The above caption:
‘Between Activism and Governance’ was how one Mr. Josef
Omorotionmwan could slant Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole’s
barely three months old administration in ThisDay newspapers
opinion column of February 12, 2009. The piece is a
distraction which ought to have been dismissed for what it
is – figment of a warped imagination – if only it does not
harbour and had no potency of rebounding into an ominous
tendency of thrashing a focused government.
It is for this reason
I set upon a vice deliberately inclined to distract the
peoples’ part from political and economics recovery that
they entrusted on the Comrade Governor, who has shown more
than enough vision, courage and acumen to take them to the
next level. Josef Omorotionmwan ignoble absorbencies and
trite falsehood that activism is not the same as governance
without empirical facts, even as it relates to Edo State
without buttressing his points is the poorest way issue of
that magnitude could been trivialized.
Omorotionmwan’s molted idea that suggests that Oshiomhole
must fail since
labour leaders world over had failed is to put the
cart before the horse. Oshiomhole is not your typical
who ran their countries from Olympian heights without direct
contact with his people. He has demystified governance and
proven that government is a restaurant, and leaders are the
waiters who must serve diligently even at their own expense.
It would had been
dismissive or less offensive if Omorotionmwan’s piece was
anchored primarily on the fact that Oshiomhole would go the
way of every other Nigerian politician who have turned
politics and governance into a criminal enterprise. My
amazement is that Omorotionmwan has been around while the
state patrimony was blotted with reckless abandon and the
needle was not alarmingly high up on his anger gauge.
As much as
Omorotionmwan’s comment stuck me as manifestly unfair, it
excites me in the same token that he paraded his vague
understanding of the workings of government in a democracy.
Hear him: ‘‘yes, we are aware that he came on board late in
the year, on the 122th of November, 2008, to be
precise. Again, it would still have been immaterial if he
had been sworn in even on the 31st of December.
The requirements of the law must be met’’. He went further:
‘‘For one thing, Government is a continuous process; and for
another, a seasoned administrator would have assembled a
to be working by the side while the appeal process was on,
so that nothing would have taken him by surprise’’.
If we must understand
Omorotionmwan’s assertion of ‘‘Government is a continuous
process’’, at least in this context, it means that
Oshiomhole should have, for instance averted his gaze and
carry on as if nothing has happed over the Edo Water Scheme
scandal where over N2.6 billion had been expended on a water
project, yet no single tap, let alone water to drop from it.
Would Omorotionmwan, for instance, as head of a shadow
cabinet endorsed a non-existent project awarded by an
illegitimate government whose contract sum was paid in full
by another government whose truck in governance is to
deliver on its promise that the mass of people must get
value for their collective wealth?
As the first budget
presentation of his administration, it was necessary for
Oshiomhole to take the budgetary process very seriously.
Therefore this administration needed to thoroughly analyse
the desirability and feasibility of all the capital projects
in order to streamline the variables. That, in
Omorotionmwan’s thinking is a waste of time and efforts. The
Governor should have simply jump the gun and fall into the
booby-trap that was the undoing of his predecessors. In that
case, Josef Omorotionmwan would have been elated
single-mindedly; spin the webs of ominous failure across the
state and drubbed the Comrade Governor with girth and sang
praises in the hallowed recesses of his sublime abode and
twinkled his eyes with inward merriment.
The truth remains that
the forces that held Edo State to ransom for decades are
still at play and, it is not unlikely that Mr. Josef
Omorotionmwan is one of such forces. But the proper thing to
do is to deprive him from that privilege of continuing to
encourage the forces of darkness to feel important.
Oshiomhole administration has come to stay and there
is nothing the like of Omorotionmwan can do about it.
Oshiomhole-led government is premised on meeting the needs
and aspiration of the people. For too long, it has been
business as usual; to the frustrating extent that the people
have virtually resigned to fate that government is a
needless enterprise, an institution for self enrichment,
good enough for criminally minded felons. That perception is
exactly what Oshiomhole administration is set out to achieve
in Edo and Nigerian state respectively.
Two more paragraphs of
deliberate distortions of truth or voyage in the ocean of
blindness swallowed Omorotionmwan up in his slouch attempt
to redefine activism and governance. They read: ‘‘At the
level of activism, which extends essentially to the rostrum
on the campaign grounds, you can promise heaven and earth.
But as soon as you get to Government House, it is a
different ball game entirely. That is when the reality on
ground dawns on you. It dawns on you, for instance that the
House of Assembly exists to curb your excesses’’.
He continued in the
last paragraph: ‘‘Every programme of government must be
carefully planned and properly consummated. Most renowned
administrators are men of few words. Otherwise, you might
find yourself falling into deep trouble at every bend. In
his first thirty minutes in office, Comrade cut off the very
arteries on which the
Local Government internally generated revenue thrive.
The damage was done in seven simple words during his
inaugural address, ‘‘All forms of ticketing are hereby
abolished’’. He got a standing ovation. That’s activism. But
at the level of governance, the State
Revenue Department and the Local Government Councils
that depended on revenue from the parks, environmental
sanitation levies, etc, have not, and may never, recover
from that pronouncement. Since then, it has become
increasingly difficult separating illegal collections from
genuine government taxation’’.
I think restoring
Omorotionmwan, an anti-reformist to the part of reason
without plucking the strings that restored King David to
sanity or without making him to benefit from the attention
of a psychiatric will interest the reading public and enrich
democratic governance in
Nigeria . Earlier in that same piece, Omorotionmwan
rounded on Oshiomhole’s administration triumphantly for not
swinging into action immediately by constituting a shadow
cabinet, since according to him, government is a continue
process. One would have taken for granted that Omorotionmwan
is aware that consultation is the metaphor of a people
driven-government within the shared context of democratic
tenet until he shot himself in the foot.
Now, he ate that
desiccated pile of self-contradiction in the last paragraph
of his piece in which he said, ‘‘every programme of
government must be carefully planned and properly
consummated’’. In truth, Omorotionmwan may well be one of
the beneficiaries of the illegal taxation abolished by
Oshiomhole’s administration. The taxes collected by touts
from the motor parks, environmental sanitation levies,
market women, and sachet water sellers are meant for
political patronages for those who aided the electoral
fraudfest of those who held office in the past.
The people of Edo
State have elected to be governed in a fashion that forbid
the old style of governance and, one million reactionaries
in Mr. Josef Omorotionmwan cast cannot deter Oshiomhole from
actualizing that given dream.
Erasmus Ikhide is a Special
Asssistant to Edo State Governor,