A NOSE FOR A LIE

Chris Aze­bamwan writes that the op­po­si­tion is play­ing a sloppy game in Edo State

THISDAY - - COMMENT - Aze­bamwan is the Edo State Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the APC

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 pro­grammes. The All Pro­gres­sives Congress 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 Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party as an op­po­si­tion party to play this role. Sadly and un­for­tu­nately, what we have is a PDP that is bereft of con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. Hav­ing ruled Edo State for al­most 10 years and wast­ing the enor­mous good­will of our peo­ple by their reck­less and ir­re­spon­si­ble style of ad­min­is­tra­tion, they are now on the path of dis­in­for­ma­tion, calumny and out­right me­dia black­mail.

The 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 the co­matose state. All sec­tors of the so­ci­ety bar none, was in to­tal dis­ar­ray. 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 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, hav­ing no defence for its decade of abysmal fail­ure and mis­rule, has now re­sorted to fab­ri­cat­ing all sorts of in­for­ma­tion in their des­per­ate at­tempt to re­verse their dwin­dling, and in many in­stances, non-ex­is­tent elec­toral for­tunes. They tried al­beit un­suc­cess­fully, to de­monise Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole and hav­ing failed, are now ap­ply­ing the same crude tac­tics in at­tack­ing Gov­er­nor 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”.

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