New Year: Obaseki felicitates Edo people, pledges to sustain reforms in civil service, education, infrastructure, culture, others

31 Dec 2022

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has felicitated with Edo people on the New Year, pledging that his administration will, in the New Year, sustain ongoing reforms and projects across various sectors of the state’s economy, aimed at improving the livelihoods of the people and achieving economic prosperity for the state. Obaseki, in his New Year message, hailed the dogged and indefatigable spirit of Edo people, who in the face of daunting difficulties continue to slug it out daily in the rain and in the sun to earn a living for their families.

He said, “I am delighted to celebrate this New Year with you, my dear good people of Edo State. The outgone year 2022 came with a lot of promises but also had major challenges. The economic difficulties, insecurity and political upheavals in Nigeria and globally caused great disruptions that continue to reverberate.

“But despite it all, we are grateful to God Almighty for sparing us and giving us the wisdom and wherewithal to see the end of the year and the beginning of a new dawn. “With all that has happened in the last year, I am inspired by the dogged and indefatigable spirit of our people, who in the face of daunting difficulties continue to slug it out daily in the rain and in the sun to earn a living for their families.”

The governor continued: “In the last six years, we have vigorously pursued a plan of restoring Edo to its lost glory and providing improved living conditions for our people and I can confidently say, my dear good people of Edo State, that we have begun to see the results of the foundation we have laid.

“The growing global tensions, disruptions in the world’s economy, coupled with the mis-management of our national economy has had a dire impact on the fiscal position of sub-nationals and the personal finances of citizens. As a result, Nigerians are faced with galloping inflation, volatile exchange rates and increased insecurity all of which have exacerbated the living condition particularly of the poor in our country.   “In spite of these national challenges, in Edo State, we have been able to engender economic growth and are making decent efforts to improve the quality of life of our people. We have spent ample time laying the foundation for our economic resurgence and with our far-reaching reforms, we have ensured that we are in a better position to confront the challenges that lie ahead.”

Obaseki further noted, “Some of the efforts include increasing minimum wage to N40,000 (the highest in the country), regular payment of salaries and pension, improving the work environment, introducing technology to improve efficiency and easing the work process to ensure better service delivery to citizens.

“We have also been intentional about expanding our economic base by deliberately creating the enabling environment for business to thrive and attract investments into Edo State, as a haven for investment. Through this, we are transitioning Edo from a civil service dominated State to one which is attracting manufacturing, commercial agricultural concerns, service and technology companies, real estate and several SMEs, among others.

“Through a mix of reforms in revenue collection and land management, we have curtailed the excesses of non-state actors, who had hitherto caused untold hardship for the people. We have cleared touts from our roads and are fighting land-grabbers so that there is sanity in public places as well as transparency and certainty in land transactions.”

Pledging to sustain ongoing reforms and programmes across various sectors of the state’s economy, the governor stated, "In the new year, we will continue the reforms of the civil and public service, improving work conditions and training workers to perform better. We are computerizing and digitizing the government and implementing e-government, which will hopefully make me the last governor to operate a manual public service in Edo State.

“Through the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST 2.0) reforms, we are disarticulating Junior from Senior secondary schools and improving their curriculum and pedagogy in line with the success achieved in EDOBEST 1.0. To ensure a viable and productive youth-led economy, we will be advancing more pragmatic reforms to make Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) schools better, as we intend to refurbish and open more of such schools across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State.

“This year we will continue our emphasis in building the capacity of our young population to find quality jobs in areas like Agriculture, Health services and technology. Hence The Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi will take in its first set of students before September this year, while the Edo State School of Health Technology will be rebuilt to meet global standards just like we did with our School of Nursing Sciences.

“Quite a number of jobs are currently being created from several opportunities in the State’s agricultural sector such as the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), our cassava to ethanol initiatives, Forestry plantations and also in poultry production. These and many more areas will contribute significantly to our Gross Domestic Product. “Towards the end of 2022, we switched-on a number of streetlight projects across major roads in Benin City metropolis. This was made possible by the extension of the off-grid power distributed by the 95MW Ossiomo Power Company. In the new year, more communities would be connected to this power source to boost industrialization and support businesses. We also expect that improved relations with the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) will lead to better power supply from the public power dealer.

“We are grateful to God Almighty that we are enjoying another incident-free Yuletide just as we did last year. The improved security in the state has been made possible largely because of the collaboration between federal and local security agencies and operatives.”

According to him, “With the Police Training School, in Ogida and the Forward Operating Base FOB being built for the Nigerian Army at Ehor, we will train our State Security Network and accommodate soldiers that will defend our forest assets and also protect our highways, such as the Benin-Auchi Expressway.

“The preparation of the Edo State 30-year development plan, Benin Urban Plan and Edo Regional Plans are progressing well. I implore citizens to co-operate with the enumerators who we are sending out to obtain the information and data, which we require to finalize these master plans. We have also set up a New Town Development Agency to plan and layout several new towns across the state. In all of these projects, there will be extensive stakeholder consultations and engagements.

“The launch of the tourism master plan has been well received by industry players and we are indeed impressed with the coming of big-ticket investors in the creative and entertainment sectors in the state. The construction of the Benin Cultural District, which is an integral part of the tourism masterplan, has commenced. We have secured the support of international partners for the cultural district and archeological work, which will make Edo a key site for global culture and tourism in the new year and beyond.

“We are currently rolling out the Edo Resident Identity Card, which will provide data of citizens to make it easier for the government to plan and provide Services across the state. With the card which is linked to the National Identity Card, not only will we have data on residents and their core demographics, we will also be able to fast track delivery of programmes across health, education and other social services to the people.

“This new year is an election year, when we will go to the polls for the general elections to elect a new president and legislators into our national and state assemblies to superintend the affairs of our nation for another four years. It is a watershed moment because of the reverberating impact of the election on our lives as individuals and as a people particularly at this time in our nation. It is for this purpose that I charge everyone to conduct themselves orderly and peacefully as you cast your vote for your desired candidate(s).”

He added, “As I end my New Year Speech, I wish to make a passionate appeal to my dear citizens of Edo State. Our priority project this year is to CLEAN and GREEN Edo. In order to make our state more attractive and to stem the serious environmental challenges such as deforestation and erosion, we will be reeling out policies, regulations and legislations to ensure that every citizen and household in Edo State participates in cleaning and greening our dear state.”

“I am indeed grateful to all Edo people, at home and in the Diaspora, for the unflinching support and faith in our government and the abiding trust in our policies, reforms and programmes to make the Edo State great again. In this new year, I restate my commitment to work for the interest of the majority, and not the few in Edo State, at all times and to the best of my ability.

“I heartily appreciate the Federal Government and our development partners who continue to stand by us. We are grateful to His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin and the traditional institution; the judiciary; the legislature; the media and civil society; the organised private sector; our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, the public servants; students; farmers; market women and artisans, amongst others.

“As we begin a new year, I urge you to join hands with government in the development of your communities and play your part in Making Edo Great Again. Long live Edo State. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2023.”

2023 NEW YEAR MESSAGE BY THE EDO STATE GOVERNOR, HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR GODWIN OBASEKI

I am delighted to celebrate this New Year with you, my dear good people of Edo State. The outgone year 2022 came with a lot of promises but also had major challenges. The economic difficulties, insecurity and political upheavals in Nigeria and globally caused great disruptions that continue to reverberate.

But despite it all, we are grateful to God Almighty for sparing us and giving us the wisdom and wherewithal to see the end of the year and the beginning of a new dawn.

With all that has happened in the last year, I am inspired by the dogged and indefatigable spirit of our people, who in the face of daunting difficulties continue to slug it out daily in the rain and in the sun to earn a living for their families.

In the last six years, we have vigorously pursued a plan of restoring Edo to its lost glory and providing improved living conditions for our people and I can confidently say, my dear good people of Edo State, that we have begun to see the results of the foundation we have laid.

The growing global tensions, disruptions in the world’s economy, coupled with the mis-management of our national economy has had a dire impact on the fiscal position of sub-nationals and the personal finances of citizens. As a result, Nigerians are faced with galloping inflation, volatile exchange rates and increased insecurity all of which have exacerbated the living condition particularly of the poor in our country.  

In spite of these national challenges, in Edo State, we have been able to engender economic growth and are making decent efforts to improve the quality of life of our people. We have spent ample time laying the foundation for our economic resurgence and with our far-reaching reforms, we have ensured that we are in a better position to confront the challenges that lie ahead.

Some of the efforts include increasing minimum wage to N40,000 (the highest in the country), regular payment of salaries and pension, improving the work environment, introducing technology to improve efficiency and easing the work process to ensure better service delivery to citizens.

We have also been intentional about expanding our economic base by deliberately creating the enabling environment for business to thrive and attract investments into Edo State, as a haven for investment. Through this, we are transitioning Edo from a civil service dominated State to one which is attracting manufacturing, commercial agricultural concerns, service and technology companies, real estate and several SMEs, among others.

Through a mix of reforms in revenue collection and land management, we have curtailed the excesses of non-state actors, who had hitherto caused untold hardship for the people. We have cleared touts from our roads and are fighting land-grabbers so that there is sanity in public places as well as transparency and certainty in land transactions.

In the new year, we will continue the reforms of the civil and public service, improving work conditions and training workers to perform better. We are computerizing and digitizing the government and implementing e-government, which will hopefully make me the last governor to operate a manual public service in Edo State.

Through the Edo State Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST 2.0) reforms, we are disarticulating Junior from Senior secondary schools and improving their curriculum and pedagogy in line with the success achieved in EDOBEST 1.0. To ensure a viable and productive youth-led economy, we will be advancing more pragmatic reforms to make Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) schools better, as we intend to refurbish and open more of such schools across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State.

This year we will continue our emphasis in building the capacity of our young population to find quality jobs in areas like Agriculture, Health services and technology. Hence The Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi will take in its first set of students before September this year, while the Edo State School of Health Technology will be rebuilt to meet global standards just like we did with our School of Nursing Sciences.

Quite a number of jobs are currently being created from several opportunities in the State’s agricultural sector such as the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), our cassava to ethanol initiatives, Forestry plantations and also in poultry production. These and many more areas will contribute significantly to our Gross Domestic Product.

Towards the end of 2022, we switched-on a number of streetlight projects across major roads in Benin City metropolis. This was made possible by the extension of the off-grid power distributed by the 95MW Ossiomo Power Company. In the new year, more communities would be connected to this power source to boost industrialization and support businesses. We also expect that improved relations with the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) will lead to better power supply from the public power dealer.

We are grateful to God Almighty that we are enjoying another incident-free Yuletide just as we did last year. The improved security in the state has been made possible largely because of the collaboration between federal and local security agencies and operatives.

With the Police Training School, in Ogida and the Forward Operating Base FOB being built for the Nigerian Army at Ehor, we will train our State Security Network and accommodate soldiers that will defend our forest assets and also protect our highways, such as the Benin-Auchi Expressway.

The preparation of the Edo State 30-year development plan, Benin Urban Plan and Edo Regional Plans are progressing well. I implore citizens to co-operate with the enumerators who we are sending out to obtain the information and data, which we require to finalize these master plans. We have also set up a New Town Development Agency to plan and layout several new towns across the state. In all of these projects, there will be extensive stakeholder consultations and engagements.

The launch of the tourism masterplan has been well received by industry players and we are indeed impressed with the coming of big-ticket investors in the creative and entertainment sectors in the state. The construction of the Benin Cultural District, which is an integral part of the tourism masterplan, has commenced. We have secured the support of international partners for the cultural district and archeological work, which will make Edo a key site for global culture and tourism in the new year and beyond.

We are currently rolling out the Edo Resident Identity Card, which will provide data of citizens to make it easier for the government to plan and provide Services across the state. With the card which is linked to the National Identity Card, not only will we have data on residents and their core demographics, we will also be able to fast track delivery of programmes across health, education and other social services to the people.

This new year is an election year, when we will go to the polls for the general elections to elect a new president and legislators into our national and state assemblies to superintend the affairs of our nation for another four years. It is a watershed moment because of the reverberating impact of the election on our lives as individuals and as a people particularly at this time in our nation. It is for this purpose that I charge everyone to conduct themselves orderly and peacefully as you cast your vote for your desired candidate(s).

As I end my New Year Speech, I wish to make a passionate appeal to my dear citizens of Edo State. Our priority project this year is to CLEAN and GREEN Edo. In order to make our state more attractive and to stem the serious environmental challenges such as deforestation and erosion, we will be reeling out policies, regulations and legislations to ensure that every citizen and household in Edo State participates in cleaning and greening our dear state.

I am indeed grateful to all Edo people, at home and in the Diaspora, for the unflinching support and faith in our government and the abiding trust in our policies, reforms and programmes to make the Edo State great again. In this new year, I restate my commitment to work for the interest of the majority, and not the few in Edo State, at all times and to the best of my ability.  

I heartily appreciate the Federal Government and our development partners who continue to stand by us. We are grateful to His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin and the traditional institution; the judiciary; the legislature; the media and civil society; the organised private sector; our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, the public servants; students; farmers; market women and artisans, amongst others.

As we begin a new year, I urge you to join hands with government in the development of your communities and play your part in Making Edo Great Again.

Long live Edo State. 

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2023.