Four days left to the elections that will be held in Edo State, which has a long history of great men who, through sheer courage and Knowledge, have made a little town into a large empire extending across the Yoruba land of today, except for the Ijebu kingdom through Dahomey and Togo to the southern Ghana of today.
Think for a moment about that, where did the Osagyefoh Nkrumah name come from? Osagie: Osagie. Where did Dahomey start from? Isidahomen-Isidahomen. At least our people never bowed down to any Force, they never did, until the British Empire appeared on the horizon with gunpowder, bayonets and massive cannons capable of causing a lot of casualties.
A people are a microcosm of their history and present and future. The center of the character of a people never really changes. It’s encoded in their people ‘s DNA.
It is in that light that we must see Forbes Africa ‘s recent award given to Captain Hosa. It’s instructive to remember that the African continent has more than 1.3 billion inhabitants extending from Cape Coast to Algiers. A great achievement worthy of recognition by one’s own people is to be picked out as deserving of distinction. What is it that we have instead?
How real are the eternal words of the ever-changing Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Glory, when He said that a prophet is never without respect but in his own country and between his friends.
As Captain Hosa Okunbo is respected by foreigners who have seen and judged him as the kind of man who needed to be allowed to shine so that he could shine the light on the generations to come — so that they too can do it — we have his home state government that is actually maligning him.
Pulling down industrial systems that he built on the altar of political expediency for over 30 years in company.
This brings my mind to a larger Nigerian problem where individuals who are not schooled in the intricacies and complexities of power over a state or country are handed the task of governing a people. In Edo State, according to the last population census, there are 4.2 million inhabitants. What this means is that a man charged with the responsibility over such a great number of people must first of all recognize that there are 4.2 million individual opinions that will be expressed everyday and all of these 4.2 million opinions are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic. These opinions are expressed not because any of these individuals hate the governor but because they are breathing and moving entities each of whom is a stakeholder in the overall well-being of the state. Only a man who is not prepared for power would say over and over — As the Executive Governor of Edo State — as the chief security officer of the state — as the number one citizen of the state (who dey follow you struggle?).
Let the imposition of Obaseki as governor in 2016 be a lesson to all of us in how not to choose a successor. We must have a process that allows people come forward to speak freely to a man’s character before we give such a man responsibility over millions of lives.
It beats my mind why anyone who is already governor would still feel so small-minded enough to want to remind us that he is governor. As the governor makes one unforced error after another every single day, I just wonder. The other day at the palace, as the world watched in real time, Obaseki had a chance to seize the moment but clearly, as the saying goes — if you don’t ‘garrit,’ you don’t ‘garrit.’ Governor Godwin Obaseki simply does not ‘garrit.’ As he took that microphone, he could have spoken differently like “Your Royal Majesty, may the God of heaven establish you on the throne of your fathers and establish your generations forever. You have spoken well. I have heard your admonition very clearly. This matter ends today.
Adams Oshiomhole is my political father. Osagie Ize-Iyamu is my younger brother and there would have been no further contestation for Osadebey House. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki does not ‘garrit.’There is a stuff, a cloth from which great men are cut. When you look at the list of things Captain Hosa has been involved in and the number of successes he has recorded, you must doff your hat for this ‘Okunrin meta.’ I should know. I started business in 1978 long before he made his first investment in anything. He is older by one year and three days. We share a common history of evolution. Most of all, we share a certain level of courage that you only find in men who have walked where lions fear to tread. I am talking about real ‘elephant’ men. Hosa is an elephant man. He creates a road in the forest. We have a saying in Esan (Egie Eni mu uhomo ee olè odé). I have great admiration for men of courage. This is why it would be an honour for me to meet him. I congratulate you, Captain Hosa on the occasion of this award from Forbes.
As governor, a man like that should be your friend. You need him. He does not need you. As governor, Hosa should be at your Sunday lunch at Osadebey House every Sunday. Imagine if Hosa brings 10 billionaires to Edo State in the course of your four-year administration, you would have started an industrial revolution in Edo State.
Captain Hosa is not a candidate for election in Edo State. Oshiomhole is not a candidate for election in Edo State. The Obaseki propaganda machine has run its course. The day of reckoning is a mere four days away. One thing is clear. When the smoke clears and the thunder abates, only one man will be standing next week Saturday.
Only the man who ‘garrit’ will be standing for only one big reason. The man who ‘garrit’ knows one thing. You don’t fight City Hall.
*Ovienmhada, farmer, author, playwright writes from Lagos