support any party that is doing well and wherever we feel the government is not doing well, we also draw their attention.
“Your government has been very effective in the area of development; physical and spiritual. Your government has been listening to many of our suggestions”, not Orbih’s obsessions.
Despite concerted efforts at budgets and released audited financial statements of accounts, Orbih wouldn’t cringe. He has capacity to manufacture and or fabricate extra-large figures that are capable of pulling off the roof. Traditionally, he would release them during “celebrated” press conferences but am sure, he also doesn’t believe himself; knowing fully well that his figures are not hopelessly biased but dished out to less-investigative reporters who would hurriedly serve us the lies a la carte.
There is a learning curve, however. Edo people are wiser and wouldn’t take him seriously- a sort of broken record. Instructively, if you don’t beat your drum for yourself, the drummer is likely to break it for you, that is, if he hasn’t packed it up….Oshiomhole must beat his drum himself and that he has just done. The man who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. Neither Orbih but Oshiomhole is wearing the shoe here.
Hear Oshiomhole’s humble submissions on the plummeting economy, “in this state, we are not perfect, we have asked God to govern the state for us and I believe he is governing the state for us. I am proud to say that in our South-south geopolitical zone, we receive the lowest allocation but we are the only one who is up-to-date in the payment of salaries to workers who work for Edo State Government.”
He said, “There are things going on across the state. There are some of our Local Governments who are not able to pay workers. We are working hard to get them to recognize that the bible says ‘the laborer is entitled to his wages’ whether or not the employer is rich. We are working hard to assist them, to re-engineer their finances because we have no money to give them; we have to tell them to meet their own obligations as specified in the constitution.
“If you look around the country, if you look at Federal projects in Edo State, the construction of Benin-Auchi Roads, once the elections were over, the contractors were gone but our contractors working for Edo State on Siluko road, 2nd East Circular Road, Upper Mission, Queen Ede Erosion Site, the Ekenwan Erosion project is on, the Central Hospital project is going on and we are certain to finish it and complete it this year.
“People ask me how are we able to make this possible and I say to God be the glory because we know what to do and what to stop doing in this moment of financial crisis and to know what we can’t afford to stop and to stop what we need to stop. It requires God’s guidance and courage and by the Grace of God we will continue.
“The State has been kind to me, the people have been generous, they have lavishly supported me not only by voting but also in prayers in spite of my own weaknesses and failings and therefore we are committed to doing everything we can such that the wind of development in this state will not slow down. I am committed to the fact that wherever mistakes have been made, I will try to correct”, Oshiomhole pledged.
Holier than thou or puritan? No. Humble and sincere; yes.
The bitter truth is emerging and council chairmen of the 18 Local Government Areas in the state, are not happy with Orbih. They held a press conference describing Orbih’s allegation as not only senseless and untrue, but an attempt to destroy the name of the Governor.
The state chairman of ALGON and chairman of Ikpoba LGA, Mrs Itoha Osahon-Ogbeide said, “we want make it clear that the Comrade Governor is not in the habit of deducting Local Government statutory allocation. He has never done it, even in my first tenure as chairman of Ikpoba Okhai Local Government, he did not do it so he cannot start it today. Up till date we have paid teachers’ salary, we have not owed teachers one kobo. The problem of none payment of salaries at the Local Government has to so with the deductions from the Federal Government in allocations sent to Local Governments. It started from the issue of crude oil, later it was crash in the price of crude oil. It has nothing to do with the Comrade Governor.
“Yes, some workers protested recently, they did not protest against Oshiomhole. Rather, what they were protesting for was that we should also consider them in the payment of salaries not only teachers. What happened is that at the time teachers’ salaries are deducted from the allocation, we are left with little or nothing to pay workers’ salaries. That is why they are saying that attention should be drawn to them by at least owing teachers for one or two months to enable others get salaries.
“For instance, in my Local Government Ikpoba Okhai, if we don’t pay teachers for one month we can cover the salaries of workers for two months. So that is the problem, it has nothing to do with the state government, though we are used to hearing misguided comments. Orbih is displaying lack of information and it is disappointing. He should look for a means to help his party which is dead in Edo state to resurrect rather than feeding people with wrong information. Allocations are public documents so it is shameful that chairman of a political party will be so misinformed in this manner”, she explained.
“Orbih’s cry is that of a drowning man, seeking to pull others down like him”, the Legal Adviser to ALGON and chairman of Ovia North East LGA, Mrs. Lucy Omagbon flared. For Omagbon, Orbih does not know what to do and how to manage his party. “We as ALGON members are disappointed with his utterances”, said Omagbon.
Worried, Morrison Ogurobo-Ovia (Ovia South West) expressed sadness that Orbih is not abreast of events happening in the country. For him, Governor Adams Oshiomhole should be appreciated because he is the only governor who does not interfere with the Local Government allocations and he has been paying salaries”.
Emphatically, he said, “Oshiomhole does not touch our allocation, he gives us free hand to run the Councils. We are aware that in other states, when allocations come the governors will call the chairmen and ask them what is their wage bill, he gives them workers’ salaries and use the rest the way he wants. But here that is the last thing Oshiomhole will do and we appreciate him for that”.
Another council chairman who couldn’t put his tempers under check against Orbih is Jimoh Ijegbai. The Owan East chairman, said “We are shocked with the figures being brandished by Orbih that Oshiomhole took from Councils. In fact, if you add the entire allocation that comes to the Councils in two years, it is not up to N200billion. So why will somebody say that just to rubbish the Comrade Governor”, he queried.
But a word for my colleagues and media owners. What makes a reporter smarter than the itinerant politician is the formers’ ability to unearth the hidden things around him by thorough investigation and a knack for the news but not here, anymore. Gone are those days when no serious reporter worth his onion will listen to a rabidly and innately professional liar like we have in Edo State Peoples Democratic Party.
Reporters must save us from Orbih, just as they must be smarter and logical than him. They must be grounded in realities than frivolities and inanities. They must avoid the Orbih’s temptation and attempt to rule us with his frequently outrageous self-expression since he wouldn’t desist from grabbing the microphone.
Proprietors alike; they must be weary of some of their unbearably callow and amateurish reporters who perhaps may have taken political lines; this is a contrarian to journalistic ethos. They must insist on facts and proofs since what Orbih chooses to express, is his to prove and defend- and without, a trash can is nearby.
This is more so because this man is a “bottomless pit” when it comes to accusations. Like athletes who either run, throw, jump or hit, Orbih lies. And he does so beyond the rational limit of need. I mean to lie often and quickly that it seems less sport than performance art and pointless all at once.
In all these, Orbih is so unencumbered by the responsibility of adulthood and ungentlemanlike behavior; a potentially self-destructive form of behavior.
Am sure, he knows, that one day, he can no longer eat half a cow in the time it takes him to brush his teeth. And when that day comes, he would be ready; it’s only the truth.