With Governor-elect Godwin Obaseki, Edo State can only get better. In recent time, there have been lots of hues and cries about the course Edo is charting under the leadership of Mr.Godwin Obaseki as the governor of the state. While some analysts and commentators have been quite understanding and considerate, some others have passed damning verdicts on the administration.
Indeed, many have gone short of arguing that the governor-elect doesn’t possess what it requires to steer the ship of the Heartbeat of Nigeria to meet the yearnings and expectations of the people. My evaluation of these scenarios is that most commentators have been rather harsh and unfair instead of sharing an understanding of the perception of the new Edo helmsman on governance. The fact that Oshiomhole adopted stern postures and measures in his approach to governance does not mean that is what must obtain forever, and that subsequent administrations must toe the same path.
Oshiomhole surely had his reasons for adopting stern measures as a shock therapy to stem the rate of recklessness and lawless in the public space. Fine, his approach yielded impressive outcomes. However, tough measures are only used on the short term to drive a consciousness that would make the people embrace a culture of order and decency. It has to be phased out overtime.
I want to assure Nigerians and the global community that Edo State is being managed by credible personalities that will move it to the next level. I want to calm the citizens of Nigeria that with Obaseki as the Governor, Edo State is in good and capable hands. Come November 12th, Edo state remains in good hands with Godwin Obaseki as Governor. Obaseki as a visionary and people-oriented leader with committed mind for the development of the state, a nodal state in the south-south. Mr.Godwin Obaseki the governor-elect once told Governor Oshiomhole to take upon himself some ambitiously near impossible tasks and turned them around. Edo roads and Edo Water Storm project are obvious examples. It is very credible evidence that the state is a viable centre for global investment hub. Obaseki is instrumental to the setting up of many projects including the 450MW Azura-Edo gas power project and other projects. Mr Godwin Obaseki, the governor-elect has promised to create more than 200,000 jobs, as governor. Obaseki made this pledge at the launching of his campaign at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin. He said the focus of his administration, if elected, would be job creation, entrepreneurship and industrialisation. Obaseki explained that most of the jobs would be created through agriculture, mining and skills acquisition, adding that agriculture would be moved from subsistence to commercial agriculture. He further pledged that his administration would make Edo the agriculture hub of the country. With this vision, Edo state remains in good hands with Godwin Obaseki as Governor.
Obaseki believes in a comprehensive reform of the Solid Minerals sector which is a key driver of the development of Nigeria’s mineral resources and economic growth. Solid Mineral development in Edo State will, in particular, contribute greatly to our development by generating foreign direct investment, export earnings, government revenues (through royalties, taxes, licenses and fees), GDP growth, employment and diversification of our economy from dependence on oil. Professionally, Mr. Obaseki has served on the Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigerian Pension System. He also served on the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission Committee on the Re-activation of the Nigerian Bond Market and the review of the Investment and Securities Act.
He served as a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Council between 2006 and 2009. He also serves on the board of Dorman Long Engineering Limited, Pillar Oil Limited, KCA Deutag Nigeria Limited, Seric Impianti International Limited and Paelon Memorial Clinic. The state will be in safe political hands in which politicians will play their role, the executive and legislature will play their roles side by side. Obaseki has campaigned round the state and everywhere he went, he presented his programme.
Here is Edo State governor-elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s manifesto for the people of Edo state. The manifesto is tagged: “Achieving Economic prosperity for Edo State is our mission”
– Job Creation – Create over 200,000 new jobs in 4 years through:
– Industry and Infrastructure
Within the first year in office, we will restructure and resolve all outstanding debt obligations with Bendel Brewery, Edo Line and any other State Owned Enterprise.
We will attract private capital into all State Owned Enterprises under privatisation
We will also conclude ongoing efforts to complete and commission industries initiated by the PDP government but abandoned before commissioning including Uromi Cassava Factory and Fertilizer Factory in Auchi
– Infrastructure (Roads, Schools, Hospitals, Housing)
We will extend road networks to connect new areas not previously linked with the road infrastructure grid to facilitate the movement of people and produce to markets;
We will identify the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the state and those at the greatest risk of flooding and channel resources into building necessary infrastructure to cater for their needs;
We will also determine the most accident-prone areas and provide adequate safety and traffic management solutions.
In pursuit of our collective desire to develop a competitive knowledge economy, we will introduce the development of Broadband infrastructure into our road infrastructure and transportation network to build a more virile and mobile business and learning environment;
We will redevelop the Ikpoba River valley projects not only to generate electricity but also as a source of water supply for industrial and domestic user.
– Women and Youth Empowerment
We will provide the enabling environment for women to achieve their highest potential by taking our initiative beyond the phase of empowering women to empowering society as a whole through the women-in-business.
Our plans to invest in our 8 Technical Vocational Education and Training institutions will create direct jobs for our youth through skills in Engineering, Building Technology, Agriculture, Food Sciences, Hospitality under entrepreneurship schemes or industry employment.
We will support at least 20,000 entrepreneurs over the next 4 years to stimulate the economy through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development creating no less than 50,000 additional jobs;
– Human Basic Needs – Salaries and Pensions
Healthcare infrastructure will receive a boost by focusing government financing at the Primary Healthcare level across the state and, where there is the business case, a mix of public and private capital at the tertiary levels;
Visual and dental health will be integrated into the healthcare policy and master plan
– Access to Education
We will complete the renovation of school infrastructure already commenced and introduce a continuous maintenance culture to ensure the sustainability of the education infrastructure;
the Civil Service into a world-class work environment powered by information and communication Technology (ICT)
– Revenue Generation
Taxation is a major source of government revenue but we will ensure a pocket friendly tax regime in our drive for Internally Generated Revenues (IGR)
Security (Law, Order and Justice)
We will strengthen the Criminal Justice System to expedite the interpretation of laws, determination of disputes, restitution for victims and punishment of offenders. This includes the re-introduction of mobile and assize courts to expedite dispensation of justice and reduce the strain on our courts of superior record;
We will support the police and other state-sponsored agents in various capacities including the infrastructure that supports them in the work they do.
– Restore socio-cultural values
We will restore Edo State as the Number One state in sports in Nigeria, especially in football where we once held sway as a talent ground
I trust that as an astute, God-fearing politician, our Governor-elect will keep faith with his pledge including the creation of 200,000 jobs. The strategic role Godwin Obaseki has played in the economic development of Edo State, especially in his capacity as Chairman of the Economic and Strategy Team, a position which he has held since 2009, have yielded desirable outcomes for the state notably in the areas of infrastructure development, investment and financial administration. He also brings a wealth of technical knowledge and experience to the planning and execution of key projects and initiatives.
In 2008, a large proportion of Edo roads remained in very poor conditions with only 1 per cent of Edo roads in good condition. Out of over 50,000 kilometers of secondary and tertiary roads, with an average registered network of 400 kilometers per local government, only about 10 to 15 per cent was paved. It is sad to note that rural roads which are statutorily referred to as local government roads, which constitute about 40,000 kilometres (87.7 per cent) of the entire road networks in Edo, were the worst hit by this state of disrepair before Oshiomhole became governor of Edo State.
Some paved roads had lost their asphalt surface and reverted to being gravel roads. Some of the road systems were barely usable, especially in the high rainfall areas of the south senatorial district. Obaseki told Oshiomhole that if Edo people should start raining curses on the condition of Edo roads especially before 2009 over the loss of lives and properties on a regular basis, witches and wizards would definitely key in to support the curses. And that the curses will be justified from generation to generation.
Governor Oshiomhole was a loyal labour leader for some years in Nigeria. The way he tolerated and managed the frustration of the Nigerian workers became strength of his political zeal, and building of followership by the masses of Edo State. In Edo State, the performance of Governor Oshiomhole in the past 8 years remains a template of success many progressive administrations shall emulate. Governor Oshiomhole introduced a concept of bottom-up strategy of development that opened up rural areas through interconnectivity of roads. He adequately provided potable and clean water as well as electricity to the rural areas. Farmers have been empowered through needed input, equipment and cash. The effort resulted in increased food production for local consumption and sale of surplus produce. Farming is the strength of the Edo. Governor Oshimhole exploited this opportunity maximally. The youth population was empowered through resuscitated educational infrastructure, construction of new ones with provision of teaching and learning material, and institution of motivational dynamics which stimulated tremendous increase in school enrolment of boys and girls.
Today, the Model for development is comprehensive and encompasses the full complement of the road infrastructure including walkways, side drains, pavements, green areas, green median for the dualized roads and street lights. These are innovations that have dramatically changed the landscape of Benin City as State Capital and other major towns in the State. Considering the public apprehension at that time, the bullish courage and the massive energy that attended the reconstruction and dualization of Airport Road, it will not be out of place to describe it as one of the star projects.
There is no doubt in our minds that this government has achieved its primary purpose; that of restoring confidence and hope in governance and demonstrating that it is possible to develop Edo State. A workable template for the development of the State has been clearly established and the delivery of new and modern infrastructures has resulted from it across the State for all to see. As things stand, nobody will come to Edo State without noticing the ubiquity of road projects and the revolutionary accomplishment in the sector. Edo state has now successfully emerged from the insular backwater in which she had hitherto wallowed.
This success story will forever be celebrated by all, home and abroad. The need to continue this success story leaves us with no other choice than to swear in the Governor-elect Godwin Obaseki as Governor on November 12. Godwin Obaseki has strong grasp of the state’s issues and his immense contribution in raising the revenue profile of the state and effectively managing scarce resources to ensure that projects are executed and salaries paid promptly, have helped to lay a solid foundation for the economic empowerment and development of Edo State, and expressed a desire for continuity in the implementation, monitoring and completion of key projects in the state. Edo is in safe hands as Obaseki is be sworn-in as Governor.