An Open Congratulatory Letter To Edo Governor-Elect, Godwin Obaseki
By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP
As a first step, let me congratulate you on your hard-won victory in yesterday’s Governorship election in Edo State. This victory is not yours alone. It is not even a victory for Edo people alone.
It is aptly a victory for democracy in Nigeria. Above all, it is a victory against god-fatherism in Nigeria.
Your victory symbolizes collectivism in patriotic nationalism and compliance with constitutional stipulations and expectations. The Independent National Electoral Commission, National Security Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Traditional Rulers, especially the revered Oba of Benin, Political Parties, the Electorate and the Media were all effectively contributory to the electoral success recorded in the election in Edo. Of course, kudos must be given to President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing a level playing field for the contestants.
Mr President, Sir, I know you are one of the two luckiest Nigerians that have had the uncommon privilege of serving as Head of Nigerian Government, both as a Military Dictator and an Elected President. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the first.
By our extant Constitution, this is your last tenure as a President of our cherished country, Nigeria. Taking into consideration your chronological age, I think what should be uppermost in your mind now, Sir, is the legacy you could bequeath your dear country, a country that has given you her best.
As one who had truncated our democracy in the past and ended up becoming a Military Head of State, you could rewrite that past which history repeatedly holds against you by giving Nigeria an Electoral System that can actually guarantee free, transparent, fair, credible and verifiable elections. The absence of credible elections in our country has been the lowest point of our democracy.
Therefore, the Electoral Bill which the Eighth National Assembly, under the leadership of Senator Bukola Sarki, had submitted for your Assent but for which you withheld it, should, please, be reconsidered. We need an enabling electoral environment that can boost and guarantee sustenance of our democracy.
Back to our re-elected Governor, I do not know what informed the electorate in Edo to have elected you a second time. I say this because I am not from your State and probably was not following socio-econo-political developments in the State.
I, however, have the temptation to think that your people, if not for any other reason, must have risen in unison to bluntly fight against excessive impunity that is characteristic of god-fatherism.
With your privileged second chance as Governor, I pray that you would give your best to the people of Edo State. Whatever you were unable to get right in your first tenure, this is an opportunity for you to correct such lapses.
I humbly would advise that you do not misconstrue the act of governance as a golden opportunity to loot your State dry. You should focus on using every available resource to advance the development of Edo State.
Some individuals who became governors in their States, out of what I call ‘poverty mentality’, converted the wealth of their States into their family’s Automated Teller Machine. The situation became so bad and devastating that even children of such governors who had never worked in any establishment in their live suddenly became not only multi-millionaires but multi-billionaires. They become so arrogant and pompous that the only preoccupation of theirs is to insult, harass, intimidate and threaten the weak in the society.
For such families to acquire such extraneous billionaire status, infrastructure, education, health and overall development in the State became victims of kleptomania.
Here, however, lies the irony of their reckless extremism in debauchery, crude and most irresponsible pillaging of their people’s common patrimony. They become enemies of their people, for being responsible for their economic depravity and woes. They can not move in the society with confidence. Hence a former governor would always need contingents of security personnel before he can go to any part of the State he had governed and most unfortunately looted.
The money he had so looted becomes a major headache and embarrassment to him. First, his family members and him are generally regarded as rogues by people in his State. No matter how thick-skinned and unconscionable the former governor pretends to be, he becomes psychologically traumatized. They become so inwardly hunted, that they resort to using dark pair of eye glasses. Late General Sani Abacha had such a psychological experience. Hence, he used dark pair of glasses.
Funny enough, personnel of anti-graft agencies, knowing they looted their States hopelessly dry, catch in on their greed. They become regular invitees to such agencies. In most cases, a large chunk of that which they had looted from their people might be used to appease certain powers that ordinarily should have no business with the wealth of the people.
Such roguish ex-governors who, by the special height they had attained in the society and should be vocal on serious matters of national importance concerning their people, become morally paralyzed and encumbered. They can not make bold statements, for fear of being picked up and seriously grilled on their past stewardship. Timidity becomes their way of life. What a poor development, resulting from poverty mentality?
Governor Godwin Obaseki, Sir, you do not need too much money to be happy in your life. It is a rare privilege for you to be Governor of your State. No Governor will ever be remembered based on the quantum of money he looted from his people. What endears a Governor to his people is the quality of transparent service he renders to his people.
Besides, nature has a way of ruthlessly dealing with looters of Public Treasury. In 99 out of 100, their children end up being destructively useless.
Governor, Sir, you would have noticed that in this Congratulatory letter, there is no line in which I addressed you with the appellation, Excellency. I come from Abia State and here the title, Excellency, is reserved only for God.
I earnestly wish you would set in motion the necessary machinery that will facilitate early accomplishment of all those promises I watched you make as you traversed all the electoral wards in Edo State. May God bless you, the people of Edo State and give us the needed impetus to sustain Nigeria’s democracy.
Once again, Congratulations!
Okwubunka of Asa.