By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, has described the attacks on Governor Godwin Obaseki by Gen. Charles Airhiavbere, over the bestowal of the 2019 Best Performing Governor award on him by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), as ‘futile and retrogressive’.
In a statement, Osagie said the award has been “like a very hot balm on the faces of the likes of Gen. Charles Airhiavbere and a few other hapless politicians in Edo State.”
The governor’s aide noted that the award has caused Airhiavbere and his ilk sleepless nights because they have chosen willful blindness to the transformation of the state in less than three years since the governor came into office.
According to him, “Airhiavbere, for anyone familiar with Edo politics, has not only remained a sore loser but a bad product among the Edo electorate, jumping ship with reckless abandon and brandishing thugs as a means to erect and sustain a fickle political base.
“Obviously pained by the achievement of the governor – which he and his co-travelers are trying hard to deny – Airhiavbere has taken to the rostrum to sell himself as the alternative, spitting on the joy of thousands of Edo teachers, who, on account of the impressive work condition, exposure to new pedagogy, improved teaching gears, among other benefits they have enjoyed with the Obaseki-led government, have not recorded any strike action in the last three years.”
“In fact, in a matter of speaking, where does an ‘honest’ retired Army General get the sort of money to repeatedly run for the office of governor, which we all know is an extremely expensive venture.
Everybody knows that the salary of Army Generals is structured and defined. With the help of a calculator, one can determine what Airhiavbere has earned in and out of military service.
“One wonders, therefore, where the General amassed the ‘extras’ he is deploying during every election cycle to make feeble attempts at becoming a governor and in the process outing himself as an unrepentant loser, who obviously seeks power for self-aggrandisement.”
Osagie noted that the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, which is infuriating Airhiavbere, is today the toast of national and subnational governments across Africa, as the state government has received delegations from Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Lagos State, among others, all coming to learn from the success of the programme in Edo State.
“It is sad that Airhiavbere only thinks about brick and mortar when it comes to development. It is said that the most powerful weapon against ignorance and illiteracy is knowledge. When you build structures including physical and institutional structures, to tackle the rot in the education sector, you are sure to record a more lasting change than just building school blocks.
“Hence, the Edo-BEST programme runs on five prongs, hinged on governance, teacher development and instructional design, community partnerships; infrastructure and the support and development of the local education authority,” he noted.