Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Omobusola Afuwape, in this piece, queries Governor Godwin Obaseki's records as the chief executive of Edo, with focus on certain allegations of abuse of office raised against the state governor.
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For the sake of the electorates ahead of the September 19 governorship election, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related matters Commission (ICPC) should promptly commence investigations into certain allegations of abuse of office raised against the incumbent governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki.
When news broke that the ICPC had been petitioned to investigate some allegations of financial malfeasances raised against Governor Obaseki, two quotable shares from two globally renowned personalities quickly came to mind.
First was the American whistleblower, who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, when he was a Central Intelligence Agency employee, Edward Joseph Snowden and claimed that, “There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny – they should be setting the example of transparency.”
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The former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan is of the view that “If corruption is a disease, transparency is a central part of its treatment.”
Bringing these views home to Edo, where the state holds governorship election next month, the onus of ensuring transparency and that the people retain their faith in government absolutely lies with the ICPC, a body constitutionally charged with the responsibility of exposing corruption among public officials.
The agency should dig down into the details provided by the petitioner and let the electorates and other Nigerians know the veracity of the allegations. The implication is that where the governor is found culpable of these allegations, voters can make up their minds on what to do with him at the ballot and on the other hand, if exonerated, he would not be deprived of the much-needed support.
Interestingly, the allegations contained details that are easily verifiable.
A member of the governor’s new political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ward 3, Orhionmwon LGA of Edo, Andrew Egboigbe, had authored the petition.
The governor’s main challenger, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has had the feeling that something was fishy about the security votes, not just because it was arbitrarily increased from N6 billion to N7.5 billion, but because the police weren’t getting enough to genuinely police the state.
In a maiden edition of his live broadcast on his Facebook page, Ize-Iyamu stated that: “The present government has not been able to show any serious commitment to the security funding of the state. Every month, the governor collects millions as security vote and gives the police little. That does not show commitment to security. The amount is not even enough to fuel vehicles.”
He expressed concern that Edo state was perhaps the only state in the south-south region without adequate investments in technology, which could be deployed to tackle crime.
“In this age, what is our investment in technology? Edo state might be the only state in the south-south that does not have trackers that can be used to trace kidnappers. The government must show sincerity in combating crime,” he said.
On the abandoned Water Storm Project, which Egboigbe alleged was awarded to Obaseki’s Afrinvest, Ize-Iyamu restated his commitment to ensuring its completion, even as he expressed surprise that Obaseki chose to not complete it when he became governor.
“The water storm project cannot be abandoned. I didn’t initiate it, but we must commend those who planned it. Even four years ago, when I was contesting, I commended the foresight because flooding is a major challenge in Benin.
“To abandon the project the way it has been abandoned is imprudent and wicked, especially coming from a governor that was part of its conception. Afrinvest was involved in the financing of the water storm project. How do you rationalise a governor, who was part of that process to now decide that he is not interested in the project?” Ize-Iyamu lamented.
Meanwhile, the Edo state media campaign council of the APC through its chairman, Prince John Mayaki, who was until recently the chief press secretary to the governor, has sustained its accusation that the Obaseki administration was emptying the state’s treasury by sponsoring nefarious political activities, fake protests and campaigns of calumny.
Talking from an insider’s perspective, Mayaki opined that Governor Obaseki has been chasing shadows while neglecting important governance issues, especially the management of floods and the protection of lives and property.
Definitely, this governor isn’t finishing well, let alone securing another term. But, in all, Edo’s money must be properly accounted for.
Read more on the Edo election here.
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APC disqualifies Obaseki from Edo guber primaries | Legit TV