Home | Articles | Never Again

Never Again

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Posted to the web: 7/8/2007 4:59:23 PM

May 29 has come and gone. New helmsmen took over the mantle of leadership at different strata of governance, albeit, not without some disquiet, especially at the national level where Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is fighting the battle of his life to achieve legitimacy. My intention this week was to do a piece on the challenges before the new man; why he can’t afford to go to bed yet with his two eyes shut. Because he may have seemingly won the electoral battle, but not the war of staving off the opposition who are still seething with bile at being outplayed by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. You can feel the anger and sadness in the land at the outcome of the magomago and wuruwuru polls. All over, there is victory without celebration; party without merriment. A hollow ritual.However, I find myself revisiting the sad situation in Edo state, where Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion completely ran the state aground during his eight years of waste. To compound matters, there is the tragic story of how the state’s accountant-general bolted with billions of naira and documents to cover up his roguery and, perhaps, several others’.This, indeed, is shameful and disgraceful. It also tells the kind of leadership the state had been saddled during the last dispensation. As the saying goes, if the head is rotten, then the whole body is finished. Now, even as the people and the godfathers battle for the soul of Edo State at the Elections Petitions Tribunal, the prayer on many lips is that may we never have a governor like the last one. Never again should the people be cursed with a lazy guy who did everything but lead. A man who made a once proud people, laughing stock all over the country and the world. Little wonder, he was booed out of the stadium at the inauguration of the new helmsman, who himself has to prove in the court that his victory wasn’t a product of a conspiracy to further undermine the long-suffering people of the state.On July 30, 2005, I did a piece on the rape of Edo State by ex-Gov. Igbinedion, which I entitled, Edo: Too bad, too sad, which I reproduce below as my epitaph to that tragic administration, even as the people yearn for a better lease of life…Edo: Too bad, too sadI confess before anything else: I like Gov. Lucky Igbinedion’s moustache. I like his huge frame and his well-fed face. I like the way he looks cool and collected any time you see him on television or at a public event. His thick, black, luxuriant moustache gives you the impression of a man who likes to do things robustly.Add that to his balloon size, you are left with the spectacle of a man in a state of plenty and boisterousness. A happy-go-lucky guy, just like his name. An aristo, if you like. One of those lords you find in England, with royal, graceful carriage.However, be that as it may, I am this morning, dear readers, making a submission: No one with a moustache as thick as Igbinedion’s should ever be allowed to rule our beloved state again. No one with such prosperous size should ever get near Dennis Osadebey House again. Don’t ask me what has size got to do with governance. I don’t know. It is not empirical.All I know - and everyone can attest to it - is that the state Igbinedion runs has not been as lucky or as robust as himself. It is a state stuck in motionlessness, where nothing dey happen, to paraphrase the pop singer, Tu face.I don’t expect Igbinedion’s guys to agree with me. If anything, I am expecting them to roll out their usual rejoinders, calling me all kinds of names, like they did to Nosa Igiebor, editor-in-chief of Tell and Onaiwu Osahon, a columnist with Daily Sun.I am expecting them to beat the governor’s broad chest: That Igbinedion has been performing a great job since he assumed office. That he has industrialized the state and created employment, that he has done this and has done that. They will, as usual, regale the public with so many wondrous things the guy has achieved, how posterity will record him for his giant strides, how Igbinedion’s critics are misinformed and misguided, how those of us outside Benin should come home and see the great work the miracle-working governor is doing etc, etc…But you can’t blame them if they rise in defence of their boss: They are simply doing the job for which they are paid. They are simply paid to blow the master’s trumpet. But e no matter. The truth stares all in the face: Both residents and non-residents, travellers and visitors: it’s been six years of famine, six years of perambulation, to quote the Afro-beat king, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Six years of running around in circles. Six years of excuses. Six years of ‘federal allocation is not enough’ or the revenue generated can’t match the expenditure profile of the state. Banalities. Inanities. Excuses that haven’t changed the lot of the people.Where are the roads Igbinedion’s guys claim he has fixed? Where are the industries and jobs they claim he has built and generated? Why is there hopelessness and frustration in Edo state? Why is it that everyone you meet on the streets complain that they have never had it so bad in governance as they are now witnessing under Igbinedion? Why is it that it is only Igbinedion’s cabinet members and information machinery that are seeing the wonderful job the guy is doing or has been doing? How come anytime anyone from other parts of the country visits Benin, the state capital, he is filled with regrets and lamentation for the people and the state?My colleague at The Sun, Femi Adesina, recently visited Benin and he was simply aghast at the rot and decay that confronted him. He noted in his column last week: 'Governance in Edo has gone to the dogs.'What he saw in the ancient city were no roads but ditches and gullies, water-logged and simply unmotorable. What he saw simply made him conclude that there was collapse of governance in our beloved state. That we have not had any semblance of governance in that state. Yet, you go to states like Cross-River, Bauchi, Sokoto, Rivers, Delta, you simply cry for the ancient city. Edo government will tell you that other states collect more money from the federation account. At least, Bauchi, Sokoto are not oil-producing states. And I am not aware they collect more money than Edo State.However, everyone, not only Gov. Igbinedion is to blame for the decay in our state. We all must share the collective blame for the degeneration of Edo State. The leaders of the state who saw Igbinedion’s performance during his first outing and insisted on his return for a second term (having failed his first term, according to his dad, the elder Igbinedion).Those of us in the media who maintained deafening silence when news from home indicated that we had a governor who was either completely bereft of ideas on how to turn things around or simply overwhelmed with the complexities of governing a state like Edo. The silence was not because of any pecuniary benefit but more largely due to the need to see a young man of our generation try his hands at fixing things in the state. We slept, while Edo decayed. Those who spoke out were either branded enemies or verbally assaulted. Most people, either out of cowardice or fright, retreated and watched things regress.Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Our cold complicity [by not speaking out against the misrule of our state] is returning to haunt us all: bad roads, decaying infrastructure, unemployment, frustration etc, etc. Now, we complain that Igbinedion has under-achieved as governor of the state. But where were we when he kept gallivanting around the world in the elusive search for foreign investors? Where were we when he kept speaking grammar of having achieved this and that when what we saw on the ground suggested otherwise?But even as I write this piece, I have a frustrating feeling that I have just dissipated energy trying to lament the decay of the Igbinedion years. This piece is coming a bit too late in the day with only one effective year of governance for him to go. What I believe we need to do is to look beyond the Igbinedion years. Let’s encourage the guy to complete his tenure and give way to a more dynamic leadership. Focused leadership. Leadership that will once more restore our pride as a people. Leadership that will genuinely create jobs for the teeming youths of our state presently roaming the streets of Europe and America in search of the elusive gold. Leadership that will take governance as serious business. Leadership of ideas and ideals. Not leadership of imposition, as I hear the guy called Mr. Fix-it and his group are presently planning to foist on our people. Not leadership of zoning or it is our turn to produce the next governor. Zoning can only encourage mediocrity and indolence. Let the best guy get the top job. Let the guy with balls take on the tough job. We want a leader of the people, by the people and for the people. A leader that will take us to the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, not yeye roads and hunger. Oh yes, Edo shall be great again.Luckily, I see a couple of guys from Edo State who have the ability to deliver the dividends of democracy for our people. Will the same forces that produced the mustachioed guy allow us have a leader of our choice? Big question!

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

Eric Osagie, nigerian articles, african articles, articles, Never again

Rate this article


Breaking News

Indicted Companies, Their Owners

Many highly placed Nigerians who own some of the companies indicted for fuel subsidy offences are likely to be arraigned in court this week The stage ...

Still a Killing Field

Fear and grief take the centre stage again in Jos after another round of crisis leading to the death of more than140 persons including two ...

Battle to Save LGs

A presidential committee headed by retired Justice Alfa Belgore suggests ways to salvage the nation’s local governments from the over bearing influence of state governors The ...

Twist in the Akpabio’s Murder Case

The family of the murdered Akpabio brothers rejects the setting up of a security committee to investigate the multiple murder incident and demands explanation for ...

Akwa Ibom Triumphs

Cross River State loses its bid to reclaim 76 oil wells which it lost through its declassification as a littoral state For Godswill Akpabio, governor of ...

Danger at the Door

Fear of religious war looms as Boko Haram sect targets churches and Christians for attacks T he   ordination   ceremony of Matthew Hassan Kukah as the Catholic ...

Danger at the Door

Fear of religious war looms as Boko Haram sect targets churches and Christians for attacks T he   ordination   ceremony of Matthew Hassan Kukah as the Catholic ...

Christians Have a Right to Defend Themselves

Gabriel Osu, monsignor and director of communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, speaks to Anthony Akaeze, assistant editor, on a number of issues relating to the ...

It’s Not a War Against Christians

Lateef Adegbite, secretary general, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, speaks to Dike Onwuamaeze, principal staff writer, and Ishaya Ibrahim, staff writer, on Boko Haram. Excerpts: Newswatch: ...

On the Rise Again

Cases of kidnapping are again on the increase in Imo State There is an upsurge in kidnapping in Imo State. The cases are much more than ...