OBASEKI: THE NEXUS BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
When Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki was sworn in as the Governor of Edo State on November 12, 2016, he assumed office with an uncommon vision and iron-willed mission of being the prime platform to transform the dismal and almost comatose condition of both the window dressed urban and rural infrastructure, human capital development etc, in the state, for the overall benefit of its citizens in the 18 local government areas.
It is no gainsaying the fact that, as it were, the systemic ruination and widespread malaise foisted on Edo State by some outgone governments, it required a visionary and revolutionary attention, which only a courageous leader, imbued with rare intelligence and bravado and technical finesse, could contemplate and even dare, to assail and surmount.
The choice of Obaseki as the one to bear the ensign of the All Progressive Congress in 2016, after the rogue regime of Adams Oshiomhole elicited initial skepticism and palpable doubt about his performance potentialities due to his known pragmatic and intensely radical approach to finding solutions to issues technocratic pedigree. Contrary to this expectation and mindset, Governor Obaseki broke the heart of many of his traducers by putting in place a regime and culture of construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of dilapidated rural and urban infrastructure and proudly restoring the forlorn hopes of all Edo people that government can work for the benefit of the larger mass of the people, rather than a pilfering clique of politicians within the Establishment.
Cast in hard granite, in the mould of resilient and resolute achievers like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revolutionary leader of Turkey, who positively transformed all vistas of his country from a dire panoply of arrested development and retrogression by previous leaders, Obaseki instituted political, social and economic reform programmes that transformed Edo State into a vast neo-urban configuration with basic human and infrastructure development complements
When Comrade Oshiomhole won a second term, many watchers of Edo state politics were of the conviction that his avowed policy of turning Edo State into a “vast construction site”, will suffer a relapse as his initial enthusiasm would have also suffered “engine wear and tear” due to internal sabotage.
The reverse was the case as both the initial momentum and intensity of construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of rural and urban roads, bridges, drains and culverts; the construction, renovation and equipping of healthcare delivery facilities and educational institutions, the provision of potable water, through the rural and urban supply network etc, received further scope and impetus with accelerated works and a new class of Edo people who are ready to work in the interest of the largest mass of all Edo lites.
As the elected Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin N. Obasekis Performance Index in his first tenure, surpassed all the expectations of both his most ardent admirers and his most trenchant traducers who, because of partisan politics the lure of lucre and the mans sheer bravado, unfazing daring, persistence and zeal to excel, closed their eyes to the state-wide construction sites and completed projects and programmes and only dreamt above the Oshiomhole regime that turned governance into a rolling bazaar.
The overall and overwhelming score card of the Obaseki Administration in the various spheres of the peoples life generated fears and apprehension in many quarters on the twin-issue of continuity and sustenance as the governor was doing very well and poised for a greater encore. Concerned Edolites and sympathisers were worried that these landmark strides may be stunted, deliberately neglected or skewed out of relevance by a clueless lackadaisical, ill-prepared and visionless leadership of a successor government post-November 12, 2020.
At this time, the vultures were gathering.
The weary people of Edo State who endured eight years of a civilian dictatorship between November 12, 2008 and November 12, 2016, did not want an encore that was somewhat like an unending incubus. Rather, they prayed for the emergence of a new benevolent leadership platform that will offer a fresh portal, built on the firm and stratified foundation laid by the founding father of Edo State, for the pursuance, realisation and concretisation of the positive ideals of good governance and the equitable and fair dispensation of the dividends of democracy
To achieve expected successes in governing Edo State, post-Oshiomhole, the preferred successor then was expected to possess a strong volume of private sector background with verifiable indices of administrative acumen and a core player within the All Peoples Congress power matrix in Edo State, who has imbibed its core values of sustainable development and ready to consolidate on it.
Above all, the true successor to Oshiomhole, was also envisioned as that person who will create the enabling and conducive environment for industry and commerce to thrive, show enough commitment and passion for the equitable development of the state; possesses a fat dossier of verifiable services in the public and private sectors of the state and national economies; have the ability and foresight to initiate, drive and sustain the momentum of change mantra by the APC administration and take Edo State to the next level.
Adams Oshiomhole found that leadership modem and drive in Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, who was the Chairman of the states Economic and Strategy Committee throughout Oshiomholes two tenures. One vital factor that has continued to power the peoples expectation of Governor Obaseki as the preferred successor, is that of one who will keep the tempo and up the ante of development, more notches higher than that Oshiomhole was credited with.
Many were skeptical that Oshiomhole may not allow Obaseki to achieve anything in view of his acclaimed meaningful money games he Oshiomhole is notoriously noted for. One who will use the minimal strides attained by Oshiomhole as veritable stepping stones and elevator to greater achievements.
In office, in this first tenure, Governor Obaseki did not disappoint, as he has proved that in addition to being a celebrated and proven professional in his calling, he also possesses a strong tenacity of purpose, suaveness, decisiveness, fearlessness, selflessness, focused vision and mission and above all, the fear of God.
Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki has been able to create more than 4,000 jobs, renovated classrooms, reconstructed roads, drains and installed street lights and transformers, through a working collaboration with the United Nations and the European Union.
Among the roads that has been constructed and commissioned for use are Evbiemwen Street, Ogbelaka Street, Cooke Road, Okhoro/Aghahowa Road, Reuben Agho Street, Aitalegbe Street, Isibor (Linking Oko Central) and Upper Adesuwa etc., all within the Benin metropolis. More dot the 18 local government areas of the state and are emblematic of the redemptive roadmap of Governor Obaseki.
Within this nascent tenure, Governor Obaseki has gone on overseas tours to attract investors and core manufacturers and investors to Edo State, who will jump-start the states economy and create jobs for the teeming population of skilled and unskilled youths.
A comprehensive Economic Summit, the first of its kind, organised by the government and tagged “Alaghodaro, held in Benin City, on November 11 2017.
To achieve these and other goals, Governor Obasekis; seamless transition into the role of a result-oriented leader and administrator is largely, premised on his unwavering commitment to the best ethical practices of accountability, efficiency, due process, good quality and value-added standards, prudent use of available human, financial and material resources etc.
Furthermore, Governor Obaseki has assembled an A-Team of commissioners, special advisers and other relevant appointees to assist him in actualising his set vision and mission of sustainable development programme for Edo State.
He padded this visionary roadmap with doggedness, grit and resilience of an unfazed leadership make-up honed to transform Edo State, positively.
Taking a cue from his experience of having played a pivotal and positive role in the outgone administration, he has tapped from the experience, verve, networks and administration savvy of his Deputy, the Right Honourable Philip Shaibu, Barrister Osarodion Ogie, the Secretary to the State Government and others too numerous to list here, who have been carefully chosen to power, energise, drive and concretise the Governors vision and mission, into workable reality.
As the years roll on, it is imperative that Governor Obaseki will take proactive measures to build a further matrix of other factors that will attract and sustain the influx of more investors and entrepreneurs to Edo state, who will utilise the numerous infrastructure development indices, on ground as a starting block for the industrialisation and commercialisation of the state.
Governor Godwin Nnogheghase Obasekis pan-Edo outlook is greatly enhanced by his shared vision and mission that positive and prioritised development is the pivot of the good governance of a people.
When he was marginalised and unfairly treated in the partys (APC) primary, he changed camp to PDP. With the synergy between the Obaseki team and the PDP, it is expected that the state will enjoy a new lease of life and development during and after an Obaseki government.
By BRIAN AJAYI JATTO
Ex-SSA (Media) to Former Governor Osunbor, He writes from Lagos.