In his article titled “ A peep at post- Oshiomhole’s tenure” published on page 47 of Tuesday June 28, 2016 edition of Daily Sun, Orobosa Omo-Ojo succeeded in raising more questions about his character, sincerity and knowledge of happenings in his home Edo State, than his intention to pooh-pooh Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure as Governor.
Is it a lack of ideas, a diminished creative instinct, or a tedious struggle to remain relevant that would inspire such a pathetic, revisionist plunge into Governor Oshiomhole’s highly celebrated two term tenure as governor of Edo State?. Every true politician worth his salt, any journalist relevant to his calling and all public commentators with cerebral stuff to offer are at this time preoccupied with the candidates of both APC and PDP since in a few months from now, one of them will constitutionally, step into the big shoes left by Oshiomhole as Governor of Edo State. But the lazy, never do well, vindictive prophets of doom are fixated on the person of Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and how fulfilled and relieved they wish to be on November 12 2016, as he vacates Osadebey Avenue, Benin City. However, we and indeed all progressive minded Edo people know in essence that their frustration will be rekindled when to their bewilderment and certain bafflement on that day, Adams Oshiomhole would be celebrated and his name permanently engraved in gold, as he moves on to higher calling for this nation and humanity.
In his vile attempt to rewrite history and malign his erstwhile boss, Omo-Ojo, who prides himself as a journalist relied neither on statistics nor on common facts to conjure his jaundiced and bogus conclusions.
How else can one interpret his assertion that “…all sporting infrastructure that the present administration inherited from past administrations have been destroyed due to poor maintenance culture”. Is he unaware that it was Governor Oshiomhole that renovated the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and refurbished the football pitch to a level where an international match was played in Benin City? Or is he so oblivious of current affairs to miss the recent news that late Super Eagles coach Amodu Shaibu was a consultant on Sports development in Edo State? If there is no sports development in Edo State, how come Eyeanugie Primary School Benin City won the 2015 Edition of the Channels Kids Cup championship where under 13 pupils from all states of the federation competed? For winning that tournament, Governor Oshiomhole built a new football pitch for the school, approved the building of new classroom blocks and gave Scholarships to all the pupils that participated in the tournament.
Could it be that the pressure of meeting the editorial deadline for his column forced Omo-Ojo to churn out fantastically incorrect claims that “three years after Edo State students still trail behind their counterparts in the West Africa School Certificate Exam every year” even when a teacher who was employed to impart knowledge on our school children, embarrassed not only herself, but the entire Nigerian educational system, through her inability to read a simple affidavit to which she appended her signature. What point was he struggling to make? Would Omo-Ojo, in all honesty entrust the education of his own child in the hands of Mrs. Augusta Odemwingie, on the grounds that her poor performance was “obviously out of fear…lost her nerves and composure which made her stutter.” If not, why should any Edo child’s education be entrusted to her. For the avoidance of doubt, Edo State students have consistently maintained their top three position in external examinations for some years now, due to the unprecedented investments in education by the Oshiomhole government. Edo pupils and students have never had it so good, with free transportation to and from school, beautiful classrooms with ceiling fans, clean toilets with adequate water from boreholes and teachers who get their monthly pay cheques as at when due.
Even on the IAAF accredited Okpekpe Road Race, Omo-Ojo could not get his facts right. Is he aware that, there is a correlation between sports and tourism and that this race has opened up Okpekpe and neighboring communities to the world as no other event could have? And does his claim that “the exercise which can best be described as a public relations stunt, failed to develop local talents in the state” make sense in light of the introduction of a special category for local athletes from the host Communities of North Ibie in the 2016 Edition of Okpekpe Road Race.
An honest commentator would do well to acknowledge the good in a man even while outing his perceived shortcomings, but not the vindictive Omo-Ojo whose sole mission is to vilify and thus the premise no matter how fallacious and illogical must lead to his contorted conclusions. How easy it was to conclude that Governor Oshiomhole was heartless to spontaneously reprimand Mrs. Joy Ifijeh, a widow who no doubt broke an existing law, but who in retrospective humility, he was brave enough to publicly apologize to, compensate her and rehabilitate her when he knew about her challenging circumstances. Of course it was convenient for Omo-Ojo to forget that within the same period, the same Adams Oshiomhole was benevolent enough to finance his vacation abroad for urgent medical attention when he had a serious injury on his palm.
And lest I forget, Mrs. Joy Ifijeh was never a Senior Special Assistant without portfolio, but was employed from the onset as a Special Assistant on Rural Women Empowerment, a position she occupies till this day. So I wonder why Omo-Ojo would fabricate a story that the celebrity widow as he called her, was subsequently sacked.
All these obvious gaffes indicate that Omo-Ojo even as commissioner, was oblivious of happenings within the government in which he was serving. No wonder he was relieved of his position to enhance to quality of governance and one can therefore excuse his present display of ignorance especially during this trying period of circumstances induced retirement.
Incidentally, the only aspect of Omo Ojo’s abysmally flawed article is his nostalgic recount of how in the run up to the 2007 governorship election in Edo State, a few rapacious godfathers connived to support Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the simple reason of their own self-preservation, and how disappointed they were then, that once Oshiomhole settled down as governor, he turned against them by deploying the resources accruable to Edo state for the development of all the constituent parts of Edo State. That is the singular sin for which Omo Ojo believes post Oshiomhole Edo State will be a return to the “Share the money milieu” under which he and his ilk were mentored as politicians. However, we are confident that, with the foundation for development already laid by Governor Oshiomhole in Edo state, and with President Muhammadu Buhari’s emerging war on corruption, maybe, just maybe, our dethroned, disgruntled, godfathers of yesteryears, may finally change their ways, repent and have a chance to shout hosanna, hosanna when the gains of the present executives, the technocrats, administrators and investors which Governor Adams Oshiomhole attracted to Edo state begin to manifest.
*Oshioke is Executive Director (Social Media & Diaspora Affairs) to Governor Adams Oshiomhole