By Chris Azebamwan
Every responsive government encourages a vibrant and robust opposition to ensure it has a feedback channel outside of its own circle. This provides the government with a platform for peer review and assessment of the effectiveness of its policies and programs.
The APC government of Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State prides itself on running an open administration where there is no dearth of information. Our communication channels are open to any and all, who desire to know what this government is doing per time. That way, needless and avoidable distortion of information can be brought to the barest minimum. It is a fundamental principle of communication that feedback can be positive or negative, and this can either reinforce the particular input that was the initial stimulus, or can lead to its review and subsequent modification to enable it achieve the desired goal or target.
One would reasonably expect the PDP as an opposition party to play this role. Sadly and unfortunately, what we have is a PDP that is devoid and bereft of constructive criticism. Having ruled Edo State for almost ten years and wasting the enormous goodwill of our people by their reckless and irresponsible style of administration, they have now embarked hell-bent, on the path of disinformation, calumny and outright media blackmail.
PDP at the inception of the current republic inherited an Edo State with a vibrant economy, a solid infrastructural base, and a thriving industrial/commercial environment. In the nine years plus of its misrule, it squandered all available resources and brought Edo State that was once the social and economic hub of Nigeria east of Lagos to its knees. The State had reached the nadir in its descent into the abyss of neglect and decay by the time the APC came into government.
At the inception of the APC administration in Edo State eight years ago, it was a torturous and uphill task to try to inject a new lease of life into a comatose Edo State. All sectors of the society bar none, was in total disarray and collapse. The schools had no teachers; no furniture, lessons were held in some schools under the trees or classrooms without roofs. The hospitals had no drugs, no reagents in the laboratories and no equipment. Staff morale had ebbed to an all-time low, with salaries owed to workers in arrears running into years. There were no motorable roads; our cities were virtually buried under mountains of refuse. Public sector buildings were dilapidated and decrepit. No segment of the Edo society was exempt from the rot and decay. The people were in the words of the immortal Fela, “suffering and smiling”.
Against this background, the APC government swung into action with the theme ‘making Edo work again’. Our schools began to spot the now famous red roofs, hospitals were revamped, roads were not only built, but with multiple lanes that were brightly lit at night. Staff salaries were paid as and when due and arrears were cleared.
Edo people began to see a government that worked to deliver the dividends of democracy. This was the foundation and the legacy that was inherited by Governor Godwin Obaseki who himself, as head of the Edo State Economic Team for the eight years preceding his administration, was not only a part and parcel of the moving train of development and advancement but was at the nerve-centre of policy formulation. So when Godwin Obaseki came into office and took over the reins of government, he brought in a very rich repertoire of knowledge and experience of what makes Edo State work. Governor Obaseki belongs to that rare breed of Nigerian political office holders who come into office with a clear-cut vision of what they wished to achieve.
Of course, elections are the bedrock of the democratic process. The electorate made a comparison between the PDP and the APC and public opinion swung against the PDP. Their electoral fortunes dipped, where it was not completely eroded. Political godfathers were demystified and erstwhile political structures crumbled. It was no longer business as usual.
In an attempt to match this tough act of the APC, the opposition PDP, having no defence for its decade of abysmal failure and misrule, has now resorted to fabricating all sorts of misinformation in their desperate attempt to reverse their dwindling, and in many instances, non-existent electoral fortunes. They tried albeit unsuccessfully, to demonize Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and having failed, are now applying the same crude tactics in attacking Governor Godwin Obaseki. One actually cannot help but wonder how they expect to get a different result from using the same old methods that had failed them in the past. They erroneously believe that a media slur or campaign of calumny is an alternative for demonstrable performance that is the hallmark of the APC-led government. Unfortunately for the PDP, Edo people are wiser and more discerning and are not about to be fooled into voting the PDP back into power. As far as everyone is concerned, “Our mumu don do”.
The PDP is not capable of constructive criticism because they lack the ability to undertake an analytical, dispassionate and empirical assessment of the political terrain. If they were, they would have since adopted the tried and trusted maxim that says, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. The APC is waiting with open arms to welcome those who are coming in droves to embrace the winning team – the APC, ably led by Godwin Obaseki, the “wake and see Governor”.
Azebamwan is the Edo State Publicity Secretary of the APC