To some Edolites, whether residing in the state or in diaspora, the name Tobiah may sound strange while to those who are in the christendom that are familiar with the Bible, it may not. The dictionary of the Bible compiled by D.M. McFarlan briefly describes Tobiah as “An Ammonite, partly Jewish leader who, in company with Sanballat, did everything he could to prevent Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
As recorded in the Bible, Tobiah taunted the builders, derided their works, plotted an attack, and wrote letters to his influential relatives to stir them up against Nehemiah. But all in vain!
No doubt, the biblical personality described in the foregoing paragraphs was a politician. Tobiah erroneously believed that to remain relevant in the political equation of Jerusalem at that time was to become a saboteur, a schemer, engaged in McCarthism and political horse trading as well as taunting Nehemiah’s men and deriding their works and plotting attacks against the government of Nehemiah.
How mistaken and naïve Tobiah was. If he knew he would have followed the way of peace, and we would have been reading about him today in the Bible from the perspective of peace and the fear of God.
However, it is not an exaggeration to say that we have many Tobiahs among today’s politicians in Edo state if the inelegant and undemocratic manners they are by each passing day, ahead of the September 10 election, maligning Governor Oshiomhole and the legal personality of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state is considered.
Unarguably, what Governor Oshiomhole and the APC are set to achieve for the state and its people through the campaign for and adoption of continuity agenda under the expected government that would be led by Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Hon. Philip Shaibu, can be deduced from the statement credited to Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos state when he recently visited Governor Oshiomhole at the Government House, Benin-City in readiness to take charge of the responsibilities of office as the appointed Chairman of the APC National Council for the Edo Governorship Election. From his statement, it is obvious that Edo, in the next political dispensation would be modelled after the New Lagos. While applauding Governor Oshiomhole’s brilliant performance in the state, he said “What I can promise your Excellency is that we have decided that we will bring the whole machinery of the Lagos model to Edo state. In addition to that, we believe strongly that Edo state has the potential of becoming a giant of Africa also, and this relationship is beyond the fact that it is historic, we also went to use the platform of this campaign to start a major paradigm shift in terms of economic and political relationship between Edo state and Lagos state.”
Without the intention of pandering to the interest of the APC and its affiliates in Edo state and Lagos state, it is not an exaggeration to say that the statement made by Governor Ambode where he alluded to the fact that Lagos is model state, cannot be pooh-poohed by any Tobiah in the state. His assertiion that Lagos state is a model state is obvious.
Infact Mr. Obaseki has no doubt agreed with him during his campaign in Abudu, which was reported on the online edition of the Nigerian Observer of August 3, 2016, where he assured the Enogie of Evbobanosa, Professor Gregory Akenzua and his subjects that Edo state’s economy would be repositioned to be the next to that of Lagos.
For the sake of clarity, the political character, which is invariably Tobiah, that is copiously used to bring meaning to this piece represents any politician in Edo state that is wont to resort to name calling, campaign of calumny, scheming, saboteur and McCarthyism inelegant political practices. Tobiah also represents the politician that has resorted to stooping down low to be patronising Gonzo journalism that is literarily mushrooming on the soil that is ambidextrously infertile to objectivity and fertile to falsehood.
At this juncture, it is expedient to briefly analyse the achievements of the trio of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Governor Akinwumi Ambode who had in succession worked with the template of governement of continuity which the APC in the state and Governor Oshiomhole want the administration of Mr. Obaseki/Hon. Shaibu to adopt when elected as the next governor and deputy governor of the state.
The successes that were recorded by the two former governors of Lagos state, Asiwaju Tinubu and Mr. Fashola and the incumbent governor are collectively what can in this context be referred to as the work of supererogation, and are worthy enough for emulation. Since APC became the majority party in Lagos state, it has recorded great improvements in its landmarks in critical sectors like health, environment and transport.
Infact, the biggest project that has been recorded in the state is the Eko Atlantic City project. The city is expected to have residential structures, first class hotels, restaurants, architectural edifices that would serve as tourist destinations to the rest of the world. The project is also expected to boast of numerous commercial, financial and holiday havens, making the city a big deal for the property and investment market in the country.
It would be recalled that the project which is widely reputed to be the most ambitious project in the recent times in real estate was conceptualised during the two-term tenure of Asiwaju Tinubu from 1999 to 2007. The project was rolled into the tenure of Governor Fashola, who in partnership with South Energix Limited, developers of the city, commissioned it in April 2008. The project which experts say will cost at least $6b, would no doubt be completed under the present administration of Governor Ambode.
Similarly, the Lagos state government recently procured four single Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) car train coaches for its Lagos Urban Rail Network (LURN).
The state government under the previous administration of Fashola approved $14.6 million of Messrs. China Civil Engineering Construction CCECC/China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation, for the purchase of the four EMU trains from the Chinese Government.
If I may ask, “Will Edo not be more progressive if government of continuity is put in place in the next political dispensation?” Your answer to this question would only take Edo state and Edolites to the next level only if it is dispassionately answered. Personally, as an Edolite I will never make the mistake of using my PVC to bring back the dark days that are reminiscent of the biblical days of locust. As it is, my thought process has been adjusted to be Picturizing, Visualising and Conceptualising, PVC, on the need to replicate Lagos in the 18 local government areas in Edo state.
If I may ask again, “Against the backdrop of the goodnews that Lagos is today exuding in the spirit of government of continuity in the state, would there not be wisdom for all Edolites to cooperate with the party that has the continuity agenda as its vision? This is against the fact that politicians that understands the dynamics of the economy of Edo state and parade realistic track records in macro economics activities are the ones that would literarily operate the machinery of continuity in the state. The beauty of its all is that the man that has been one of the key players in the unprecedented transformation of Lagos has been appointed by the National body of APC to oversee Obaseki/Shaibu campaign activities. Permit me to say that the development of Edo state at the moment has gone beyond primordial sentiments and partisanship. To me, as a Lagos residents who undeniably wrote this piece from the perspecive of an eyewitness, Lagos should be replicated across the 18 local government areas in the 3 senatorial districts in the state. The advocated feats can be performed by anyone; provided he or she is an Edolite. It is high time we left the backseat in the comity of the 36 states in the country.
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