After reading the interview by former Transport Commissioner in Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s government, Mr Orobosa Omo-Ojo, in Daily Sun of Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at pages 26 and 30, my initial reaction was that he (Omo-Ojo) was simply bellyaching, having only very recently been dropped from the Edo state cabinet by the comrade governor.
At the end of my quiet rumination, I resolved the issue in favour of both of them; and it is that if Governor Oshiomhole enjoys the absolute prerogative to engage and dispense with his commissioner in the manner he engaged and dispensed with Omo-Ojo, who says that he (Omo-Ojo) does not have the right to bellyache, especially if he feels that he was unfairly treated and, consequently, wrongly characterized?
When things like this happen, the tendency is for the public to assume that one or all of incompetence, corruption and malfeasances must have contributed to his removal as commissioner. The onus is therefore on Omo-Ojo to prove his incorruptibility or, at least, to prove that in Oshiomhole’s government, he was able to play in accordance with the rules of honesty, transparency and accountability.
But I harbour some guesses: it is not always that one finds people who look for opportunities to daringly hurl umbrages at governments in which they participated once they are shoved out of office. Many of them prefer to remain conformists and possibly go underground to enjoy their loots, that is if they were able to make some loots, instead of courting and earning the vindictive wrath of the usually merciless incumbent executive heads that would not brook any opposition from former minions.
Omo-Ojo’s predilection, therefore, to confrontationally expose the underbelly of his former boss-Oshiomhole- runs against the tide of this common sense wisdom of political survival, and perhaps, speaks to the critical issue of morality and integrity in public service; and which is that, like Caesar’s wife, he was probably above board while in government. Otherwise, it would have amounted to political hara-kiri for Omo-Ojo to step on the tail of the Tiger in Oshiomhole by pointedly suggesting that the comrade is not a man of integrity.
To argue, as he did, in the said interview that Oshiomhole has not kept all his promises to Edo people is to point out the comrade governor’s limitations (and this is Oshiomhole who believes that he is the best governor ever in Edo) and the fact that he probably has not been superlative in his performances contrary to contrived reports about his achievements, especially in the development of road infrastructure in the state .
Read Omo-Ojo: “Seven years down the line, thank God I had the opportunity to serve first as Special Adviser in charge of Tourism and then I became Commissioner for Oil and Gas, and not too long ago, I was appointed as the Commissioner for Transport. So I want to humbly say in some areas, I am proud that we were able to bring some succor; we were able to effect some changes. But on a general note, I can’t be bold enough, in all honesty, to say we have delivered on our promises, except we do so in the next 12 or 13 months.”
It is left for Oshiomhole to, directly or through his spokespersons, rebut Omo-Ojo’s claims. This has become imperative against the backdrop of the narrative that the administration did not have fidelity to its promise to empower the youth of the state. He said the promise to create 10,000 jobs through the Edo Youth Empowerment Scheme (Edo YES) was a ruse, as according to him, the men and women who were engaged under the programme were on casual basis, which is against the ethics of labour movement.
If this claim is correct, I wonder how Oshiomhole, who is a labour man, would be able to rationalise the evident fact of casualisation of workers in his State. I expect Osho Baba to rise up in his own defence by taking up the gauntlet thrown down by Omo-Ojo who, in a bid to further expose the foibles in the comrade governor’s administration, expressed his unhappiness that the government has not been able to meet the promises made in terms of job creation, in terms of letting the people to lead, in terms of the failure of his promise seven years ago to abolish illegal taxation and tickets (levies) on the people.
Although he conceded that the administration tried in the area of education, yet he declared that the progress was superficial (perhaps in the area of building of school structures and classes) while the teaching personnel and curriculum lack content. According to him, “I am not aware that our teachers in colleges that 40 percent of them are ICT literate or compliant. I am not aware that Education has gone global and it is ICT trending; and except we go back to the drawing board, we may not have enough for us to give of our achievements in terms of quality achievement and what we promised. I believe it is not enough for us to have the red roofs (classrooms) or revolution as we call it now.”
I agree the time has come for our people to begin to interrogate the Oshiomhole years in the governance of our dear State. I commend Omo-Ojo, who was an insider in his government, for commencing this public conversation on the stewardship of the comrade governor. I believe it is important that stakeholders in Edo join issues with Omo-Ojo especially for attempting to do a comparative analysis between the Lucky Igbinedion and Oshiomhole years.
Omo-Ojo argued that former Governor Igbinedion actually performed better than Oshiomhole but that Igbinedion failed to leverage on the media to publicise his achievements. He actually gave reasons to justify his position. I will not re-echo his position and the reasons herein lest I turn myself into a megaphone for propagating the supposed achievements of the Igbinedion administration, which, objectively, are at best arguable.
This is reason I strongly believe that since Oshiomhole approaches the terminus of his administration in Edo State next year and a burgeoning succession battle to contend with, the public space should come alive for Edolites to interrogate and debate the leadership and governance question in the State within the context of probity, accountability and prudent public finance. The ball is in the court of Oshiomhole and his government to take up the Omo-Ojo gauntlet to debunk the charge of failed promises, if they can. Those who have watched governance in Edo since 1999 are welcome on board this conversation.
Ainofenokhai, a public affairs commentator wrote via THE WILL