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Edo Now, unlike Then

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By John Mayaki

Have we been here before? I know it feels as if virtual reality – politics, election, campaigns and governance – good or bad among others, constitute a change with precedent – negative or positive. But we’ve actually been through an extra-ordinary rapid transition like this before in history, both as a nation and in Edo state – a transition we can learn a lot from.
We’ve heard, “No Vacancy” in Osadebey Avenue – this was when Chief Tony Anenih had teeth to bite. We also overheard, “when a child fails exams, he or she must be allowed to repeat”- this was the sermon according to St. Gabriel, the Esama of Benin on why his son, Chief Lucky Igbinedion should have a second tenure.
In 1999 and 2003, there were transitions – so also in 2007. We had another during 2012 and just around the corner, we are about to experience another.
Although in those days, there are certain awkward orders, the ones you have no right of reply or complain – infact, a cough could earn you suspension or expulsion from the party, when these ‘revered orders’, authoritarian in nature are handed down from ‘above’ – but all those seems vanishing away in recent times – the ones such as, “Anenih say!” “Leader say!” among other threatening ‘commandments’ from the “leader’s bedroom” – we were there before – not anymore.
Campaign of calumny – Oh yes! This is the season – not new. What about intimidation – “we are in power!” “We have federal might!” “We control INEC and security apparatus!” All these you hear when the umbrella party resided in Abuja – this time around, to your tents O Israel – INEC is his own man.
Little wonder, we read headlines such as, “I made Oshiomhole Governor…….Ize-Iyamu”. Just the other day, Chief Tom Ikimi said, “Oshiomhole knelt down to beg me to become Governor…..” and all those trash – we’ve been here before! The man who would win the election must just win, irrespective of the drumbeats from Ikimi, Ize-Iyamu, Dan Orbih and there co-travelers.
There are lessons we can draw from the period 2007 to 2016, when Edo state made series of great leaps forward, propelled by Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole with a clear-headed-visionary Godwin Obaseki in the boardroom – who reshaped governance, politics, mentoring, and leadership.
Oshiomhole, who provided the trigger for our renaissance; our age of political discovery in Edo state, democratized leadership and opened up governance but did not only demystified it, he made the people to embrace popular participation, and mass movement, just as incentives to be literate, which includes social infrastructure among others.
How we, the citizens guide these achievements from eroding remains yet-to-be seen because events unfolding from the opposition typifies one – a party and its chieftains who kept running from pillar to post, just to escape judgment for the avalanche of their past by employing the instrument of blackmail and outlandish propaganda to confuse the electorates.
Now, unlike then, Oshiomhole has shown that good governance is possible, and therefore, amplifying the voices of those who felt they have been injured in the upheaval. Then unlike now, politicians failed to keep up with rapid change, and popular trust deeply eroded. However, now, unlike then, this is the best moment in history to be alive – human health care facilities, education and literacy infrastructures, quadrupled business friendly environment resulting to massive industrialization, road construction, employment, fiscal responsibility, transparency among others which are the flourishing elements of good governance.
Then, unlike now, when inequality grew and the masses felt worse off – they held us, not only by the fist but at the jugular and castrated our collective patrimony – socio-economic life being fundamentally dislocated, as sizeable majority of electorates no longer find them needed to drive the governance process as against the immense improvements we are experiencing in terms of choices and accelerating innovations which distributed wealth across a larger spectrum across the state.
Now, am sure the PDP felt-left-behind – politically, even more so, economically, they resorted to sermons of change-the-change.
Trust, APC is never moved by PDP-crawler’s activities – we’ve been here before. The party is focusing on the people; the vast majority with constant innovations of how to better their lots than a handful-ancient-fellows who refuses to quit the stage.
Oshiomhole knows that more risk taking is required when things change more rapidly, both for workers and businesses. Government’s duty is to strengthen the safety nets and infrastructure so that individuals and companies can be as daring – in terms of learning, adapting and investing in themselves, as they need to be.
In finishing times like this – Oshiomholexit – we are not carried away. We are more, not less, engaged with vast majority of the people because the threats posed by the achievements of this administration by yester-years men, will not be doused by withdrawing the owners – the people.

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