By WILFRED JIBRIL
A Benin-City-based legal practitioner, Barrister Olayiwola Afolabi, addressed a press conference in the Edo State capital, this week, during which he advocated a second term for Governor Godwin Obaseki.
According to Barrister Afolabi, Governor Obaseki deserved a second term to enable him to continue the developmental work he has started.
The legal practitioner was further quoted as saying that the governor was working everywhere in the state and that even during the recently concluded general elections, he kept working.
The questions I have for Mr. Afolabi are: “What yardstick did he use in assessing the performance of the governor? Did he evaluate his performance from the standpoint of a party man or an unbiased stakeholder? Is he in any way working for the governor? Or, is he simply a sycophant, sucking up to the governor?
To say that Governor Obaseki is working everywhere simply means the common man in the street feels the impact of his government, but that is not the case. I agree the impact of his government may be felt in some parts of Edo State, but certainly not in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area where roads have become death traps.
Mr. Afolabi was short of saying that the governor is better than his predecessor in terms of socio-economic development. He may be right, but there is nothing in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area to justify that line of thought.
He even ridiculously asserted that if the governor says he is not seeking re-election, he and his fellow travelers would beg him to do so. This is the apogee of sycophancy, to say the least.
His words: “If he says he does not want, we will compel him. He has been able to prove that development is possible. His style is unique from what we are used to and that is why Edo people and residents believe that he deserves a second term as governor of Edo State”.
Who are these Edo people and residents who believe in the governor’s re-election? They exist only in his imagination.
Mr. Afolabi is not qualified to speak for Edo people as far as the re-election bid of the governor is concerned. He can only speak on behalf of his selfish group.
It is reprehensible that a lawyer could descend so low to present a tissue of lies to the public in his desperate bid to curry favour with the governor.
It is also regrettable and demeaning that somebody as learned as a lawyer could embark on unnecessary, misleading and wicked propaganda just to put food on the table.
If Governor Obaseki was working everywhere as Barrister Afolabi would have us believe, why is nothing happening in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area? Or, is the local government area no longer part of Edo State?
For the information of this sycophant, the last time Ibillo/Imoga road was rehabilitated was during the military era in the 1970s. The pipe-borne water Imoga community enjoyed before the collapse of Ojiram Dam was also provided by a military government.
The only democratically elected government which brought significant development to Imoga was the government of the late Governor Ambrose Folorunso Alli. He gave the community a secondary school and introduced free education in the defunct Bendel State. The community has not witnessed any meaningful development since then.
I was in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area for two weeks to monitor the House of Assembly election. My experience was harrowing and my trips to some parts of the area were nerve-wracking due to the deplorable state of the roads.
The pathetic situation of things in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area is visible. Everyone can see it. So, those in doubt can visit the area.
The lawyer is, no doubt, one of the enemies of Akoko-Edo , who pursues selfish agenda to the detriment of the socio-economic development of the criminally neglected local government area. I will not be surprised if Barrister Afolabi hails from the area.
Barrister Afolabi even insinuated that Governor Obaseki is better than Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State when he said that Obaseki should not be given the Ambode treatment because he is working.
“The Ambode style cannot apply in Edo State because Obaseki is working . The man has worked and he is working. Even during the Presidential election, National Assembly and state Assembly election, he kept working. He is working everywhere. So, Ambode pattern cannot apply in Edo State”, he said.