My dear good people of Edo State, as we celebrate the gift of a new year, I felicitate with everyone, both at home and in the diaspora.
We cannot thank God Almighty enough for his grace to have withstood the uncertainties and challenges of the last 12 months.
The presidential elections tested the foundations of our democracy, while the very difficult and precarious economic situation tested our resilience as a people.
In all of these challenges, which we have had to endure, we are glad that Edo state continues to make progress in our journey towards a better society.
As a government, we have not been oblivious of the difficulties and sufferings faced by many of our citizens.
We have within the limits of our resources provided palliatives to cushion the effects of these hardships.
These include provision of food items to the most disadvantaged citizens in our social register; providing free public bus services within Benin City and between major cities in the state; payment of 13-month salary to workers and pensioners and the provision of free Wi-Fi in public spaces among other measures.
The state health insurance scheme reached almost 200,000 enrollees, thus further strengthening our healthcare system.
As a result of the financing and quality control provided by the Health Insurance Scheme, we continue to improve the quality of our primary health care footprints and work is also progressing on our secondary health care facilities in Benin City and Auchi while work will commence in Uromi in the year 2024.
We opened up more job centers to train and assist young people to obtain jobs while we sustained the enabling environment for private businesses to grow.
By issuing C of Os and land titles expeditiously, many more citizens were able to have collaterals with which to obtain credit.
For most of 2023, Edo state remained relatively safe. However, in the last few days we have witnessed cult related killings.
The Government of Edo state will not tolerate any acts that can breach the security which the state currently enjoys.
Working with the office of the Inspector General of Police, we have commenced investigation, arrest and prosecution of sponsors and those who mastermind cult-related killings.
We are committed to building on the gains made these past years. We are also taking advantage of the dry season to assist the Federal government to repair its extensive network of roads in Edo State before the next rainy season.
I acknowledge the resilience, doggedness, perseverance, and indefatigable spirit of our citizens who, in the face of daunting difficulties, continue to slug it out daily to earn a living, especially amid the current harsh economic realities in our country.
I want to specially thank Edo people for the trust, confidence and encouragement which you continue to show us over the last seven years.
Things may be difficult at this time, but as you already know, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
Through the centuries Edo people have always prevailed over their environment and difficult situations. This time it will not be different.
2024 is another election year in the State. While we must be deliberate in making our choices during the polls in support of the progress we have so far recorded, we should seek for a governor who is ready to sacrifice for the common good of Edo and Nigeria, and persons who have the skills, knowledge and experience to formulate and implement good policies that will move Edo Forward.
I urge everyone particularly the political actors to ensure that they go about their activities in a peaceful and cordial manner.
As we enter into the New Year, I urge you to reignite that undying spirit of resilience with vigor and hope and continue to pray for the unity, progress, and prosperity of our dear State and nation.
Once again, I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2024.
His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, Governor, Edo State