By John Mayaki
This headline is inter-changeable – it could also have read: Obaseki’s “One-of-a-Kind” Mass Meeting – howbeit, the point would be driven home about a democracy that is people-centered and people-oriented as exemplified by Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s “Town Hall Meetings” and juxtaposed by the other convoked by the September 10th Gubernatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Godwin Obaseki – coined, “Mass Meeting” – the type that allows caged birds to sing.
And so, call it “Mass Meeting or Town Hall Meeting”, you are on point – at least, in all we shall miss of the out-going Governor, we shall receive in manifold, from the soon-to-be Governor in terms of participatory and people-driven governance, free speech, and accommodation of alternative opinions as elements of democratic governance.
However, sooner or later, in a new administration, you start to miss the preceding one – do you know precisely how it feels? I was already missing the Comrade Governor when Godwin Obaseki saved me from myself with his “one-of-a-kind” mass meeting that allowed participants to critique his personality, voice their secret fears, hushed thoughts and violent insecurities for laughs.
I’m not being precipitous – the next governor of Edo state is going to be Godwin Obaseki since the Peoples’ Democratic Party cannot supply the credentials and quality needed – the gifts of an Obaseki, especially those needed in these days of hopeless recessions and economic downturns.
Like Oshiomhole, Obaseki, at the indoor-event, inside the “belly” of Imaguero College delivered a spell-bound-speech tingling the ears, reeling the sorrowful heart in laughter and giving hope to the hopeless – among the mammoth crowd that turned-in for the all-important one-on-one discussion coordinated by a “Brainiac”, Comrade Taiwo Akerele.
The man who emerged taking charge of his own image after his name emblazoned the political space said, “Our Government will make Edo State a country inside a country” – that is the can-do-spirit of the Obaseki and Philip Shaibu ticket – men who would create an enduring public image of success in the face of failure – terrible, horrible economic period.
With their searing but robust experiences in the private sector and in the struggle, Obaseki said commercial agriculture will be a hub for employment in his government adding that his government will build an ultra- modern automobile workshop for National Association of Automobile Technicians and Artisans (NATA) and create broadband in Edo state for internet service.
“Let the flames begin” – the electioneering flames – manifestoes and campaigns, one of the youth who caught the bug hollered.
But the “Brianiac”, Taiwo Akerele who is the Coordinator of the Godwin Obaseki Support Group said the mass meeting which was the first of its kind for Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu was to interact with major voters and key stakeholders.
Akerele explained that aside party politics and campaigns from Senatorial District to another, local government to local government and ward to ward, Obaseki is coming out smoky with other engaging events such as mass meetings, road shows, rallies among others.
Glaringly, and in the hall, not a few persons were sighted awe-stricken, some festooned with frills while other participants were caught open-mouthed listening to Godwin Obaseki’s profile presentation – as professionally delivered by Mr. John Osakwe before 59 invited groups, pensioners, Non-Governmental Organizations and Market Women among other critical stakeholders who interacted with the Obaseki Campaign team to actualize his project.
Osakwe deployed “pidgin” language in his rendition – and it enhanced their understanding of the personality of the man-of-the-moment.
Although pensioners sent in a document aggregating their requests to Obaseki but without a divvied house, the entire participants pledged support for Obaseki in the measure they had given to Governor Oshiomhole, which he has continued to enjoy.
For Oredo market women Association, the renovation of Oba market and clearing of drains must form part of Obaseki’s first 100 days working document while National Association of Automobile Technicians and Artisans, Edo state chapter, demanded a state-of-the-Art workshop.
The never-to-be-left-out Edo state chapter of All Farmers Association of Nigeria also pledged their support just as the President, Bike Riders Association of Edo State said members were already salivating for youth empowerment since Obaseki emerged APC candidate.
If nothing was achieved, the immediate goals came handy – get critical Edo stakeholders to interact with Godwin Obaseki and his Campaign team seamlessly to actualize his project, create a back-to-back communication mechanism in Team GO, and provide opportunity for stakeholders to table their demands before the APC candidate.
Strategically, its intents which among others was to offer direct campaign opportunity for Godwin Obaseki, allow a critique of his personality, offer Community Development Associations (CDAs) leaders the opportunity to interact with the candidate, and also unveil him to critical Edo stakeholders – all these were achieved.
This, though, among others, as contained in his manifesto is our future. Therefore, it’s rather too soon to miss Comrade Governor and his most loyal Deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu – only without a capable replacement from his school of thought combined with his own unique gifts can we look back – an Obaseki paired with Philip Shaibu would fit the bill come November 12, by the time we all say farewell to the “double-barreled” Labour Leader turned politician who demystified governance through town hall meetings – popular participation, good and open governance, transparency and fiscal responsibility.