In the previous edition of Worker’s Alternative, we raised it that it is not possible for Comrade Governor Oshiomhole to make any meaningful development that can fundamentally touch the live of ordinary people of Edo state while limiting himself to Edo State This was what we wrote in Workers Alternative December 2008.
“As soon as Adams Oshiomhole was declared the rightful occupant of the State Governor's seat in Edo State he started making a series of announcements on job creation, the payment of back-wages to workers who have not seen payments for months, public spending, etc., which have raised even further the hopes of the Nigerian masses, not just in the State but right across Nigeria. How he is going to find the finance to back these proposals is another matter. He is after all only a local governor and depends on central government for funding. (The abyss facing Nigeria in the face of the growing world crisis of capitalism December 2008)”
Happenings in Edo state after the Last 5months of his swearing-in has really confirmed the correctness of our positions. The question to be asked is: what has the comrade Governor achieved so far?, What are the outstanding to be achieved?, Why the present method he is using cannot solve the problem and finally what is the way forward for ordinary people of Edo State. To answer all the questions, one need to look critically on the questions raised one after the other.
ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR
Concretely speaking, has there really been any meaningful achievement that touches the lives of ordinary people of Edo state? All the Comrade Governor has been doing so far is review of contract awarded by his predecessor, massive destruction of shops without any viable alternative for people, no concession at all on Teachers salary despite the fact that some State Governors who are not even comrades gave some concessions, N10million cut from local Govt funds, recent tax imposed on private schools and clinics, donation of Helmet & bullet-proof vest to the police in the state, he joined the National Economic Council that recommended deregulation and privatization of refinery, a policy he fought vehemently against when he was a labour leader “what an irony”.
Even in the face of all the aforementioned, the comrade Governor still enjoy overwhelming grass root support from the Edo state people but instead of using his authority to carry out pro-people policy he has used it at different fora to whip up support for the rotten policy of Yaradua’s Administration. It was also reported that in one of these fora, there was an open clash between him and John Odah (present Sec Gen NLC) on the questions of support for deregulation and privatization of the down stream sector of the petroleum industry.
What are the outstanding to be achieved
As has been said earlier on, nothing fundamental has been achieved so far by the Comrade Governor, Edo state still remain one of the worst in terms of youth employment in Nigeria, crime rate is one of the highest, poverty rate has not improved, a lot of infrastructural decadence, no proper funding of education and public health sector. All these have become like the Yar’adua’s Seven Point Agenda, which are mere paper promises without any proper action.
The present method cannot solve the problem
Nigeria earns over 70% of her revenue from Oil and the whole money go to the central Government. Edo state is not economically viable and almost 100% dependent on stipend from the Federal Government which limits how resources can be manipulated within. This explains why the comrade Governor has to carry out attack on private hospitals and schools in the state by imposing heavy levy/tax on them rather than this solving the problem, it will rather aggravate it. By imposing task on private hospitals and schools without proper and adequate funding of public ones to effectively compete with the private will place more burden on ordinary people because they will be made to pay more than before. But if the public are more attractive and are properly funded the private will no longer be attractive to ordinary people.
The only way the people of Edo can be rescued is to link with people of Oyo, Kano, Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. Comrade Oshiomole should use his present enviable authority to re-build a Labour Party rather than using it to prop-up a degenerate ruling class and their useless parties and contest under a Labour Party at the National level with a socialist program resting on the shoulders of Nigerian Workers.