This piece, as usual of my unbiased position on His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki is not meant to cast aspersions on his administration but to situate mirage and reality in line with our opposition mandate of shadow governance and better alternative for a people who once tasted tangible human capital and infrastructural development through the magic touch of true comradeship where Edo people led the pack and not foreign cronies for whitewash displays targeted at ecstasy.
Understanding the meaning of the Benin flag word ‘Alaghodaro’ coupled with a physical knowledge of the state of Edo before and during the present administration using basic infrastructure index is the beginning and end of this discourse on the paparazzi ALAGHODARO SUMMIT being celebrated at his anniversaries by his business associates with over a billion of taxpayers money annually while Edo sons and daughters are invited to make merry and watch projectors of imaginary development where Edo appears like Dubai on the screen whereas, in reality, even the city center, Ring Road have been reduced to a slum.
For the benefit of all readers, ALAGHODARO in Benin means PROGRESS; a moving or going forward; a proceeding onward; an advance. The advance or growth of modern, industrialized society, its technology, and its trappings; to improve; to become better or more complete. The opposite is retrogressed or Alaghiyeke in the Benin language. Alaghodaro is the most popular Benin prayer point after Oba ghator okpere. It signifies our collective interest in moving our kingdom forward from generation to generation.
Now, let us gauge opinions. Yours, not Obaseki’s appointees, and mine who is an opposition voice. For me, I think the worst relationships I have ever encountered are people who take pride in mediocrity and deliberately invest in self-glorification; such is the character of those who pay saxophonists and drummers to wake them up on their birthday and announce it to the world as a surprise. Such arrogance motivates you to stand on a podium to declare that you have done well when you did not even pick a shovel let alone dig a well.
If Alaghodaro means progress, then it is your position to judge whether Edo State has moved forward beyond where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole left it six years ago or whether it has been a case of retrogression arrogantly celebrated in affirmation. Be the judge with what you see and not what the government says as it is said, “seeing is believing”. Be the judge and live with your judgment if Obaseki is now providing better infrastructure than Oshiomhole provided.
Has Obaseki made progress on Oshiomhole’s style and quality of roads? Has Obaseki made progress on Oshiomhole’s style and quality of schools? Has Obaseki made progress with Oshiomhole’s Benin Water Storm Master Plan? Has Obaseki made progress with Oshiomhole’s health infrastructure? Has Obaseki made progress on what Oshiomhole left as a tertiary education institution in Edo State?
Probably, Obaseki wants you to believe that the sale of government properties is progress, the destruction of people’s houses in the guise of unseen urban renewal is progress, and the forceful seizure of communities’ ancestral land for onward transmission to business partners is progress. Yes, roads constructed by SEEFOR with no stone base and gutters, roads that last only for a season are alaghodaro. What an irony.
Edo State House of Assembly is operated by Obaseki with 10 out of 24 members signing dubious loan proposals quarterly in billions of naira without the knowledge of the average Benin man. Alaghodaro takes unannounced loans for no projects with the latest being 25 billion naira yet professes a public fight with imaginary godfathers everywhere he goes; leaving traces of destruction, insatiable self-enrichment, and tales of public deception.
Torba! Benin stands for a belief and fight to the end, but never have their heads be smashed against a stone they helped to calve as Obaseki has exhibited since winning the 2020 Edo gubernatorial election. True to his style, Atiku is his presidential candidate, a Fulani that must succeed an outgoing Fulani at the detriment of the South. “I am the governor. Edo will follow my instructions as they did in 2020.” Our heads over hearts, the days of alaghiyeke are running out, and two years are gone like yesterday.
Meanwhile, let us beg His Excellency that we will prefer an account of stewardship to the place of Alaghodaro Summit next year. What we are used to before Obaseki came is that a governor organizes the Alaghodaro kind of summit to reel out their achievements annually, not to celebrate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and tell stories of what will or should be done without categorically listing what has been done the previous year beyond cutting tapes to celebrate a few private businesses and call it a win in “ease of doing business” as if without Obaseki new private business will not spring forth in Edo State.