The Edo State Government has described the viral photos of Governor Godwin Obaseki sleeping during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in the United States of America as the handiwork of mischief makers.
Photos depicting Obaseki napping while President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly delivered his address had gone viral on Wednesday and sent Internet users abuzz.
Pro-government supporters and critics of the governor had also traded blames over the development.
But the government in a statement by the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Strategy said that Obaseki “succumbed to fatigue” due to his “rare work culture” and the long flight he had to endure subsequently.
It explained, “The disparagers have populated the internet with photographs of the governor when he momentarily succumbed to fatigue after a long flight, preceded by a chaotic itinerary in Edo State before heading to New York for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, in the United States of America.
“The idle hands and mischievous minds behind the smear campaign against governor Obaseki are clearly not people to be taken seriously. Despite Governor Obaseki’s rare work culture, unmatched by his peers, we have never portrayed him as a machine.
“He can experience fatigue and exhaustion, an indisputable fact of life, to which all humans are susceptible.”
The government further stated that the development was not new as many political leaders had also experienced similar situations.
It said, “The internet is awash with photographs of outstanding world leaders who have at one time or the other yielded to fatigue at meetings.
“The list includes the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe; former United States President, Barack Obama; his Economic Adviser, Larry Summers; Pope Benedict XVI; former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown; former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi and the former Austrian President, Heinze Fischer, amongst others.
“Those who are familiar with the daily work schedule of Governor Godwin Obaseki have attested to his rare and unique work ethics, devoid of fanfare and trivialities.”
Explaining further, it said that the governor had attended a long stretch of official events between September 21 to 23 before leaving for the UN meeting.
The statement added, “The governor’s activities in the days before his trip to New York give insight into his attitude to work and governance, and followed similar crowded itinerary, in China, where he sealed final investment agreements on the development of the Benin Industrial Park, the Benin River Port and the Modular Refinery project few days before.”