By Davidson Momoh
Today, the number is not very few, in Edo, of the number of people who know that behind the disguise of one lacking in courage that encompasses his external personality, there is a very weak and incompetent Governor Godwin Obaseki whose leadership deficiency now lies exposed with his poor handling of the Covid19 pandemic in Edo state.Oriname Oyenude Kure, state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, a christian body was no doubt worried by this development when weeks ago he called on the State governor to impose a curfew on the state, if the need arises, besides shutting down of services within mosques and church premises across the state and asking citizens to remain indoors, except those on essential services.Kure, had appealed to security agencies to assist in enforcing the government orders to minimize the fatality that may arise from the Covid19 as he noted that all this were part of urgent measures to support the government’s efforts to check the spread of this virus in the state.“I appeal to the government for a complete lockdown now at least for the next two weeks and for the imposition of a curfew, if necessary. We appeal to security agencies to assist in enforcing government orders to minimize the fatality”.”All churches should totally close down. We discovered that government restriction on church services to a maximum of 20 persons is still a big risk when we observed the trend. We are going to join forces with the Edo State Government to deal with this evil darkness that is ravaging our nation and our land”, Kure said.He added, “This decision is good for every one of us. A pastor needs to stay alive to preach while the congregation needs to stay alive for the pastor to be able to reach them. We don’t want a situation where this evil darkness called ‘COVID-19’ will overtake us.“As we cooperate, it is safety and victory for all of us over COVID-19. After this announcement, government officials and the task force will move to implement government decision and we don’t want any of our pastors or churches to be humiliated”.The Edo State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) also called on the government to immediately close all the state borders to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, in a statement signed by the Edo State NMA Chairman, Dr. Valentine Omoifo.The Physicians urged the state government to heed its advice on the need to close all the borders leading into Edo State, regretting that Edo State had continued to have increasing numbers of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 largely from new entrants into the state or those they have had contacts with. According to the state NMA, “the breakdown shows that Edo State leads other states in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country in the number of positive cases and deaths.”Mr. Christopher Osa-Uwagie of the Non-Governmental group, Association for Monitoring and Implementation of COVID-19 Policies in Edo state was one Nigerian who visibly saw through this incompetence of Governor Obaseki very early when he said, “we abhor politicisation of issues concerning human life, we can’t close our eyes to a deliberate campaign of dishonesty in Edo State government’s handling of COVID-19 issues”.Osa-Uwagie had observed that as the head of the Edo state Government, Mr. Godwin Obaseki disappeared into thin air, and exceeded the recommended 14 days in self-isolation, making his health status and fitness a subject of speculation and point of concern.“Over two weeks now, Governor Godwin Obaseki has withdrawn self from public view, only to surface days ago in a contrived broadcast where he appeared disheveled and made questionable claims on the preparedness of the state as the number of confirmed cases climbs higher”.“When he rightly embarked on this self-isolation after exposure to the virus in meeting with other government officials who tested positive and disclosed his forwarding of sample to a competent laboratory for test, this responsible decision and transparent disclosures were praised by all, including this campaign organization, in addition to expressed support.He said Mr. Godwin Obaseki by turning his testing and result into the subject of official secrecy, while sanctioning the execution of deliberate acts of misinformation and general dishonesty were clear examples of poor sense of governance. Mr Uwagie said he drew two conclusions from the attitude of the governor and his government.“The first one being that the governor, despite the responsibility of his office as Edo state’s frontline soldier against a crisis that offers the greatest threat to humanity since the world war, is ignorant of the disease and the basic processes involved in testing and communication of result”.He said, “If this is the case, then it means that for the umpteenth time, Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s incompetence, unpreparedness for office, and petulant insistence of triviality instead of self-education are once again putting the state in great risk.“The other conclusion is that the governor, despite knowing better, has chosen to willfully mislead the public on his status in order to abdicate duty and hide away at the time the state is in greatest need for leadership, or politicize the situation for his personal benefit, or to, once again, lie to the people of Edo state and in a vain and unnecessary display of strength.Mr Osa- Uwagie’s conclusion was that, “This is worrisome and represents a bad show of leadership. To forestall the danger this unacceptable situation will birth, and as citizens of Edo, we are demanding that the state government offers a full and immediate explanation to the public on the health status of Governor Godwin Obaseki, his Executive Assistant, Tijani Nwadei, Crusoe Osagie and other close aides”.Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the former Secretary to Edo State Government and front line APC gubernatorial aspirant no doubt pointed the torchlight on the best way to deal with the ravaging infection, in the face of the Governor’s lack of leadership, when he spoke to the press a few weeks ago. The occasion was when he began the free distribution of thousand of sanitizers to people of the state.He had cause to pick holes in the way the Obaseki-led government was handling the Covid19 crisis at a time the government said Edo has recorded 12 cases: ” I want to say with all sense of responsibility that even the 12 confirmed cases might not be a true reflection because there are no testing centres. There are lots of people who have symptoms that warrant testing but where do they go”.
“We heard the Governor say that he is reluctant to order a lockdown because of the economic situation of the state. With due respect, I want to differ. It is when you are well that you can talk about commerce. It is when you are well that you can talk about trading. I don’t see why anybody will complain or grumble if they are to stay at home at a time like this”
Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu also punctured the state government’s order that citizens must wear face masks in public, when it did not make deliberate efforts to either mass produce them so that they will publicly available for those who want to acquire them, or even subsidize the cost of the items for members of the public.”We encourage the state government to situate their policies and directives in these times in hard realities and avoid burdening the people with impossible tasks. Until it is able to provide this for everyone, the state government should focus on enforcing the stay-at-home directive as this remains the best way to slow the spread of the virus while efforts are on to care for affected victims and prevent an influx of infected persons into the state.”That Edo APC as a party must now do the needful by replacing Obaseki in June is a fact. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is well prepared and ready to fill the gap, now lacking in the governance of our state. Now that majority of Edo people who thought Governor Godwin Obaseki is weak and cowardly with his glaring display of poor leadership skills have been proved right, he cannot be allowed to remain in office after November this year. The reason is simple: it would spell doom for the @APC as a party and Edo as a people.#Edomustmoveforward