By Cephas Onaivi Cephas
Once again a grandstander has importuned himself into the spotlight with an all-too-familiar assortment of half-truths, falsehoods and intellectually ruinous arguments. This People’s Democratic Party (PDP) aficionado, Ogbeide Ifaluyi Isibor, a master suborner put together a write up, hoping it would serve as a criticism of the Governor’s New Year message, with emphasis on the ban placed on the activities of revenue drive agents unrecognized by the government. He failed.
Ogbeide began his critical travesty by claiming that the governor’s prohibition of illegal tax collectors, which he backed up with citations of provisions from the Nigerian Constitution, is an imitation of the PDP ‘simple agenda’ manifesto. Someone pray tell me how a constitutional provision became a PDP manifesto? Ogbeide obviously needs a refresher on the difference between a party’s manifesto and the provisions of the constitution of a country.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers only the three tiers of government with tax and levy collection duties, a provision which predates the conception of the PDP.
The PDP, we must recall, was formed during the second republic when certain individuals hurriedly re-assembled in 1999 with intentions I will say nothing about. Since then, this party has evolved considerably and even succeeded at some point in holding Nigerians’ collective patrimony in a stranglehold.
Ogbeide claimed in his flailing essay that the Edo PDP originated the concept of restriction of powers of levy collection to the three tiers of government alone. This is the kind of mind he has announced that he possesses; an ignorant one with no proper comprehension of time. He opines with his essay that the constitution of Nigeria was created only after party’s manifesto.
What he does not know is that he is not firing at the Governor’s speech as he no doubt intends, but he is portraying the PDP as a party devoid of ideology and any originality of thought; one bold enough to plagiarise the constitution as its manifesto. The PDP would do well to revisit his membership afore he brings them to certain ruin with ill-conceived propaganda.
The attempt by the same writer to pin the scourge of con artists masquerading as government revenue agents in Edo State on the APC government is as futile as trying to force a snail to stick on a wall against its will. Who in Edo State does he think has forgotten that the menace of touts was an anarchic problem the APC government inherited from the PDP as a fallout of the latter’s misrule for a decade?
Some of the masses, exasperated by this misrule, crafted ignoble means to survive and took to hooliganism of one form or the other; so much so that they presented themselves not only as revenue collectors for some PDP chieftains in the state, but also jobbed as election riggers among others.
If, as this criminal writer would have us believe, the Edo State government under Oshiomhole partnered with thugs and dubious entities to exploit Edo State residents in the name of collecting taxes and levies; then why did neither he nor his party file a single suit against the government of the day?
Recently Pastor Ize Iyamu stood before a cross section of students in Benin and described Governor Obaseki’s condition-based tax waiver to some corporate bodies in Edo State as a populist policy. He claimed that Obaseki, anticipation a possible rerun verdict by the election tribunal, aimed to win the sympathy of people. He then warned his audience to be wary of similar gestures that might follow. But despite being a supporter of Pastor Iyamu, Ogbeide declares that the PDP is not offended but elated by Obaseki’s ban of illegal revenue collectors which, however, according to the misfiring Iyamu himself earlier on, is supposedly another deceptive taxation-related populist strategy ahead of the rerun verdict from court.
Who between Ogbeide and the Pastor do we believe now? Edo’s PDP may sooner or later find the need to tackle this disunity and lack of internal harmony of opinions even if they have to expel the errant elements acting of their own accords.
In as much as the writer feigned genuine concern for transparency on the part of the governor, he went on expressing contradictory expectations, which only represented him as another vendetta seeker. In one line he argues that Obaseki’s ban on the current illegal revenue collectors is just a prelude to the birth of another gang loyal to himself, yet in another line he argues that Oshiomhole, with the governor as an accomplice, had a vested interest in the banned cabal.
If Obaseki, through Oshiomhole, had a vested interest in the cabal, then why would he proscribe it and set up another one when Oshiomhole has left the stage and the ‘cabal’ logically should be under his absolute control?
The posers on Edo State’s debt profile is a far-fetched insinuation because the same set of persons have always erstwhile obtained the figures from the Debt Management Office website to asperse Oshiomhole. It is therefore unclear why Ogbeide now pretends to seek information on Edo State’s debt profile from Governor Obaseki when the DMO website has not shut down.
Ogbeide’s claims that Adams Oshiomhole’s regime was a catastrophe leaves one wondering whether his beloved PDP’s regime headed by Lucky Igbinedion was a Mother Theresa.
What stops him from petitioning the EFCC now that Oshiomhole’s immunity has expired?
It was a regular occurrence in Edo State that while Oshiomhole was in power, the likes of Ogbeide and other PDP members harped on his immunity continually, claiming that it was the only hindrance to their call for his arrest and prosecution by EFCC.
They alleged that he inflated the cost of several projects whereas they did not really know the fair cost of projects as they were not used to projects since they embarked on them sparsely in their ten questionable years. Now that Oshiomhole’s immunity is gone, they have shifted bivouac from Oshiomhole to Obaseki’s administration. They now holler, at cacophonous decibels, that he should be probed and that he should come out clean.
The fib peddlers alleged that the plans to revive Benin Technical College, commence work on Gelegele seaport, and recycle wastes are part of the ideas stolen from the PDP’s agenda. Even gullible simpletons would note that this indicter reeks of ignorance about the ramifications of the economic stimulation and human capital development, which the governor campaigned with, and which were further enriched and fine-tuned through the Governor’s recent interaction with stakeholders from different walks of life in the state capital.
It would be recalled that during the debates the governor tried unsuccessfully to drive make them see that the complex economic challenges facing the country courtesy of PDP’s protracted misrule do not have quick-fix solutions for which the ‘simple agenda’ nomenclature is a euphemism. What Edo State needs is a holistic approach which will represent a paradigm shift from the federal allocation-based simple approach, which has failed us