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HomeOpinionThe Primacy of Truth (Part 4) By Crusoe Osagie

The Primacy of Truth (Part 4) By Crusoe Osagie

 

In 2016 when Governor Godwin Obaseki took office, Edo was like a war zone!

Our mothers were being humiliated in marketplaces. From Mission Road to New Benin and from Cooke Road to Forestry, enforcers were on the prowl, forcing genuine traders who eke out their living from the sweat of their brows to pay fees that could be likened to what the Italian mafias called the pizzo.

I remember a distress call from a childhood friend who attended Immaculate Conception College with me. My classmate who went ahead to study Engineering at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) had since become a high-flying Drilling Engineer with one of the biggest international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria.

Armed with decent remuneration from the oil industry and propelled by the patriotism of an average Edo man, he decided to return home to make some real estate investments.

He bought an old building on Siluko Road and began to tear it down to put up a mini-shopping complex and one day during a visit to his site, some fierce-looking men accosted him and insisted that he needed to pay his pizzo. But being a young man brimming with the confidence that is often associated with a good education and considerable exposure, he dared to question these men he would later discover to be enforcers for the non-state actors that had shared the city among themselves.

My classmate was severely assaulted. His call to me was from the Oba Market Police Station. Yes, they did not only assault him, their backers who were men with access to political power also ensured he ended up behind bars.

His call from jail broke my heart into a million splinters. I could not understand how one man who had followed the rules of hardwork to earn himself a place in society could be molested by some other men who had taken to crime and their violence is validated by none other than keepers of law and order themselves.

They were the lords of the land and they referred to themselves as Lions and Tigers. They decided who owned land and who didn’t. They decided whose shop was opened and whose was shut.

They built their houses in the middle of the road and forced other residents to take a detour to get to their houses. I could go on and on. All Edo people who are on the side of the Primacy of Truth can bear witness.

Obaseki came and insisted on law and order. A few had tried to resist the change from lawlessness and they were made to face the law. Others advised themselves and fizzled into oblivion only to show up every election cycle in the hope that they could take over political power again and rain terror on the people.

Will market women, genuine real estate investors, traders in Mission Road and others stand idly and allow these hoodlums to return to power?

The jury is out and the battleground is the gubernatorial election on September 21, 2024.

Sadly, not many will read this. Our people are inundated by a deluge of tall tales and they can hardly find space to accommodate the Primacy of Truth.

Watch out for Part 5

Osagie, a journalist, is the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media Projects

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I'm Israel, a creative writer, poet, photographer, videographer and news correspondent.
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