On Saturday, November 12, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki will be sworn in as the elected governor of Edo State. There is no prize guessing that the people of Edo State gave him their mandate based on their conviction that he is the most convincing of those who vied for the office in terms of the plausibility of making good promises made. There is hardly any doubt that the task ahead is onerous. However, there is hope that he can deliver on his promise to evolve a practical economic policy from which the state can further prove that it has all it takes to survive above all economic odds. As part of the team that engineered the long term development masterplan for the state’s economic revolution, he is practically condemned to putting up a sterling development performance beginning from the moment he takes over the rein of office.
In looking up him as a man whose words can be taken as his bond, the people of Edo State are convinced that the governor-elect’s professional capability as an investment expert and his eight year practical experience in governance are not the only qualities that tend to put him in good stead in terms of making good his promises. They are pointing at the earnest manner he commissioned a number of his aides to take an inventory of all the promises he made particularly those coming directly from the people’s demands. That is in addition to the dossier he has of all investable natural resources including where they are domiciled. The implication here is that his administration already has a priority implementation perspective. However, while his commitment is not in doubt whatsoever, he is expected to begin the implementation process with dispatch like a war tested general.
Thankfully, both the outgoing and incoming governors are not only from the same political family without any known record of friction, they are also on the same development page more because the governor-elect operated as a vitally important part of the administration headed by the man he is succeeding. In other words, the governor elect is not coming in as a greenhorn as he knows so much about resources at the disposal of the state, limited as they are. Therefore, it can be argued that he equally understands how feasible and quickly it is for him to deploy them for the needful in line with his promises.
The governor-elect made job creation one of the cardinal promises he will fulfil upon assuming office. At a time unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing the nation, it is obvious that the people agree with him, at least, to the extent that his job creation plan is practically realizable. For them therefore, the time has come for him to walk his talk without any undue delay in the implementation of, for instance, the over 200,000 jobs he promised to create with investments in agro-business. That is perhaps the only way to prove to them that they did not make any mistake in making him the man to succeed the all-conquering Oshiomhole.
Indeed, in making the point that his job creation policy will be driven in the main by investments in agro-business, the governor-elect needs commendation. The reason is not too far to seek because in the light of the ever-dwindling resources from crude oil, the nation’s sole economic mainstay, diversification is imperative. Therefore, since agriculture offers the most viable option for economic recovery or turn-around, it goes without saying that the state must take advantage of its vast potentials in the sector. As it is the case in other areas where he sought their mandate, the people also seem to be in complete agreement with governor-elect, hence they consider, as a foregone conclusion, the need for him to expedite action in terms of its implementation.
As enunciated in his campaigns, mechanizing agriculture is the real investment drive that he must accomplish. The people are eagerly looking up to him in terms of making good his promise of creating large scale farms with mechanized processes that will engage the army of young people currently in search of self-actualization.
While criss-crossing the state during campaigns, the governor- went the extra mile of taking inventory of both the areas that required government attention in terms of infrastructural renewal and what must be done within what time. Obviously, he did this with a view to having requisite knowledge of where his investment drive requires attention in order to deliver on promises made despite prevailing economic realities. For instance, the governor-elect knows so well that the northern part of the state is noted for huge deposit of solid minerals, including limestone, quarry, etc. He is equally aware that besides its innumerable money-spinning tourism potentials, the state is also the home to a huge food and cash crop reservoirs. Albeit so, he must also prove that he knows too well that the people, whose mandate he has, expect him to prove without any undue delay, his ability to inject requisite sustainable economic elixir to banish the nightmare they have gone through in the knowledge that for so long, the state had so much economic rejuvenation potentials in untapped natural resources yet wallows in want. History will be fair to him if, without any undue delay, he sets about enlisting the right investment in all areas concerned.
The governor elect also promised to employ the use of technology to produce the additional leverage for his administration’s job creation policy. Clearly, the driving force here is how effectively he is able to deploy internet broad band. However, a lot of people will be on the look-out, waiting to see how effectively he takes control of the sector’s inherent opportunities and work his way through the relatively novel concept as a job creation tool. The point he must not lose sight of is that the people are eagerly waiting to experience the end result.
In the last eight years, so much has been done in the state in the area of infrastructural renewal. For instance, anyone who is familiar with the state both before Oshiomhole assumed office and now that he is leaving will attest to the fact that from its erstwhile comatose state, remarkable infrastructural development has been put in place. The catch-phrase is that if previous administrations had undertaken any worthwhile urban renewal process for the outgoing administration to build on, the state would have become an infrastructural El Dorado. However, even as much has been done, so much still needs to be done in education, road construction and health sector. The governor elect made as much promises which he is condemned to fulfilling pronto.
For instance, in the education sector where the impressive red roof revolution is well showcased, there is need to re-introduce functionality with technical and vocational trainings. The reason is that unemployment persists mainly because the nation operates an education system that hardly pays any serious attention to specialization. But the need for functionality has become more imperative particularly now that diversification is the key to economic rejuvenation. To achieve any serious breakthrough in the diversification process, there is a more urgent need to create a functional workforce with requisite skills and trainings for emerging jobs. Therefore, the governor elect must fulfil his promise to establish technical schools and other vocational training centres to groom lettered artisans and other technical professionals in readiness for all emerging jobs, including for instance, technical equipment handling. That is in addition to his promise to encourage academic excellence across the state by making scholarship available to indigent but brilliant young people. There is hardly any doubt that this will go a long way in improving his administration’s all round development drive.
Like other sectors, health also received its fair share of attention from the outgoing administration. In addition to cottage hospitals or health centres, it built functional general hospitals in all the state’s 18 local government areas. However, medical tourism remains one of the issues that emerged from the inadequacies in our health system. The result is that more often than not, medical issues that can ordinarily, can be handled within are taken to such places as India. One of its major implications is that it encourages capital flight. The Oshiomhole administration decided to introduce the 5-Star central hospital concept as part of the long term plan to curtail the trend. Necessarily, the edifice, which has the capacity to deal with a number of major medical issues hitherto referred abroad features enough alluring aesthetic splendour capable of attracting the patronage of both local and foreign, financially well-muscled medical tourists. The general expectation is that alongside the need to build more functional and well equipped health facilities for the general public, the governor-elect must endeavour to construct more of such highbrow medical centres in all major cities across the state. Accruing benefits are innumerable.