Comrade Engr. Lawrence John O.I.
No doubt, in the pantheon of contemporary Edo State politicians, Chief Dan Orbih, the former Edo PDP State Chairman and now South South Vice Chairman of PDP, inhabits untroubled authority. There is no day that passes in our lore without the troubled governor, Godwin Obaseki, or his overzealous followers, mentioning the name of Chief Dan Orbih. When these people are unable to sleep after their political failures, they mention Dan Orbih, when they fail or win elections, they mention Dan Orbih, when they are unable to impregnate their wives, the name that comes to their mind easily is Dan Orbih, when PDP members protest their maltreatment by the governor, he mentions Dan Orbih, when they refuse an illegal harmonization, the governor goes all out against Dan Orbih orchestrating a laughable suspension by a group of rascals with the mild tag of stakeholders…With these, Chief Dan Orbih has fortunately taken a larger than life disposition and outlook in Edo State political mythology and folklore. You must, like one Victor Aikaimho, blame Chief Dan Orbih for your misfortunes in politics. Victor felt he could revive his political failure and downward spiral by openly blaming Chief Dan Orbih for his inabilities to win elections there in Iyamho, the formidable political space occupied by Adams Oshiomhole. Like Obaseki, Akaimho would rather rely on the mythical Dan Orbih than face the realities of his political misfortunes. Unfortunately, he didn’t say what has not been said before from figments of troubled imaginations, he just went a little bit further to make libelous claims.
Those who think they are politically demarketing Chief Dan Orbih, those who have nothing concrete against him and those who openly wish to contest powers with him are further solidifying his formidable political structure as a man who cannot be pushed aside even by a sitting governor. This notion is being accumulated in the public consciousness. As of today, Chief Dan Orbih is the most popular and most acceptable individual in PDP, far ahead of Obaseki. They have created a fable, with strong adhesive, as a man who wish to stand with his people not to be disposed off, a man with political discipline against all odds and a man who wish to uphold agreements and patriotic to the party’s constitution. With their intolerance, that have made him a man of the common PDP members who won elections for Obaseki but are being shortchanged in the scheme of things. They have made him take the position of a standout rebel fighting for a just cause who is refusing that the excos of the party be disposed of their only possession having won the election without compensation. From Edo South to Edo North, he is the name in every tongue while he maintains absolute silence and decorum. Since the open show of shame, Chief Dan Orbih has not publicly made any uncomplementary statement against the governor nor has he acted, like the governor has been found doing, outside the jurisdiction of ethics. If necessary, like the quintessential gentleman he is, he goes to court to get any necessary ruling against the dictatorial tendencies of the governor who has been conducting himself poorly.
What Chief Dan Orbih was asking for, like every sane mind, was for the governor to be fair in his appointments and treatment of the party members who gave him ticket to run before asking for a harmonization that is not even known to the PDP constitution. What he is asking for, like every other member of the party, is fairness, equity and justice. Like most of us, he is asking for the rule of ‘give and take,’ for the ethics of he ‘who must come to justice must come with equity,’ nothing else. And I don’t think if Obaseki is honest, is just, is sincere, is truthful…these demands are not too much. Would Obaseki have won the election without the PDP structure? Perhaps not. Would PDP have won APC without Obaseki? Perhaps not. So if the union had yielded result, it is necessary then for each party to be fair to each other. And that’s what Chief Dan Orbih and others are asking for.
Yes, one will agree that Chief Dan Orbih, with his strong leadership courage, he is doing the unpopular thing in the interest for the common PDP members. It’s necessary because most of them won’t be able to fight for themselves. This action, which is remarkable, appeal to a section of PDP members who can relate with what it means to be patriotic in an undisciplined society. The driving tools for Chief Dan Orbih’s actions are not for personal gains. Of course he has nothing to gain from the common PDP members he personally sustain, however he does all these for them not to be trampled upon, as Obaseki would wish to do by dangling some few appointments ‘left’ before their eyes if they relinquish their exco positions for his followers ‘who came with him.’
One year down the slope, Governor Godwin Obaseki has not even lived up to the promises and expectations of those he wish them to relinquish their elected positions. He went round the 192 wards that made up the state promising heaven on earth, not one has been accomplished. Rather, he is in Benin ordering them to leave their positions with ‘something’ in return.
Obaseki should know he was lucky to have had leadership in Edo State literally trust on him because the masses were made to believe Oshiomhole was a bad man and he was a good man through the instrumentality of orchestrated propaganda, not on performance. Obaseki was like a food that was forced to feed the electorates in 2020 while his limitations as a man who don’t appreciate good deeds were accommodated to the detriment of the citizens as can now be seen. His cover as a liberator was a matter of camouflage for his huge deficiencies in human relations. No one actually reasoned then that if he could betray the APC that gave him ticket, especially Oshiomhole, he could betray PDP and its leaders. Today, he blame everything on Chief Dan Orbih, none on himself. He could not set up his cabinet for a year, it was because of him. Yet his acolytes and media urchins are always on hand to peddle whatever they are given to ‘share’ and ‘forward’ in his defense with rains of excuses and torrential alibis, especially his intolerable undemocratic episodes that has brought shame to the party.
Obaseki has entered the last lame duck phase of his 8 years rule, with the masses making tentative appraisal of what will be his legacy. Few projects are being dusted up and presented as his achievements, we can also blame Chief Dan Orbih for this. I know how difficult it is to showcase what is not so there like the Water Storm Project he inherited and the Ekenwan Road that has been lingering for over 5 years.
The worsening internal security situation in Edo State and the inability for Obaseki to tackle it remain worrisome and embarrassing. He alone remains the South South governor who has refused to sign the Anti-Grazing Bill into law, rather, he went to fractanize with Buhari begging for alms. Assessors will tell you he betrayed his counterparts but his acolytes will rather want us to blame it blindly at Chief Dan Orbih, as usual.
The truth is, the public is not lost between what was marketed as the governor’s high points and what is emerging as the reality of his failing leadership style. His post election aura has wanned to the barest minimal and his popularity gone like a vapour. The public is reasonably overwhelmed by his sheer hypocritical narratives which were derived from Godfatherism, today, he rants that he is the leader of the party and whoseever does not accept him would need to leave the party for him.
Apart from making Chief Dan Orbih their leader, some have gone back to idolizing Oshiomhole they helped Obaseki to defeat. They now look at Obaseki as an apostle of unfulfilled promises. The preacher about frugality and ‘I don’t want to give party leaders money meant to develop Edo State’ has now ended up being unaccountable using consultants from Lagos to deal with the poor state.
Worst still, without the interference of Chief Dan Orbih, is his public reputation in Edo State and at the national level having participated in different illegal party activities that has brought the party to disrepute and capable of divisiveness. As of today, PDP in Edo State under Obaseki is in a miserable condition. We find ourselves bitterly divided. He has sold dubious beliefs and false items into the consciousness of his willing followers that both his political failures and his inabilities to perform are from Chief Dan Orbih. He has weaponised these narratives using the minds of the gullible masses. Today, sorry to say, Edo State is in a tragic reverse. What we are witnessing is not strong leadership but an authoritarian one which seem wrecked by the burden of lack of performance. It is the tragedy of open show of shame and incompetence that we are mostly mistaken for strength. This has nothing to do with Chief Dan Orbih at all.
Even the most ardent supporters of governor Obaseki before the election and his rationalists among us who stuck their necks out during the gubernatorial election would be searching aimlessly for what can be his legacy when the two years plus left in his tenure is over.
Aluta Continua Victoria Ascerta