The dilemma of Charles Idahosa is understandable – this is even more so after reading his interview in The Nation Newspaperon Wednesday, 6th of May, 2020 with the headline, “Idahosa: there will be no power shift in Edo”.
As a fading politician that he has become with neither skill nor connection to survive in other legitimate economic enterprises, I will reserve the discourse on power shift and quickly dwell on his attack on my person in the said interview.
But as an elder, one expects that even if Charles is sent on an errand befitting only for slaves, he ought to deliver it like a freeborn. Charles Idahosa has talked and talked since Obaseki exhumed him from where he was rotting away in peace and has been rightly ignored by most, especially those who are familiar with an early morning ritual that includes unregulated intake of dry gin.
The words of a drunken man are of no value. But for the sake of posterity, his recent attack on myself and my brother, Chief Taiwo Akerele and by extension the people of Akoko-Edo must be addressed and set straight. In the interview, Charles Idahosa offered a reductive view of Akoko Edo local government where myself and Taiwo Akerele both hail from and stated that both of us resigned from the administration of Godwin Obaseki in devotion to their personal principles and inability to function in a government without leadership, should have remained in our position out of gratiitude to Obaseki who ‘remembered’ the people of Akoko Edo.
There is no point explaining to Charles Idahosa the importance of personal values and principles and how that could lead to the abandonment of a seeming profitable position because Charles lacks both and he is the sort of man to work for the devil himself as long his bread is buttered.
But we must caution Idahosa, quite strangely for a man of his age, that the world is large and not everyone will follow his path where no rules, principles or ethics apply – just ‘anywhere belle face’.
Bringing development to a people goes beyond offering appointments to two persons from there and if Charles Idahosa would take a break from alcohol and bother to examine even recent history, he would notice that the people of Akoko Edo have historically taken their destiny into their hands, relying on the hard work and creativity of their sons and daughters to power their communities through legitimate endeavors and private contributions.
That is not to say government intervention is not needed or important, but one must correct the beggarly view of hardworking people that Charles Idahosa sought to present. Furthermore, myself and Chief Taiwo Akerele left the sinking ship of Obaseki for the same reasons Charles Idahosa had criticized the governor in the past. He after all famously resigned in 2017 and adopted a sit-down-look approach, plowing further into the depths of alcoholism and lousy protests.
Philip Shaibu and Ogie took reins of government and victimized those who didn’t support their initial ambition to replace Oshiomhole and Charles Idahosa, on record, criticized this.
In the same interview, Charles Idahosa claimed that Akerele is a political lightweight with little or no consequence. Yet the man he slaves for with grey hair has ordered a near military invasion of Akerele’s home and ordered a desperate manhunt for him.
Why go through all that stress for a man that holds no relevance or significance? The truth is the years of excessive abuse of alcohol has impaired the judgment of Idahosa.
For without that, he would have known that as recent as 2016, the votes myself and Akerele returned from Akoko Edo dwarfed that of his and other stomach-driven ‘elders’ whose expertise is in swindling unsuspecting administration in Edo state.
No one can begrudge an old man who wasted his youthful years for taking advantage of a governor desperate for support to make a few millions.
But Charles Idahosa must draw limits to protect whatever is left of his tattered image. It is so that they will not become old purposeless men like Charles Idahosa who are beholden to a failed government because of what to eat that myself and Taiwo Akerele invested in ourselves and built a CV that can guarantee comfortable survival in or outside government.
This is why we can speak our truths. This is why we can walk away. This is why our people remain proud of us. Charles Idahosa must respect this.
- Prince John Mayaki, former Chief Press Secretary to Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki writes from Benin City.