May 18, 2024

“A Day Of The Lord: A Day I Will Never Forget” – Dep. Gov Marvellous

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BEING MARVELLOUS GODWINS OMOBAYO’S  SPEECH ACCEPTING THE BENEVOLENT OFFER OF DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF EDO STATE AND  SWEARING IN ON THE 8TH OF APRIL, 2024 AT FESTIVAL HALL, EDO STATE GOVERNMENT HOUSE.

The oath of office l have just taken is my legal acceptance Speech. It defines the legal limits that l can or cannot exceed while in office. Beyond this legal ceremony, it is imperative that l publicly express my profound gratitude to our respected Executive Governor, His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, and the leadership of our great party, the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

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After all the very painful and thought-provoking distractions of the past few months, our Governor is determined to finish his second term very strong. From his dialogue with me, it is clear that he is very determined to bequeath a legacy of peace, unity, progress and visible development to Edo State. A legacy that the next PDP regime will find exciting to proudly build upon and maintain the leadership position Edo has achieved over time in the comity of states in Nigeria.

In the few critical months left to tidy up the work of this administration, my job as Deputy Governor is clearly and well cut out. I understand it very clearly. In line with the oath of office to which I have just subscribed, l make a solemn pledge to do all in my power, with God’s guidance,  to live up to expectations. I will give all it takes to meet the expectations of my principal, the party, and above all, the good people of Edo State.

Why me? This was the million naira question l asked His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, when he gave me the surprise invitation for a dialogue about this job a couple of days ago.

His answer was simple and direct: “GOD!” He elaborated further, “I looked through my history books and discovered that Akoko Edo has never served in this capacity. I talked to a few key leaders from Akoko Edo, across party lines, and all fingers pointed at you. The ultimate decision, however, came from GOD, and l couldn’t say no.” These were the words of His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, my namesake. A tale of two Godwins, you may say.

Even though l was dumbfounded, l also couldn’t say no for several reasons. First, my people of Akoko Edo would never have forgiven me if l had messed up the only chance God, history and ripe time have given them since creation.

Second, mind went straight to the book of ROMANS in the Bible. In Chapter 9, Verse 15 & 16, God said to Moses, “l will show mercy to anyone l choose, and l will show compassion to anyone l choose.” So, it is God who decides to show mercy and uplift one. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

I also recall Psalm 75, verses 6 & 7, which says: “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But the Lord is the Judge”, who transfers or reshuffle one and elevates another.

I quote these Biblical verses to underscore the fact that I did not beg or lobby for this job and of course had no input whatsoever in the fated processes that culminated in my swearing in as Deputy Governor today. It is hard to believe this, given the objective realities of our political practice in Nigeria. Although l have been a secret admirer of His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, for his audacious political engineering in Edo State, l was never a known visitor to the Edo State Government House. This is why l believed him that God spoke to his heart and that is also the reason l titled this acceptance speech “A Day of the Lord: A Day I will Never Forget.”

There was no time to organize a “thank you visit” of my Akoko Edo political leaders of all political parties to His Excellency. They were very anxious and ready to undertake the visit, but the Governor told me that, that can wait. All he wants for now is for me to come and join him to finish his assignment, and finish very strong.

Your Excellency, by the grace of God, you have it. I accept the appointment. I am willing and very ready to join hands with you to complete your tenure in office in a most glorious way. Loyalty is the name of the game, and l assure you sir, that you will have it in full doze.

For my people in Akoko Edo, it has been joy and excitement. Since colonial times, when the Local Government Area was created, no administration has bothered to tempt Akoko Edo with the position of Deputy Governor, even for one day. Akoko Edo has not produced a State Governor, no Federal Minister or other high-ranking government officers, except for the constitutionally mandatory ones.

Etsako has ruled the state as governor. It has also been lucky to produce some military governors and Vice Military Head of State and several ministers. Etsako has additionally produced two Deputy Governors of this state. Owan too has produced a Deputy Governor, some House of Assembly Speakers, among other highly placed government functionaries.

This history is important to explain why my people are very excited about this appointment, even though it is for only a few months. In the six local government areas that make up Edo North, Akoko Edo is the oldest and the largest in population, and in voting population. It is the third largest in population in Edo State.

In 1963, Etsako and Owan were one Division, and they had four (4) members in the then Midwest House of Assembly. Akoko Edo was also a Division with four (4) members in the same House of Assembly.

Today, the number for Akoko has reduced to only two while other local government areas have had their numbers doubled or even tripled. So, we place importance on the decision of the Obaseki-led administration and the PDP to consider Akoko Edo for this position.

My Principal, Governor Obaseki, has demonstrated from the outset of his administration that he is aware that Akoko Edo is being flagrantly marginalized. He therefore took practical steps to bridge the gap, as much as possible. His first Chief of Staff (CoS), Chief Press Secretary (CPS) and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Research, Documentation and Writing were all from Akoko Edo. He has further entrenched the practice of appointing two Commissioners from Akoko Edo. In his time too, Akoko Edo produced a Speaker of the House of Assembly, a Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip. And today, Akoko Edo people have broken the yoke and shattered the jinx by producing a Deputy Governor in his time on platter of diamond designed by the Almighty and delivered by His Excellency.

He also add that Governor Obaseki deserves commendation for maintaining justifiably that the baton of leadership should move to Edo Esan Central. For me, Governor Obaseki in this regard has displayed an admirable sense of equity and oneness. With this precedent he has set, our in-coming Governor Asue Ighodalo, by God’s grace, will also insist that it is the turn of Edo North and specifically Akoko Edo after governing Edo State for eight (8) years! All considered, _Edo Okpa ma khin_ (Edo we are one) and there is love and progress in sharing!

Governor Obaseki thus deserves applause from Edo people in general and Akoko Edo people in particular.

Although this is no opportunity to engage in lamentation, persecution complex, or wallow in self-pity, I stated the above historical facts to underscore what this appointment means to my people. They have promised that going forward, the people of Akoko Edo will demonstrate their gratitude in a way that will pleasantly embarrass the Governor and the People’s Democratic Party.

Yes, l am from Akoko Edo, but l am aware that l am not a Deputy Governor for Akoko Edo. I understand my mandate. I am the Deputy Governor for all Edo State and all its people. Irrespective of party, ethnic or religious affiliations, all that we all are searching for is individual and collective progress and development. I believe that inter-political alliances, acknowledgement, recognition and use of talents are necessary to achieve lasting individual and collective development. The vehicle we then board may sometimes change, the speed may be accelerated or reduced strategically, but the focus and destination of development through utmost loyalty and hard work remains fixed and inviolable. Politics of betterment for all, not bitterness, remains my model.
And this is the oath l just subscribed to. I will be loyal to my principal, and l will serve Edo people, as spelt out in my oath of office.

I pledge to be loyal to my oath of office. I have no choice in the matter. My principal shall have no reason to complain. The party will be happy with me. Our State Legislature shall be happy with me. Edo people will be happy with me in office. But l need prayers.

The State cannot cope with any more distractions. We are entering the injury time in the life of this administration. I promise to throw my little weight behind my principal, to ensure that he stays as focused as ever. Our leadership position in the comity of states in Nigeria will not be compromised. This, l promise. This, l pledge. Please join us in prayers.

I believe, as David Diop, the great African poet asserted in his poem, ‘The Vultures’, that “spring will be reborn under our bright steps.” I believe and I thank you all immensely.

Long live, Edo North!

Long live Edo State!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

His Excellency, High chief Engr. Omobayo Godwins Marvellous.

The Ogbokpokponase Gbaragada 1 of Akoko Edo,

Deputy Governor of Edo State,

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