By Isaac Asabor
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has existed since Management and Politics as bodies of knowledge began to evolve. However, its record as the most applied instrument of governance by the incumbent governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki may likely be impossible to be broken by any future governor in Edo State, even as it would not be necessary to compete with him since he has somewhat abused its applicability, and considering the fact that doing so would be antithetical to anticipated developmental stride.
The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as Obaseki, from whichever way the expediency or importance of MoU is analyzed from, as a governor has politicized MoU, and from all indications disingenuously applied it to mislead the people but not political watchers in the State who are unarguably tracking his records as a governor that is bound to be answerable and accountable to the people.
For instance, just few days ago, Obaseki, signed a deal with the Government of Malaysia for the establishment of a University of Innovation in Benin City, the Edo State capital. While parleying with journalists in the State capital, he said the MoU is part of his administration’s efforts to bring more development into the state to boost the state’s economy and better the lives of Edo people. However, to those opposed to his style of leadership, or rather governance, he has failed in this regard. They have as of few weeks ago, precisely in the month of July; been unanimous in their views that he has signed over 23 MoUs that are still at different stages of planning, and had not yielded concrete results. Simply put, they are just on paper.
For the sake of clarity, an MoU is an expression of agreement to proceed action on a given business plan. It indicates that the parties have reached an understanding and are moving forward. Although it is not legally binding, it is a serious declaration that a contract is imminent.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is not an exaggeration to say that September 19, 2020 is a date that has metaphorically being set aside by Edolites to collectively express sign an MoU in favour of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the gubernatorial flag bearer of the All Peoples Congress (APC) in the form of voting for him in his bid to Osadebey Avenue, and at the same time rallying round him upon victory to proceed, or move forward to implement all the list of developmental items that are inherent in his SIMPLE Agenda. To those that are yet to understand this metaphorical point of view, voting for Ize-Iyamu on September 19 means that an understanding has been reached with him. Each vote cast to his credit is unarguably a nod to the MoU; not a spurious MoU. Edo people will on that day be voting towards the realization of the real MoU in the next political dispensation.
Among the agreements that are inherent in the SIMPLE Agenda that is now in this context been referred to as MoU are: Security, Infrastructural development, Manpower development, Public Private Partnership, Leadership and Employment creation which in this sense acronymically formed the word, SIMPLE.
Ize-Iyamu has for the umpteenth time in his electioneering campaign said if elected as governor, jobs will be created in education, agriculture and rural development, housing, electrification, fire service, industrialization, waste management system, employment creation and social empowerment, and water supply sector. Without any iota of exaggeration, these are the bases of the MOU we will be signing on September 19, 2020 through the votes that will be counted in favour of Ize-Iyamu at the polls across the 18 local government areas and 192 wards.
It is an MoU that is worth signing by Edolites to put an end to a government that has been so distracted since 2016 as its leader has been on an unending bickering with his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and former supporters and allies in the All Progressives Congress (APC). This no doubt, has led to unsatisfactory delivery of governance. To put sentiments aside, Edolites cannot afford to waste another 4 years watching the incumbent governor fighting to the detriment of the development of the State.
Without any iota of exaggeration, the anticipated tenure of Ize-Iyamu will engender a peaceful milieu that will truly enable an MoU, which in this context is the SIMPLE Agenda, that will help in describing the broad outlines of “Dividends of Democracy” which Edolites expect of him.
In the same vein, MoUs are better executed and communicated under mutually accepted expectations of all of the parties involved in a negotiation. To me, this is the kind of partnership that Ize-Iyamu will bring to bear by the time he becomes the governor in the State. He is not coming to work in an acrimonious atmosphere.
At this juncture, it suffices to say that an MoU clearly outlines specific points of an understanding. It names the parties, describes the project on which they are agreeing, defines its scope, and details each party’s roles and responsibilities. Without any scintilla of hyperbole, Ize-Iyamu has in the past few months been on campaigns across local government and wards explaining to the people how he will bring all the contents of his SIMPLE Agenda to bear on the wellbeing of the people in the State when voted to become the governor of the State. It is against this backdrop that this writer wants Edolites to help in signing the masses’ version of MoU on September 19, 2020. To this writer, this will be the best MoU ever in the State as opposed to the version that has been in vogue since 2016.
There is no denying the fact that the tricky nature of which aspirant to support ahead of any given election or who to vote for at the poll in Edo state has seemingly remained intractable. The Catch-22 situation, no doubt, has been exacerbated by the extant political culture in the state that is so preoccupied with campaign of calumny, political mudslinging and name calling to the detriment of issue-based campaigns. The foregoing political atmosphere is no doubt usually steeped in the depth of political quagmire and spiteful cacophony. Against the foregoing background, it is little wonder that the issue of easily deciphering who the cap fits at each political dispensation has always been difficult to know.
It is even argued that if a good leader came on the scene, he or she would not be quickly recognized on account of the somewhat faulty yardsticks that are usually used to determine who a leader is in the state. For decades, the political heroes in the state have been popular figures, money -bags and media creations who more often than not utterly lack the leadership traits that can be deployed toward the development of the state and betterment of Edolites; both at home and in diaspora. As an Edolite, I am therefore using this medium to appeal to fellow Edolites to help in signing the bigger and better MoU on Saturday, September 19, 2020.