It is a widely known fact among Nigerians that the politicians thrown up by the torrid furnace of the country’s decadent polity are not best of friends with the people. More often than not, they lie to their people and carry on as if they own the world irrespective of their status in the total political equation. In their habitually grandiose fashion, they make pronouncements full of tantalising promises and, while doing this, unwittingly exhibit a miserable lack of conviction in their separate pledges to honour the contract they have sealed with the people. And usually by the time they finish vomiting these mythical assurances, they end up confirming their seemingly permanent and degrading public perception as unrepentant merchants of deception.
But in appraising the authentic affiliates of this ignominious profile of the typical Nigerian politician, omit the comrade governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole, a man who has proven beyond contention that politicians elected into public office have no other business than to totally commit themselves to the service of their people. A feisty administrator and a redoubtable advocate of free, fair and credible elections, the comrade governor is living up to his promise of positive change. And the testimonies are unassailable. His report card over the past four years underlines the true meaning of public service. Instead of using his position to make the indigenes of Edo work for him while he appropriates their collective entitlements just as Nigerian governors are known to do, the people’s governor worked for his people and drew unprecedented appreciation from all and sundry.
Echoes of his remarkable makeover of a thoroughly crumbled land, a once flourishing territory ravaged by the marauding assault of a political party that would rather “capture” than win fairly, continue to captivate all who cherish progress. This wondrous lilliput from Iyamho, a remote village in the northern flank of the state, is inversely mighty in action. Without doubt, the comrade governor has performed in a manner that belies his small size. And to the utter grief of his so-called powerful detractors and their allies who validate the contemptible politics of lying, thuggery and bare-faced treasury looting that brought Edo state down to its knees, the new generalissimo of Edo state politics has announced to his troops and to the world that the revolution has indeed just begun.
Quite rightly, Oshiomhole is seeking a second term of another four years to enable him complete the historic mission of dragging “the heartbeat of the nation” out of unmerited desolation. And interestingly, he has been going about this in a fascinating way. Being an extremely inventive guy, the comrade governor is teaching his fellow politicians seeking to renew their mandates a new method in the art of political campaigns. Precisely as he sees governance as a serious business of putting smiles on the faces of the people, so does he now view post-election political campaigns as a fitting vessel for presenting scorecards as basis for demanding votes for future elections.
Not for him the routine carnival celebrating enlarged empty promises made by politicians at campaign grounds amid noisy revelries. The comrade governor’s style is simple; the signal he has sent is uplifting. To have the moral right to ask for a fresh mandate, an incumbent must first show the people the result of the first tenure. It needs not be repeated that virtually all the politicians in this country frequently have next to nothing to present to their people as evidence of why they should be encouraged to continue in office. This is the cheerless practice that Oshiomhole has put an end to in his unique fashion of asking his people to vote him in for a second term in the state governorship election fixed for July 14.
It goes to the root of accountability. Whether they like it or not, all public officials must be accountable to the public, and this is even more compelling for elected officials who openly make promises to improve the lives of the people in return for their votes. This is what Oshiomhole is demonstrating in every town and village where he campaigns. He is busy not making new promises but tabling the achievements of his administration in the first tenure by reeling out completed and nearly-completed projects in every community on which he steps his foot. He has listed as part of his deliverables refurbished schools, roads, provision of transformers and streetlights, new clinics and health centres and boreholes to mention just a few. He has made no promise other than he will do more if re-elected.
Only an enemy of progress would be scheming to thwart the ambition of a man who is evidently an accomplished performer. A master strategist of immense proportions, Oshiomhole’s common touch is also phenomenal. He is on ground with the people, effectively leading from the front and displaying easy good-humoured friendliness to every Tom, Dick and Harry, something that cannot be said of many of the other governors.
In the same manner Lagosians ensured the re-election of Governor Raji Fashola, Edolites would likewise be well served to vigorously ward off the planned re-incursion of bygone locusts by casting an irrefutable ballot to return the ebullient comrade governor to office. That is the only way they can finally use their brooms to sweep off the relics of the past nemesis and usher in the concluding phase of a glorious era.
- Godwin Onyeacholem is the editor www.giraffemagazine.com.ng