By Isaiah Jesuobo
Most politicians make commitments they have no intention of keeping, and this amount to Politics of Broken Promises. One of such politician is Godwin Obaseki with whom most of us went round 192 wards, standing on podiums and telling the Edo State citizens things deep inside him he knew he was not going to do.
In my criticisms of this Obaseki’s administration, I have been very objective as not to be sounding personal. I don’t have any personal experience with him, all I have is what I know from my experience as a politician in Edo State and as a PDP member. And its my part of philosophy not to be silent in times of crisis. Obaseki is a potential crises that’s going to happen to PDP if there is no deliberate disassociation from him. Anybody still supporting him today must either be eating from the government, waiting for some rapturous appointment or one who is dishonest.
The public reasonably expect politicians to do what they say they will do – to fulfill their promises.
Although, a lot of understandable unexpected situations could arise that will make a prudent course of action that might make some promises no longer possible, a responsible politician will be able to communicate to the people. Governor Obaseki does not care about communication. He keeps the people perpetually in the dark. This is evident that over a year after he was elected, he is yet to appoint a Publicity Secretary who ordinarily will disseminate government policies or change of course of actions of government. New information may come to the attention of the politician, which was unavailable before, it behoves on the communication arm of the government to pass such new information to the citizens and why adjustment need to be made. Work done by a small number of relatively inexpert politicians might need to be reevaluated in response to new information.
But when broken promises are becoming part of the government’s Executive Orders, with stockpiles of them, it becomes a problem to the party which fielded the politician. And that’s what PDP would face if its footsoldiers don’t start to intentionally disassociate the party, its ideals and ideology from Obaseki as a person. The party and Obaseki are not mutually exclusive – the people must understand this.
In Governor Godwin Obaseki’s first term, which was with APC, he expressed commitment to pursuing the development of a seaport in Gelegele, saying the project will help realize the creation of 200,000 jobs. Today, the project, after MOU running into millions, remain a darkened watershed in his several promises.
Again, in 2018, he promised the Benin City Bus Terminal, which he said will commence the first quarter of the year. “…our new transport master plan, in addition to continuing the rehabilitation and construction of major and arterial roads, we are working on new user-friendly road signs, appropriate house numberings, restocking the Comrade Bus fleet with 75 new buses, and completed the designs of new all-purpose modern bus terminals.” Today, the bus terminal has been terminated and no major artery roads are being constructed.
“As part of our efforts to stop human trafficking and illegal migration, my government is currently working on a project with the Federal Government to assist people to migrate legally and properly. Our skills centres will offer training, certification and visas under well defined structures which will allow those who want to travel to do so safely and with dignity¨ he stated. Since 2018 when this promise was made, nothing of it has been heard…it has become one of his audio promises.
In 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo laid the foundation stone of a N200 billion Industrial Park in Iyanomo community, Benin, Edo State. Mr. Osinbajo said at the event that when established, the park would create 170,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute significantly to the further development of the country’s manufacturing industry. He congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki for the huge investment, saying: “this is what the country has been waiting for to take it to greater heights.” Today, the Industrial park is a grass park with spear grasses growing towards the heavens.
Fast forward to the 2020 campaigns that took us to 192 wards, I can vividly recall the promises Obaseki made to curry votes from the unsuspecting electorates as they thunder their choruses of support for those empty promises. He said he was going to fix roads, build schools, employ teachers, empower vigilantes with salaries and utility vehicles…there was no ward we visited that he didn’t make such hollow promises. He will tell them like one standing before God in a matter of factly, that he does not make promises that he knows he cannot do. “Una know me? Anything when I say I go do, I go do am. I nor go tell una wetin in nor go do, make una write them down. I go build this una road, I go give una vigilantes moto make them dey use and dey pay them salaries…e nor good?” Its over a year now, no community have enjoyed from these promises. They are now engaged in self help to equip EdoBest schools without teachers, equip local vigilantes against kidnappers the state don’t give a damn about.
Ideally, politicians should always be honest about their intentions and communicate them forthrightly. Recognizing that circumstances can change, as I had already explained, politicians should also seek to communicate with the people frankly. But for Obaseki who has Stockpiles of these broken promises in his open wardrobe, I see all these as intentional rather than margins of error. How come after all these broken promises, he is making yet another airport promise to the Edo North people? I see these as either disassociative delusions or intentional act of political wickedness.