Edo National Association Worldwide (ENAW) has incontestably and justifiably gained a reputation as the apex socio-cultural organization of Edo Diaspora in America and other parts of the world. For 26 years now, the association has held remarkable annual gatherings during which distinguished persons of Edo origin are invited as special guests to felicitate with the association. In view of the patriotic inclination of the members of the association to be comprehensively informed about the state of affairs in their home state, especially in the area of economic development, the convention usually invites incumbent Edo State governors to speak at the annual event.
It is evident from the recollections of considerable ENAW convention Veterans that, some conspicuous political guests have in the past, attempted to fraudulently create the impression of an enthusiastic reception by the global Edo forum. The studied observers further remarked that it is not too often that Edo political leaders, particularly the governors who are the permanently designated principal guest speakers at the conventions, are welcomed with the kind of spontaneous enthusiasm that was witnessed at the arrival of Governor Obaseki at the opening of the 2019 ENAW event in Washington D.C. With loud chants of adulation synchronized with traditional music and dances, the participants displayed uncorrupted organic bond with the Governor. Actually some of the past visiting governors were received with huge dosage of skepticism especially in situations where there existed too many questions about their performance profile. The Edo assembly in Diaspora is not the kind of forum that anyone should attempt to impress with a hollow theatre of masquerade-like acrobatics because the members of the association will see through such shenanigan.
Some respected activists within the Edo international organization reflectively remarked that the gubernatorial participation in the last three years preceding 2016 were episodes seemingly scripted for rabble-rousing. Unfortunately, the ex-governor being referenced in this instance was incapable of comprehending the fact that there are some forums where the audience is seeking a responsible moderation to mere effusive oratory and the tasteless art of arrogant declarations. Very clearly, there was a qualitative difference of substance and style between the principal guest speaker of 2015 and the man who took the same role in 2019.
Most of the members who attend the Edo World-Wide Convention are people who are in close contact with their families back home. That they are resident in some distant parts of the globe does not mean that they are oblivious of the true state of affairs in Edo State. It was not therefore by any means surprising that Governor Obaseki was received with genuine affability and rapturous applause on entering the opening ceremony of the Convention. Despite being a non-political organization, the ceremonial hall of ENAW was enveloped in holistic energy of admiration and tangible appreciation of the kind of political leader that Godwin Obaseki is perceived to be. ENAW members must definitely be aware of the genuine developmental strides and initiatives of the Governor.
And true to his character, Governor Obaseki in reciprocity for the inspiring reception equally proceeded to hold an earnest and honest conversation with the global Edo audience. Instead of generating heat with theatrical rhetoric, Godwin Obaseki with admirable articulation gently shone a light on the endeavors, the vision and the remarkable achievements of the administration that he leads. The governor earnestly and honestly explained to his audience of Edo citizens in Diaspora that his philosophy of political leadership was anchored on the fundamental premise that the ultimate beneficiaries of the economic dividends of the polity must be the mass majority of the people. Consequently, according to the governor, the philosophical and architectural thrust of the educational, agricultural, the infrastructural and industrial revolution that was being evolved and implemented by Edo State Government was mainly aimed at building a new Edo society where the welfare of the people will be qualitatively enhanced.
Devoid of the hubris and arrogance that would have been prevalent in the past presentation of some political leaders with very much fewer achievements, Godwin Obaseki laid out a very clear road map for Edo’s journey to becoming an economic powerhouse in Nigeria’s South-South region. Of great attention among other issues, was the detailed agro-industrial revolution plan and action that was being executed by the state government. In between enthusiastic response of loud and prolonged applause alternated with pin-drop silence from the gripping attention of the audience, Godwin Obaseki reported on the progress of the Gelegele Port as well as the Production center and Industrial Park, the Governor literally and courageously opened his own scorecard for public review and assessment by Edo citizens in the Diaspora.
All the association’s members who were moved by altruistic consideration understandably approved and endorsed the speech delivered by the Governor at the Convention; some of the notable leaders of the association, speaking in their individual capacities, said that they have never been more proud of an Edo State Governor since they commenced attendance of the Convention many years ago.
Very creatively, the governor appealed to the audience that they should seek areas, the productive lists of public endeavours back home, where they could be of assistance to their land of origin.
There is no iota of doubt that the interaction and the special alliance established between the Governor and the historic Edo Worldwide Association during the meeting would serve as an additional catalyst in the galvanization of the progressive socio-economic agenda already being accelerated by Governor Obaseki.