A visa ban that should have come earlier
By Ubaka Okofu
“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious…” When Karl Marx (1818-1883) made the above quote in the 19th Century, I am sure he did not have in mind the people of Edo State, Nigeria who are not only ebullient, but are cultural enthusiasts. Nigerians, nay Africans had no discernible place in Marx’s theory as the concern of the radical political philosopher was Central Europe and other supposedly civilized continents. Africans were considered too uncivilized by the whiteman’s standard to have understood the ordinary basics of ethnography. Over the passage of time, the above quote is still relevant as it aptly captures what we have just witnessed in the ‘heartbeat’ state of Edo. Godwin Obaseki, the incumbent governor of the state has won the so much talked about governorship election with a convincing margin.
The journey to the well deserved victory for the incumbent did not come on a platter of gold. It was fraught with so many controversies, upheavals and political bickering. Loudest of them all was the feud between the governor and his estranged political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, a one time governor of the state. Most Edolites did not see a reason to have them drawn into the political imbroglio at first.
Godwin Obaseki had accused Oshiomhole of literally undermining him in the state, a point he made very strongly and felt was too much for him to live with. On the flip side, Oshiomhole had accused his dissident godson of turning down all his requests including political appointees in spite of the storms the former weathered to have him (Obaseki) sworn in as governor of the state.
Perhaps, because of the people’s apathy to politics, and more importantly, Dele Farotimi’s counsel; “do not die in their war” the people had at first refused to be drawn into the fight between a godfather and his son whose interests they also considered to be self-serving. But no sooner had Oshiomhole had his godson disqualified from contesting for a second term that the people of Edo knew that their stepping into the fight would be decisive, particularly in extricating the state treasury from the pilfering fingers of gluttonous political gladiators!
It goes without saying that “those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”. Using his coveted office as the National Chairman of the All Progressives Party, (APC), Oshiomhole had disqualified Godwin Obaseki on what was dubbed an act of political witch hunting. His Achilles heel was however his “bolekaja” antics which had earlier snowballed into several unwise decisions foisted on the party, and consequently resulted into so many defeats the party had to suffer in recent times. Losses in Delta, Zamfara and Imo (before the Supreme Court judgement) were some bitter pills Oshiohmole’s political rascality forced down the throat of the All Progressives Congress.
It’s symbolic to note that Oshiomhole who broke the jinx of ‘state capture’ in 2008 when he seized power from the Peoples’ Democratic Party , (PDP) vis-a-viz a court decision has now played down himself as a catalyst in the fall of that order. Perhaps, Pastor Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) would have won the just concluded election if the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Abdullahi Umar Ganduje were not brought into the field of play. Besides, the unjust increments on electricity billing and petroleum products prices, some of the utterances of both APC bigwigs against Obaseki, equally inflamed the anger of the people of Edo against Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, especially that of Ahmed Tinubu who in a video broadcast asked the people of Edo not to vote Obaseki because the latter wasn’t part of the struggle for democracy. How on earth would Tinubu make such a statement when he had literally misled the entire South west that was the stronghold of democracy to support an unrepentant ‘coupist’ to become president of the country!
Only if the US visa ban had come earlier than now, our politicians would have long learnt to play by the rules. I wish the British government would also emulate the US government in compiling our political class to be transparent in politics. The jittery state of top APC members over the visa ban is an indication that they have fear for the US government than they have for the authorities here. This can only be true because they have invested heavily in that country.
US President, Donald Trump