FOR THE FIRST TIME…A SOCIALIST IN A STATE HOUSE

Finally, an avowed socialist is in a government house in Nigeria. It has been a long trek for that community that belongs in the ideological bend of the Marxist/Engel political thoughts. The first experience with a publicly declared socialist inclined government was way back in the 1950s when Chief Obafemi Awolowo was Premier of the Western Region. Even as the British colonialists lingered in the background of the nation’s political cadence, Awolowo wrought some of the most astounding welfare programmes that till date, people of south west Nigeria embrace the Awolowo years with the nostalgia of a baby’s yearn for a mother’s breast.

Though years had passed, Awolowo’s political exploits and programmes implementation in government have been passed from one generation to the other, and has continued to generate a yearning for a re-enactment of the Awolowo years. This yearning has become more intense with the growing state of hopelessness of Nigerians, seemingly captured in the vice grip of a generation of political brigands that has raised mediocrity to new standards, celebrating the nation’s state of decay with all imaginable plum. It has become so bad that when a Governor of a State buys a bucket for the state’s house bathroom, a large press conference is called and the drums are rolled out to celebrate the “massive” achievement. It tells how much government provision for the needs of the governed has reduced to the deliquence of tokenism.

The coming of Adams Oshiomole to the government house in Benin Edo State provides a new vista for refreshing expectations. Labour and all its philosophical postulation should be the very antithesis of the free wheeling politics of the area boys in Nigeria. The Nigerian state is even more unfortunate because the politicians that straddle the landscape have no idea of what ideological governance must of necessity be administered. The consequence for the country has been the wholesale violence of misdirection that has seized the political environment.

This is just by the way. The truth of the matter is that Oshiomole former labour leader and unarguably, a respected radical now sits in government house, and already, we are getting a feel of the flurry of progressive activities that will characterize political administration of Edo State in the next four years. Immediately after he was sworn-in, the governor declared free education as a state policy in Edo State. It’s a policy that always sits well with the people, south of Nigeria. It was hailed.

Then the governor reeled out other banishments; the banning of illegal taxes at all motor parks within the State and a hint of probing the administration of his immediate predecessor, Prof. Osunbor. It’s just all right the governor has moved the State to the action mode, even, when he was yet to see a single file in the State House.

I dare to call for a slow down, at least in the first few weeks of the administration. Many well intentioned programmes and ideas have failed on the implementation scale, most often, because they lacked well thought out processes. I believe that government policies must be well researched on the template administrative briefing by appropriate officers of state administration. Even if there is a primordial suspicion of civil servants, consultation with them and other stakeholders in governance is important.

While not questioning the competence of Comrade Oshiomole, of course, he had shown sterling qualities with his leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, I still think governance is different from politicking. It is even more important for the Comrade-Governor to conduct a minimum one week review of the state of situation in Edo State before rolling out his programmes implementation direction. This is against the background of the deplorable state of infrastructure and morale Edo State had degenerated into in the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors.

Generally, Comrade Oshiomole’s coming is a good thing for all that bid good for Nigeria, at the minimum, there is a now a basis to compare labour with the band of degenerates that had for long assailed our sensibilities.

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