BY MOJI DANISA
One of Edo’s most respected businessmen and industrialist, Captain Hosa Okunbor rattled observers recently with a well-attended press meet, during which he explained in details the bewildering nature of activities surrounding his relationship with Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
The revelations may have been shocking to those not in grasp of the workings of the brain of the man called Obaseki but many who have felt the brunt of his deep dark of mind, only observed with a tiny smirk of disgust, disgust that must trigger bile every time they think of the man who they once thought of as a gentleman.
The fact is, Godwin Obaseki is far from gentry.
I must go down memory lane if I can dare an attempt into unveiling a man without trails, a man without any verifiable foundation, a stranger who came from nowhere, mixed with the right people and somehow borrowed enough respect to earn him a card into political relevance.
Do we really know Obaseki? Did Obaseki grow up in Ubiaja or Benin City? Is his mother from Sobe as he now claims and what was his relationship with the late Madam Sarah, the Madam who once held Ubiaja in a ruthless firm grasp? Madam Sarah was an enigma of sorts, feared like the Mafia Dons of Sicily. People who dare talk about Obaseki whisper that he was a protégée of Madam Sarah, the woman who operated her one man (woman empire), the woman who ruled with a strong fist, an Ora, Owan woman who had no ancestral claim to Ubiaja but operated in the town with an iron rod, determining who was who and who does what. Indeed no one entered Ubiaja without marking Madam Sarah’s register.
Did Godwin Obaseki grow under the tutelage of his Uncle, who was simply known as Obaseki around the town and was rumored to have powerful paranormal powers, a man who was dreaded for his ability to unleash terror on anyone who drew his angst?
Did Obaseki attend the Catholic owned Saint John Boscos Grammar School in Ubiaja or Eghosa Grammar School, Benin City where he swears to oath that he passed out with three credits?
Who really is Obaseki? What factor along his path to adulthood is responsible for turning him into the deeply insecure, shady, snaky and crafty man he has become today? Nobody really knows this man called Obaseki. At the palace of the Enogie of Ubiaja where he delivered one of his lackluster, lazy, drooling speeches, the Enogie looked drowsy or pretended to be, he looked like one who had a deadly snake placed on his laps. Who really is Godwin Obaseki?
Do you know Obaseki?
Obaseki is said to be a forebear of the late Chief Gaius Obaseki, who was the president of the then Action Group and went down in history as a man who challenged the revered palace of the Oba of Benin in a notorious act of betrayal. When he lost his bid to measure shadows with the Oba, the jubilation that exploded in Benin City after the showdown between his Ogboni Confraternity and Chief Humphrey Omo-Osagie’s ‘Otu Edo’ (NCNC), reverberates in the four corners of Benin Kingdom till date.
What did Obaseki learn from history, I would say, nothing. If anything, Godwin is walking in the footprints of his ancestor and replaying his infamy.
Now, let’s come back to Captain Hosa Okunbor, a man who had no problem in and out of Edo State, a man who had done business with governments of all era at different levels, a man who has been extremely blessed by God, untainted and shunning any kind of limelight. Suddenly Captain Hosa, as he is known across the country, curiously finds himself on the defensive in full glare of News camera lenses and newsmen who needed to hear the whole story, the truth and the makings of a man who became the governor of Edo State and now the tormentor in chief of his benefactor.
I bet if he knew the man called Godwin Obaseki was as creepy and deadly as the Sub-Saharan Black Mamba, Chief Hosa Okunbor, a man who runs away from trouble, would have remained in his Abuja headquarters or retired to his 27 Hectare – Green House farm for some cool glasses of Palm wine while he watched the battle for Edo from the sidelines in 2016. Captain Hosa is no clairvoyant, so he fell for the deceptive humble mien of Godwin Obaseki, who was contesting for the position of governor under the APC when a friend brought him in to solicit for support for his ambition. Captain Hosa intimated him of his closeness to his late father and how Obaseki’s father nurtured him…because of that relationship between Obaseki’s father and himself, one never to forget those who helped him along his path to greatness, Okunbor decided on the spur to support Obaseki.
Support in Nigeria’s political parlance is same as bankrolling the candidate.
Now, again, I ask, who really is Obaseki? How come he did not know Captain Hosa a child, an age mate who was mentored by his father, where was Godwin when his father was mentoring the young Hosa? Is there any truth to the rumour that his father questioned his paternity and thereafter sent him to Ubiaja to live with relatives?
Captain Hosa may have made the worst political calculation of his life by going ahead to sponsor Godwin Obaseki. It is on record that shortly after he won the election, Obaseki dusted off any visible residue of those on whose feet he kowtowed to get the governorship starting with those who contributed to ushering him to power. One would think that Obaseki would have referenced history and would have been circumspect with the fore knowledge of what happed to his forebear, the afore-mentioned Gaius Obaseki in his dealings and lust for power. Nah, Obaseki, instead put on an arrogant cloak of power.
Captain Hosa, while explaining how his travails began with the Governor, revealed how some men who helped Obaseki attain power, including the friend who brought Obaseki to him, began to complain about being side lined. Indeed, it is common knowledge that Godwin Obaseki dumped the locals in favour of some Edo elites who he mostly imported from abroad. Once your parents were rich or you worked in London or a credit institution in Lagos, you automatically became a friend of the governor. If you weren’t among the nouveau rich then you were not wanted near the Edo State House. He brought them all into his government. If ever power got into anybody’s head, Godwin Obaseki is a walking personification of that saying.
Back again to the media parley between Captain Hosa and the Nigerian press: he stressed with clarity how he tried to intervene and warned Obaseki that he may be crossing his benefactor and the man who practically single-handedly brought him to power, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. Obaseki, the Captain said, swore that he would never fall out with Oshiomhole. “I will resign instead of quarrelling with Oshiomhole” Obaseki assured. Shortly after the Captain had taken Obaseki to China on the governor’s request, having generously paid the tickets of both Obaseki and his aides, the war between Obaseki and his godfather, Adams Oshiomhole became full blown. Captain Hosa explained how he attempted to intervene but was warned by Obaseki to steer clear else he would become the collateral damage because he had declared a “Fight to Finish” battle with Oshiomhole… and then the rumours that would unveil the acutely ambitious mind of Godwin Obaseki began. Somehow, either by some twisted dark imagination of an over active mind, or from a lying rumour mill, Obaseki was fed the idea that Captain Hosa was preparing to unseat him as governor of Edo State, a position Obaseki, from recent events, is ready to unleash violence and untold pain on anyone who dared nurture such dreams.
Such was his saturnine hallucination that Hosa would run for governor, that at an event where both met, Obaseki almost lost his mind like Macbeth of the Shakespearian play by that title. “Obaseki pointed his finger at me and started saying in-coming Governor”. I was so embarrassed because this was at an event hosted by Jim Ovia in honour of Emefiele when he was re-appointed CBN governor”. Captain Hosa explained how he had to hug the governor in front of the camera lenses to disabuse the notion that he had any interest in the governorship position.
If he thought a mere photo-op was enough to erase the morbid fear of being upstaged as governor by Obaseki, he was indeed very wrong. Obaseki’s nightmares were not purged. They were instead heightened and if you do not know Obaseki, you may be surprised at how he embarked on a revenge mission like a cornered lion.
Not even a personal call to the governor to assure him he had no plans of running for governor, helped. The governor, when he got the call, told Captain Hosa “That’s very good; this is what I have been expecting from you”. Osaze Ozamere also called Captain to thank him for putting the call through”. Nevertheless, the call did not assuage Obaseki, he became roaring mad and next thing Captain Hosa knew was that his business at the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, was hit.
The NPA dismantled the Secure Anchorage Area (SSA) operated by Captain Hosa’s company the Ocean Marine Solution Limited (OMSL).
Having gotten a hint as to who was behind this act, Captain Hosa went to Obaseki, who feigned ignorance and put a call through. The response was shocking: “Are you not the one who instructed Hadiza to do it? Hadiza is fighting your battle for you na” (Hadiza Bala Usman is the Managing Director, NPA). Captain Hosa listed some of those present at that meeting as Anslem Ojezua, Austin Aleghe, Peter Okundaiye, etc.
Do you know Obaseki?
Obaseki’s next target was Captain Hosa’s pipeline contracts in the Niger Delta. He was clearly targeted and Obaseki gave a very bad report about his companies and his business took another hit. Do you know Obaseki?
Why has Obaseki gained such nationwide popularity but is hardly reckoned with in Edo State where he governs? The answer is Simple. Obaseki has launched propaganda machinery only comparable to Hitler’s Nazi Party propaganda mill. Goebbels will be very proud of Obaseki in his grave.
Obaseki’s boys are employed for one single purpose; destroy everything in the way of the governor’s second tenure. They run on lies, fake news, cooked up stories and are as ruthless as the Nazis while leading their victim to the gas chambers.
A certain Crusoe Osagie, a special adviser on media to the governor wrote a most damning report falsely accusing Captain Hosa of arming thugs to disrupt the Edo elections. Word has it that he was arrested and taken to Abuja where he was abandoned by his principal. Who paid his ticket back to Benin after he broke down in tears like a baby? Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you really know Obaseki?
When we say Obaseki has nothing to show for the four years he has ruled, you may think its rough talk but the truth is there on ground. As I wrote in my last article, Obaseki’s achievements are the many MOUs gathering dust in his office. Obaseki is a master of illusion who builds dreams in his brains and brings them to actualization only with coloured verbal visuals. A now you see, now you don’t conjurer of imaginative projects.
If ever there was a man so vindictive, so delusional, so paranoid, he is right now occupying the seat of Governor in Edo State.
Many progressives have sworn not to step into Edo State for the next four years if by a forbidden stroke of Ill-luck, Godwin Obaseki wins. Edos cannot afford that mistake. Not even the Oba of Benin will be spared.