The interview by Mr Louis Odion, Edo State Commissioner for Information, published in the Vanguard of Saturday, July 12, 2014, was most bemusing to say the least.
Thankfully, after nearly two years of inactivity, Odion, like a semi-extinct volcano, erupted spewing molten lies and illogic.
Tasked to explain why his boss beat a humbling retreat by cancelling the much-advertised competency test for teachers, Odion set off on a wild goose chase… bla bla bla! Pity!
Delusional Odion conveniently forgot that it was the Edo State chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Dan Orbih who first opposed such test on the ground that several officials of Edo State government have Oluwole certificates.
Chief Orbih had publicly challenged Odion’s boss, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, to present his certificates for scrutiny. We are still waiting.
However, what appeared a confirmation of the widely-held belief that Oshiomhole’s purported certificates are not real didn’t take long in coming. Few days after our public challenge, Oshiomhole’s party -Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN, now APC) -took up paid advertorials that certificates were not a necessity!
If certificates are not necessary, why compel teachers to present theirs and subject them to a humiliating competency test?
The gutter language deployed in the said interview was typical. As a street boy who rose from being a newspaper vendor to a newspaper Editor, Managing Director, and now Commissioner, one fully understands the challenges such rapid changes in status can pose, especially for a country boy who didn’t expect this much from life.
Like his master who dropped out of school, became a tailor, labour leader and now, governor, Odion didn’t disappoint.
The commissioner and his boss have confirmed the saying, you can take a man out of the bush, but you can’t take the bush out of the man.
Odion lied that the crisis rocking the state legislature
was sparked by the suspension of four lawmakers “bribed” by PDP to dump APC. Nothing could be more ludicrous! In effect what Odion revealed was that all the PDP lawmakers who defected in the past to ACN (now APC) were paid to do so.
Oshiomhole’s attack puppy attempted to confuse the issues. He knows how scared stiff they are that several other APC lawmakers would jump ship, no thanks to Oshiomhole’s high-handedness.
The commissioner also knows that his boss has converted a part of his office in Government House Benin into an ‘Assembly’ complex.
Rather than address the issues, Odion elected to go after respected personalities like Chiefs Tony Anenih and Dan Osi Orbih.
Chief Anenih is old enough to be Odion’s father or grandfather. Chief Tony Anenih we know. Orbih is scion of the Late MCK Orbih, First Republic legislator of note. Him we all also know. I challenge Louis Odion to tell us who his father or grandfather is (or were) in Edo State and then Nigeria.
Expectedly, a man who had to string several polytechnic diplomas just to see the four walls of a university, on part-time basis, would be envious of another who had no cause to pass through that tortuous academic route to gain admission into the prestigious University of Benin.
What is more, Orbih graduated in flying colours long before Odion began life as a newspaper vendor!
To show the stuff Odion is made of, he forgot that the great Adamu Ciroma, who served as CBN Governor and later, Minister of Finance, like Orbih, was a graduate of History.
As a very successful businessman, politician and political leader, one does not need a degree in Economics, or Finance, (degrees which Odion and his Obioma-boss clearly don’t have) to know that the emergency renovation works on the Assembly complex were not captured in the budget.
As the saying goes, a man cannot give what he doesnt have. Charity, they say, begins at home. It is tragic that the only selling point of a man employed to market an entire state government as commissioner of information and orientation is wife battering.
What kind of orientation can a man who cannot keep a family offer? Go-and-die orientation, of course!
Like Odion reminded, the highly respected Chief Tony Anenih was Minister of Works, not Minister of Esanland. That Chief Anenih didn’t award contract for roads leading to his ancestral home shows that he is a nationalist and a statesman. He is certainly not in the class of Oshiomhole who has tarred all the bush paths in Iyamoh.
As a party that believes in the rule of law, we in PDP shall abide by the final decision by the relevant appellate courts as we take established judicial steps to seek justice.
My appeal to our growing number of supporters is to remain calm. The people of Ekiti have spoken. Very soon we in Edo State shall join the chorus.
God bless Edo State.
•Nehikhare lives in Benin