By Oriaifoh Godwins
Edo State is lost! This is a fact that is verifiable especially going by the developments that has been happening in Edo State, in the pasttwo to three years and more importantly, in the very recent past.
Every normal human being that knows what the Heart Beat of the Nation, Edo State, was, cannot argue with the fact that the state has colossally disintegrated so much that the economy is in disarray, morals are bankrupt, due process thrown into the dustbin, executiverascalities has taken the centre stage, the law making organ of government, muffled and its members reduced to mere errand boys, thewind of uncertainty blows on a daily basis in Edo political and business environments and worse still, hoodlums cultists, and othercriminals are having their field day with absolute impunity and confidence and a good number of Edo youths have been prematurely sentto the great beyond.
In view of the above, the big expected question, on the lips of everyone, is “how did we get here?”
Yes, Edo State did not just get to this degenerate situation in one day. It was a gradual, steady and progressive rot that were at every point, ignored and undermined. Edo State got this rotten as a result of the selfish and self-centeredness of the political leaders that believe in dictatorial process of governing the state.
During the hey days of the late Chief Tony Anenih in the political atmosphere of Edo State and Nigeria, all powers rested in the hands ofMr. Fix It, as he was popularly called.
However, Chief Anenih,erroneously, but fortunately for Edo State, anointed Comrade AdamsOshiomhole to pilot the political affairs of Edo State.Oshiomhole got to Osadebey Avenue and ensured that he was in total control of all – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
It was during Oshiomhole’s time as the Governor of Edo State, that the ‘Waragainst godfatherism’ was fought and won, and the political kingpinsthat controlled the political environment in Edo State, that decide who gets an appointment, who wins an election, were made irrelevant.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole sure made a point, and also set a good precedence. Edo people will forever respect and give credit to Oshiomhole with respect to infrastructural development especially in the schools, road networks, and health; as Oshiomhole’s impact in these areas, were, and are still evident in the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
Again, history recorded that during the time of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the roof of the Chambers where plenaries were held in the Edo State House of Assembly, EDHA, were removed so as to disallow sittings from taking place. According to Oshiomhole, he did that to prevent the legislature from impeaching him at that time. This however, is a bad precedence.
However, at the expiration of Oshiomhole’s tenure, he erroneously andunfortunately anointed Mr. Godwin Obaseki to succeed him, in spite of all the dissenting voices from Edo people and his party members.
In 2016, Obaseki took over the saddle of Edo State Government, and shut his doors to all the structures that assisted him to climb, including the so called ‘godfather’ Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The law of Karma? Yes, indeed, but Obaseki did worse as he went ahead to connivewith others to ‘pull’ Oshiomhole, who lifted him up, down from a ‘high level’.
Mr. Obaseki did not only scheme out the majority members elect of theEdo State House of Assembly, EDHA, from being inaugurated, when he conducted a selective nocturnal inauguration of five willing members elect plus four unwilling members elect that were kidnapped and forced to be a part of a shameful so called inauguration. It is also on record that thugs, backed up by the Police, and led by the then Chief Security Officer at the Government House, DSP Chris Nwokolo, invadedGolden Tulips Hotel where the other fourteen members were holding a Press Conference, beat them to a pulp, vandalise their personal effects and exiled them from Edo State.
Yes, the current government of Edo State took the sordid and disdain treatment of the legislative arm of government to a higher level than what Oshiomhole did, andunfortunately, some Edo people clapped for and hailed this incongruity.
Again, when hand grenades were used to attack the homes of politicalopponents, some Edolites hailed the violence, while many underplayedthe negative impact it may have on the society in the short and long run.
Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Hon. Chris Okaeben and Barrister Henry Idahagbon were at the receiving end when this happened. The above treatment to the legislature was just the beginning.
The Edo State House of Assembly premises was turned to a den of thugs where cannabis and other hard drugs were freely used, as the governor, Mr. Obaseki and his Deputy, Phillip Shaibu, on the 6th of August,November 2020, supervised the blocking of the entrance gates to Edo Assembly premises after ordering tipper loads of gravel to be offloaded to block the gates.
If all the above explained, does not constitute irregularities and recklessness of the executive, I wonder how else executive rascality can be described.
The whole world witnessed with disdain and rude shock how some persons in the diaspora who claimed to have ‘worked’ for the reelection of Mr. Godwin Obaseki came on social media asking for their share of Edo Commonwealth. This was not only surprising, but very embarrassing toEdo State.
Security in Edo today
As it stands today, in Edo State, the government seems to have lost the control of security as the maintenance of the security of lives and properties in Edo state, isnow a herculean task; so titanic a task it is, that cult killings, daylight armed robberies, kidnappings and the likes happen on a daily basis on the street of the state capital, Benin. How did we get here?
It is clear that the journey to where we are today, started from somewhere; and who knows, Edo might just still be on transit.
Edo State today, can be aptly likened to what Thomas Hobbes described as; “…a state of nature” where life is brutish, poor, nasty and short.
Edo State of today is characterized by complete anarchy, illegalities,undue process and breakdown of law and order, as people now sleep with both eyes open. Yes, some may be quick to conclude that all what is happening in Edo State today, particularly in Benin, is a fall out ofthe ‘End SARS’ protest. But may we be reminded that the protest also took place in some other states in the country; and have those otherstates not since moved on, with peace and normalcy restored?
The long and short of my write-up, is to speak to the consciousness ofevery well-meaning, and patriotic Edolite as well as lovers of Edo State,that we have derailed for too long and it is expedient for us to retrace our steps in reclaiming our peaceful and beautiful Edo whichof course, will be a herculean task, especially as many are bent on supporting and cheering illegalities and undue process, just becauseof what they benefit from the rotten system.
Oriaifoh Godwins, a Journalist writes from Benin.