The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday reassured that only competent persons with character and proven integrity would be elected as chairmen and councilors in the forthcoming local government election in the state.
The governor, who promised not to allow godfatherism to thrive again in the state, stressed that the country’s electoral process strongly affects the system of governance.
Obaseki said this when he declared open a one-day workshop on “Igniting the Economic Development and Viability of Local Government Areas in Edo,” held at the Staff Training Centre, Benin City.
According to the governor, “The process of elections itself affects the nature of governance; the way I have been elected is definitely going to affect the way we are going to govern Edo.”
He continued: “I realized that the reason people voted for us as a government is because of hope; given the track record we had, they felt that if we are allowed to continue, we will do more for them.
“The parents of almost 300,000 children that we have in our basic school system know that they will lose something if we lost the election; they knew that if there was a change in government there will be no more Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EDO-BEST) programme.
“So, they came out because they had a stake. As governor, I have no choice but to continue with the EdoBEST programme and improve on it, which was one of the reasons I was given an opportunity to serve. It was not one godfather that made it happen.
“I am not beholden to godfathers but to Edo people. That is the same thing we must do with the local government elections; it has to be the people that are sending you there,” he added.
Obaseki further noted: “When you get there, your first obligation is to serve the people, not any godfather; once they realize that you are serving them, even when you don’t have all the resources, they are more sympathetic; they will trust and believe you and continue to support you.
“The local government doesn’t have enough but with the little available, we have been able to convince them that we are using it for their own good. The local government is the first point of interaction with the government and democracy.
“The level of corruption in our system doesn’t allow us to work as we should; let us tell ourselves the truth. Lobbying for contracts when you are not a contractor further spreads the funds meant for projects execution into the wrong hands.”
“We have to fix things up, as nobody is going to help us fix it; the good thing is that we can fix it. Godfatherism would not be allowed in the forthcoming local government election in the state, as only people with proven integrity would be elected as chairman and councilors in our local government,” Obaseki added.
On his part, the guest speaker, Mr. Igbinidu Inneh, said that it was important to review the sources of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from the local governments to make it more viable to meet the needs of the people.
“We need to invest in data gathering because without data you don’t have information that will translate to increase revenues. We should also aggregate small businesses at the local government level so that we can unlock the potentials in them and create better access to the market,” he added.