The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Saturday, met with the Edo Diaspora community in Germany, reeling out gains from the government’s investments in agriculture, technology, education and healthcare, among other sectors.
Obaseki, while highlighting opportunities for investment in the state, said his government will sustain reforms and programmes to make Edo a modern and progressive state where every citizen is empowered with the opportunity to live life to its fullest.
The meeting, which was held physically in Berlin, Germany, and virtually via Zoom, was attended by leaders of Edo organisations in Germany as well as those of civil society groups dealing with cultural and migration issues, among others.
The governor said his government is taking advantage of the state’s arable land, warm temperature, and transit location and focusing on culture, forestry, technology and manufacturing while paying critical attention to infrastructure development, economic revolution, institutional reforms, social welfare, and enhancing safety and security.
Noting that the state was in need of strong institutions to sustain the government’s reforms across all sectors of the state’s economy, Obaseki noted “Germany is progressive today because they have a system and structure that works. We are deemphasizing strong men and individuals and strengthening our institutions because people will come and go but institutions will remain.”
He continued: “We are focusing on infrastructure and connecting Edo roads. We are doing so much in terms of road construction to open up more areas to economic activities and will continue to build more roads, ensuring improved livelihoods for our people.
“A key infrastructure that we are focusing on is electricity and we are lucky that we have gas, and are focusing on distributable power. We are promulgating a law that allows the state to generate and distribute power. Already, we have a bill in the Edo State House of Assembly in this regard.
“We have also signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Ossiomo Power Company to provide stable power to government institutions and also drive the state’s industrial sector. Today, the company generates 95MW out of 550MW it has set out to provide, supported with a distribution infrastructure that has been developed to supply government offices, streetlights, and the state’s growing industrial sector with constant electricity.”
On reforms in the education sector, the governor said, “One of the problems we had as a state was the quality of education. When we came into power, illegal migration was at its peak and no one was talking about it, and our people couldn’t travel because of the stigma but today Edo is no longer on the top chart of illegal migrants.
“We solved the problem by tackling the root cause of the problem, which was the poor educational system. What we did in the system is globally considered as the largest educational reform, particularly at the basic education level in Africa. We are now rethinking the entire education system and we now have the EdoBEST 2.0 to sustain the progress recorded with the pilot programme.
“Like Germany, we are deemphasizing degrees and emphasizing vocation. We are ensuring that every child that leaves our education system has a handiwork. The state government is working assiduously with GIZ and other partners to strengthen our vocational system, ensuring that we get expatriates and other professionals to train our children. We are calling you to join us and help strengthen our technical and vocational education.”
Obaseki further noted, “For us, technology is the future; we want to be the Silicon Valley of Nigeria. We are partnering with private investors and other stakeholders to train young people in software development and other soft skills so as to be able to survive in a tech-driven society
“We now have the Edo Tech Park and we have trained the third cohort of software engineers who are today being paid in dollars in Benin, the Edo State capital.”
“Our strongest asset is our Diaspora community. This is the first in the series of engagements. We will sustain this partnership with you to ensure that we achieve our vision of making Edo great again,” the governor charged.