By Crusoe Osagie
Breathtaking accomplishments often elicit some measure of envy.
However, some level of maturity is expected from naysayers who are miffed at the fact that the target of their envy is making remarkable progress.
In his most recent diatribe filled with personal hatred for the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, over the progress of the Benin Port project, John Mayaki signed off as a Chieftain of the APC and former Media Aide to the Edo State Government.
I have never heard of a government having a media aide. It is people who have aides. Mayaki was just too embarrassed to truthfully describe himself as a former interim Chief Press Secretary to Governor Obaseki who sacked him for incompetence.
With this background honestly established, anyone who reads Mayaki’s hogwash against the governor can understand the basis for his attacks and lies in the pursuit of what now looks like his only purpose for being alive, which is to denigrate Obaseki.
Mayaki for the past six and half years has acted like a jilted lover who is so obsessed with his former partner that he can't seem to move on. Otherwise, how do you describe such deliberate falsification of facts?
In Mayaki’s narration of his own misery, the losses suffered by other people who ran for office in the 2023 election in Edo State is Obaseki’s fault and Obaseki’s liability.
I must have underestimated Mayaki’s bitterness against the governor. He wants the governor to fail so badly that he directly appropriates the misfortune of other people to Obaseki.
Mayaki’s situation is similar to what is described in a Benin parable which explains that a bitter person gazes at his enemy and hopes that the ground would collapse under his enemy's feet.
Unfortunately for Mayaki, such wishes against enemies – people have chosen to hate for no justifiable reason – usually do not come to pass. Rather, the more you hate them, the more progress they make.
The announcement on Monday, July 10, 2023, of the emergence of Mota Engil Africa, the company handling the Kano-Maradi rail project of the Federal Government, as the preferred bidder for the development of the Benin Port Project, seems to have rattled Mayaki and his ilk, waking them up from the short hiatus they seem to have drifted into in their pursuit of political appointments from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
But last week, the President named his media aides with competent hands like Tunde Rahman, former Editor of Punch and former Editor of ThisDay and O'tega Ogra, former Head of Media Relations at BUA Group, among several others making the list, while the likes of John Mayaki and his minions were ignored because they were not qualified to make the list in the first place.
Whether Mayaki drowns in unnecessary resentment against Obaseki or not, the governor’s legacies cannot be blemished. After a 75-year journey, the governor has broken the jinx and the Benin Port Project is now set to be constructed and commissioned, opening a new vista of economic opportunities for the State and Country.
It’s undeniable that Obaseki has transformed Edo into an industrial hub with the establishment of at least two modular refineries that are currently refining crude oil.
The refineries as of June 2023 had placed an order for 300,000 barrels of crude for refining in their facilities. The refineries are the 6000bpd facility operated by the Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company (ERPC) in Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area and the 2500bpd Duport Refinery run by Duport Refinery Company Limited in Egbokor, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the State.
Another industrial concern in the State is the development of two ethanol plants that are nearly completed and are set to be commissioned before the end of the governor’s administration next year. The plants include the Greenhill Ethanol Plant, sited in Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state, which is expected to produce food-grade ethanol for use in the confectionery and beverage industry and the Dufil Ethanol Plant which is expected to create employment opportunities and boost manufacturing in the Ovia region of the State.
Whether Mayaki likes it or not, Edo has become a frontier State in electricity reforms in the Country with a power plant that generates, transmits and distributes electricity across Benin City. This remarkable project is being expanded to other parts of the State, in line with the government’s plan to guarantee the required stable power to drive industrialization in the State.
The State now also has a fast-expanding retail sector, with the latest entrant being the Benin City mall, which will host a cinema, library, entertainment centre and other hospitality businesses.
The Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Sound Stage is now brimming with verve, with youths engaged in various artistic productions, including films, theatrical works, music and photography.
Amid Mayaki’s misery, Edo State has continued to record a boom in its tourism receipts and recently sealed a deal with Radisson Hotels, an international hotel chain headquartered in the United States for the construction of a 172-room hotel in Benin City. That project is in progress to the amazement of naysayers.
It’s to the credit of the Governor that Edo currently has the largest oil palm plantation programme in Africa, championed by Dufil, Saro Africa and other new entrants into the Edo oil palm industry in addition to the already established ones like Presco and Okomu, among others.
Edo State is today the most connected state digitally in Nigeria and operates the most digitized civil and public service in the Country, with all local governments connected to fibre optics. The State runs an e-governance system and is on the verge of becoming the first State in the country to have entirely shifted to a digital mode of administration.
The nuanced reforms in the education sector which have improved learning outcomes in the State have continued to get recognition and accolades from the World Bank, UNICEF and other national and international development agencies and organisations.
Governor Obaseki has set a new benchmark for accountability and transparency in public procurement in the Country, elevating the state’s procurement system and processes to unprecedented levels of efficiency, fairness, and compliance, with different countries and over 19 Nigerian States coming to understudy the transformational changes.
The governor has continued to blaze the trail since he assumed office in 2016, ensuring bold and transformative reforms and programmes to reset Edo State and place it on the path of sustainable economic growth and prosperity and no amount of pointless articles can change this truth.
In concluding this piece, I have a word of advice for John Mayaki, and that is: when you nurse bitterness against somebody, particularly someone who doesn’t deserve it, it is similar to taking a bottle of poison and consuming all of it and hoping that your enemy will die from the poison that you have consumed yourself.
A word is sufficient for the prudent.
Osagie is the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects