Obaseki on course in Edo, says Williams
•Former varsity don urges Edo governor to set up exco
Eminent scholar Prof. Adebayo Williams yesterday appraised the first 100 days of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, saying that his administration was on course.
He described the governor as a hardworking, dynamic, courageous and self-effacing administrator, whose policies and programmes have connected with the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the people.
Noting that the story of Edo under Obaseki is unfolding, the former university don, who hailed his remarkable feats in the last three months, said: “At the end of his tenure, Edo will become an economic and technological hub.”
However, the renowned essayist advised the governor to quickly set up his cabinet to enable him tap from the talents and experience of commissioners and advisers.
He added that the governor “cannot single-handedly run” the state.
Williams spoke in Lagos at a colloquium organised by the Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa with the theme: ‘Tracking Governor Godwin Obaseki’s 100 days in office.”
The guest speaker and Editorial Page Editor of The Nation, Mr. Sanya Oni, hailed the governor’s programmes on economic diversification, job creation, power and executive time management.
An important highlight of the event was the video presentation of Obaseki’s 100 days.
The achievements highlighted included road rehabilitation, the setting up of the Gele-gele seaport Committee and the agricultural committee, the ban on illegal taxation by touts, fiscal discipline, the Bill for Pension Scheme, the signing of power purchase agreement and increased funding for technical education.
Others include school renovation, the resuscitation of farm settlements, transparency and accountability.
Williams, who chaired the lecture, noted that he had delivered the valedictory lecture in honour of Obaseki’s predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who he described as a “warrior politician,” who laid a solid foundation for him to build upon.
He said: “Oshiomhole is a warrior politician. He was the John the Baptist, who made it possible for Obaseki to be doing what he is doing today. He fought godfatherism and other challenges. All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is also a warrior politician and made it possible for former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to practise politics of anti-politics to connect with the people.”
Williams praised Obaseki for running a focused government devoid of scandals, stressing that he has thrown away the racketeers and concentrated on service delivery.
He added: “People have great expectations about the governor. Obaseki is a good governor and a man of promise. I can bet that a lot more will be heard about the energetic, promising and self-effacing man. Judging by the way he has taken the bull by the horn, Edo will be an epic centre of good governance and economic prosperity.
“Edo is a product of a glorious empire, the Benin Empire. When the Portuguese visited Benin, they were shocked by its level of advancement. It was socially and culturally ahead of Lisbon, the capital. Benin had well-paved streets, an ancient form of electricity and it was painted. It was an empire on the way to modernity before it was stopped by the invasion and later, it collapsed.
“Benin was a remarkably rich empire. What the British stole from the city pointed to its greatness and wealth. Governor Obaseki is a hardworking governor with a vision and innovation to take the state to modernity, not regressing it to primitiveness. What is this quiet and self-effacing man doing in politics? He is going against the grain of normal politics. Obaseki is impacting on the life of the people.”
Oni, an economic expert, said Obaseki has a fresh economic direction, instead of the peculiar tradition of dependence on the federal allocation that depended on elusive oil earnings.
He noted that Obaseki’s 100 days in office might define the character of his administration, adding that he started well by reducing the massive wastage of executive time allocated to useless meetings and appointments that have no bearing on good governance.
Oni applauded the emphasis on technical education in Edo State, explaining that increased funding for vocational education would reduced the number of unemployable youths and enable them to acquire skills that would make them get jobs in the technical areas.
The coalition’s Country Director, Mr. Jude Gadimoh, said: “Our peer review mechanism in assessing the states in the country makes it expedient on us as a group to challenge the Edo State government to showcase what they have done so far as Lagos State developed that culture of reviewing herself every 100 days, especially during the government of Babatunde Fashola. That kind of review mechanism helps a government to quickly respond and correct areas of lapses within its operations.”