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The Travails of Obaseki, the Lone, Partyless Ranger

By Prof. Idemudia Oviosun (PhD)

He roams the land, seeking a party, seeking a mandate, seeking support and aware that his support base tricked him into thinking he was invisible. He is going the way of many legacy-lacking ex-governors before him. He is outgoing Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, and here is an account of the most likely things running through his mind.

He is desperate for a second term, has never been loyal, but needs to find a party fast. Having won the 2016 elections as the dark horse of the APC, he quickly shed off his pretence to amiability and revealed himself a fanged, falsely technocratic creature, who had taken advantage of the party’s desire for continuity in its developmental strides, to win the elections. No sooner was in Osadebe Avenue than he had banished the party members from his presence, attacked their sources of livelihood, and traipsed about the state carelessly uttering all sorts of unwise and unprovoked untruths.

He joined every conspiracy in the book to bring down the party that brought him to power. His desperation became manifest from the middle of last year when he would one minute prostrate before anyone he thought could save his fading popularity and the next minute he would bare his fangs and snarl threats at them while he sent thugs to attack people or demolish properties.

Now, he has been disgraced and has exited the party with his tail between his legs. He truly hates the party, but he has hidden it all behind his confrontation with the national chairman.

He announced himself as lacking character and judgement when he recklessly began to hide behind altruistic purposes to carry out all sorts of monstrous, tyrannical and undemocratic profanities. The most recent badge of his deceit probably sits as the ill-conceived gazette seeking to protect the state from the rampaging coronavirus pandemic.

To the governor, who clearly has not been paying attention to the news, the scourge can only be transmitted at political rallies in the different wards; not at market places, not at the offices where people work, and certainly not at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.

Worse still for what character can be deduced from his behaviour, he thinks himself very much above the people. The Governor has displayed an irreconcilable aversion to wisdom and the candour of a toddler in his method of governance. He adopts an aloof mien and cannot speak the language of the people. Everyone is human capital to him and he will expend anyone to achieve his wishes. For now, all the people around him are useless to his desires.

What happens to his deputy governor, Phillip Shaibu when he eventually and traitorously heads to another party? The equally miscalculating deputy governor had, earlier in February, reeled out a list of conditions to Adams Oshiomhole for reconciliation with the now-embattled governor. He had, several times, served as the lanista of Obaseki’s ludus of thugs – even once, he may have commanded a legion of 200 okada riders and thugs to attack a gathering that included the Oba of Lagos.

He may be a valiant henchman but what Obaseki needs now is not a henchman. It is a party, so Phillip Shaibu, who had loyally severed all ties with the APC, following the steps of Obaseki, would have to find himself a new home. It has been a good run of thuggery, as well as economic and political banditry, but all bad things must come to an end.

For his hired supporters, he has paid them and they have not delivered. He contracted them to infiltrate the good people of Edo State and deceive them with all manners of trickery and ploys. He put them under the command of his lieutenant of untruths, the flailing Osarodion Ogie and Crusoe Osagie.

So far, it has been a monumentally failed investment. The hired supporters have got their pay, but they may not have earned it. They still defile the social media, yelping with fading strengths, “4+4”. However, they have no conviction. How can they? Their principal himself has no conviction.

This principal knows that parties win elections. He has no party that can win an election, and a governor cannot remain in office without a party. It is a basic prerequisite to being a governor according to Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. Obaseki needs to act fast and join a party before he loses legal validity as a governor, but who will take in a man who cannot win?

Prof. Idemudia Oviosun is a consultant and expert in Leadership, Management and Strategy

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