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Re: How Osunbor managed Edo funds: Osaze’s Lamentation
By Erasmus Ikhide
 Published March 6th, 2009

The illegal tenancy of Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor and the subsequent quashing of the forlorn mandate are still claiming casualties. Osaze Aigbe is one of the dramatis personae cut to size by the Appeal Court judgment on November 11, 2008 which restored Adams Oshiomhole’s mandate, 18 months after. Osunbor occupied Osadebe Avenue in lieu of the rightful owner and pretended to be doing some good. To start with, if Osunbor ever delivered the goods as Osaze claimed, he had no mandate whatsoever so to do from the people of Edo State .  

You can’t fault Prof. Osunbor and his sidekicks in all earnestness since they are ignorant of the fact that ambition is made of a sterner stuff beyond the plutocratic and godfather induced political permutation. A man who blundered into governance, promised to deliver Edo State from the political dungeon and gross ineptitude for which he is a part; then sally forth to open the state vault for those who rigged him into office to feast on could not be the change agent we need. Is it not disheartening that the wangled election and Osunbor’s period that has since been invalidated as non-existent in law by both the Election Tribunal and the Appeal Court is what Osaze referred to as moment of transformation?

Osaze’s piece in the Sunday Vanguard of March 1, 2009 in paragraph fifteen of page 46 reads: ‘‘The Osunbor administration restored sanity to the streets. The police authorities attested to the fact that December, 2007 Christmas was the most peaceful and crime free in the history of the state. He went further, ‘‘This was due to the empowerment of the police with necessary working tools and logistics by the Osunbor administration. Today the state has become the haven for kidnappings, rampant killings of people and even the police by robbers and cultists war has resurfaced. Just recently no fewer than eight people lost their lives in this senseless cult war in the state capital, Benin City ’’.

It wouldn’t be enough to hack Osaze for his bad vices without exposing the crass opportunism inherent in his misleading traction and objectionable piece that could set the well meaning Edolite on edge that should ordinarily have travelled less on this divisive political terrain. Osaze’s piece most be seen for what it is – wailing of a habitual criminal who weeps over the recovery of what he disposed others of – in an assumed survival struggle. One of the foremost achievements of Adams Oshiomhole-led administration is the purchase of 25 brand new Hilux jeeps and other logistics for the state police command to carry out their crime fighting activities with ease, in spite of his studied understanding that the best way to fight crime is through provision of jobs for the idle youths.

We know that Osunbor wouldn’t go down without a fight; at least to give some semblance of propriety to his administration, famous for its corrupt propensity. But how true is Osaze’s assertion that Osunbor administration did equip the Nigerian police authorities in Edo Sate with necessary working tools and logistics, and in less than a year and half the equipments are no longer available to fight crime, cultism and kidnapping in the state? However, that is the business of police authority if that is a slant attempt to drag their impious image unto the mud as it were. Now this. ‘‘The Osunbor administration restored sanity to the streets. The police authorities attested to the fact that December, 2007 Christmas was the most peaceful and crime free in the history of the state’’.

It is pertinent to note that what the good people of Edo State experienced in the last 18 months of Prof. Osunbor’s administration is twice as worse than what they went through in the last 20-year. No doubt, there was the peace of the grave yard in Edo State before the coming of Adams Oshiomhole, where people are taunted to voice out their opposition to government looting and pay the supreme price.

Several dummies were sold to the electorate to abandon their mandate. The people were told that it makes sense to look away when a criminal kills your father, steals the family patrimony and turn around to use same to minister to the need of the orphanage because the robber is a jolly good fellow. For too long in Edo State democracy had been put to a dangerous test, using the mass of people to achieve untenable ends. This time they were yet cut in the muted mess of an unfolding political scenario, patiently waiting for the outcome of Election and Appeal tribunals whose mandate it is to adjudicate on behalf of the people to determine who the people actually voted to govern them.

From the foregoing, it is clear that Osaze is out to ride his pet hobbyhorse which he did relentlessly while the state remains in ruin under the successive PDP administrations. That Osaze is earning his keep through the subversions of the peoples’ rights to standard living, social amenities, and participatory democracy is one of the many tragedies that are militating against the political and economy growth of Edo State , and by unmistakable extension the Nigerian nation. Nothing in Edo State suggests that government has existed in it in the last 20-year!

Everywhere you turned in the state capital, you are confronted with unimaginable level of infrastructural decay in public schools, hospitals, distended roads and houses submerging in flooded streets any time it rains, as a result of indiscriminate construction of houses and debris filled drainages. A visit by the governor to those places clearly revealled how deep down in the abyss governance has sunk in Edo State . The footages are there for all to see. The most nauseating and depressing of them all is Central Hospital , Benin City, where an otherwise healthy person on a visit to it could contact an infection.

The hospital management told of how the former Commission for Health, Dr. Wilson Imogan got himself enriched with the N600million naira approved for Central Hospital renovation and purchase of equipment in the twilight of Prof. Osunbor’s administration. For a rogue government such as Prof. Osunbor’s to continue to flaunt that repulsive era, criticizing Adams Oshiomhole’s barely three months old, to say the least is diversionary. This is partly why Adams Oshiomhole remains consistent in his call for a holistic review of our electoral books such that those who access political office illegally are made to back all their salaries and allowances as deterrent against electoral fraud.

As much as Osaze’s flak is misguided; I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good in our quest to reposition the state for good governance that has long eluded the state for too long a time. As Osaze’s outing of shame and insensitive gloating over the resolve of the electorate to break free from the sleeper-agents persist, Edo State government in the same token is also resisting the onslaught with equal fervency to undermine its people oriented policy to revamp the ailing state.

The may idea of democracy is that participation in the life of a state gives moral and social development to the citizen, protect their interests, cultural heritage as a people, and their social essence such that the overriding duty of government is fixated – the people. Parochial and local loyalty to corrupt political office holders or obscured godfathers has proved a major barrier to building a coherent Nigeria .

Erasmus Ikhide is a Special Assistant to Edo

 State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole

on Documentation and Publications.

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