EDO 2016: Edo is work in progress we cannot afford to derail it, says Obaseki.
By: Endurance Ihungbe Oboite
BENIN: The Chairman, Edo State Economic and Strategy Team and a foremost governorship aspirant in the state Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki has said that, Edo state is work in progress and at the most delicate part of her journey which cannot afford any reversals or slow down on the pace of achievements she has recorded thus far.
He made the statement on Friday 13th May, 2016 at Urhokpota hall, kingsquare during his formal declaration of intent to run for governor of Edo State on the platform of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
While thanking God Almighty for making the event possible, he urged fellow compatriot of his party which included members of the State Executive Council of Edo State Government, members of the Edo State House of Assembly of APC extraction, party leaders, members and delegates from the three senatorial districts of the state whom were all in attendance at the event, to rally round him and support him to clinch the party’s flag in the scheduled primary of the party coming up on the 18th of June, 2016 so that his dream of taking Edo to a more greater height can be realize.
According to him “The knowledge I have garnered in the last 7 and half years puts me in a unique position to understand what is required to take Edo State to the next level. After 7 and half years in the policy cockpit of Edo State, I believe I can fly Edo State higher. What Edo needs today is a leader who in addition to political sagacity, has the managerial and intellectual experience to manage the State of Affairs in the difficult and precarious situation we find ourselves. It would be a sin against God and my people to walk away from Edo State with all the knowledge and understanding I have gathered over the last 7 and a half years. It would be unpatriotic not to stand up to be counted because as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, only the tough get going”.
He reminded Edo people of the state of affairs of the State before the Comrade Governor took over and where we are today. In the address delivered by him, he said, a lot still needs to be done and that the policy plan and frame work to achieve it was already in place.
“The resources and opportunities squandered in the first eight to ten years of the on-going democratic experiment were so inexcusable that members of Edo Unions and Associations in Lagos and abroad began to feel challenged to contribute their expertise directly to the process of governance. Thus, the opportunity came for me to offer service to my State and my people when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, upon successful completion of his tenure as NLC President, decided to contest the governorship election in 2006. Since 2006, from the background, I have supported the renewed efforts to rebuild and reconstruct our Edo State, which was vandalized and almost dislocated by previous administrations. By the Grace of God, I have held the invisible and hitherto, little known position of the Chairman of the Economic and Strategy Team of Edo State Government for the past seven years and half years supporting the effective leadership of the Comrade Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole.
This is a position I have held without salary or compensation. This role has allowed me to understand the challenges facing Edo State and it has also given me the opportunity to serve and contribute to the development of our beloved State. As many of you would recall, the Administration of Comrade Oshiomhole inherited a State which had been made comatose by a decade of mismanagement, bad policies, failed promises, ruined infrastructure and hopelessness. From this severe position of underdevelopment, today we can proudly say that government policies and program are outcomes of well thought out plans, processes and procedures. With discipline, we have been able to manage the finances of Edo State better; we have involved people and ensured that there is transparency in government; we have improved service delivery to our people through the use of ICT and motivated the civil service. Some of the results of these internal reforms are evidenced by several successful projects which this government has executed – a lot of which have been completed today. It is evident that our improved Public Financial Management system has ensured that Edo State remains one of the few States in Nigeria that is still able to pay salaries to civil servants, pensions and still meet the financial obligations to all our contractors.
The government of Comrade Oshiomhole undertook one of the greatest revolutions in Education in Nigeria by reconstructing and rebuilding over 50% of primary school infrastructure and over 30% of our secondary school infrastructure within a space of 7 years. We can all bear witness to this Red Roof Revolution. Almost 1,000Km of roads have been constructed statewide, including those roads past governments claimed were plagued by marine spirits (mami water) at Teachers House, Uwelu, Asoro, Queen Ede just to name a few. The ongoing Storm water drainage project was the answer to flooding challenges created by decades of poor urban planning by past governments. In a couple of months, the new 200 bed wing of the central hospital would make Edo State home to one of the most advance accident and emergency units in Nigeria.
As a result of the reforms in governance and improvement in infrastructure undertaken by the current administration, Edo State is now poised to be a hub for investment in Nigeria. This is obvious from the almost $2 billion investments which have come in from the Azura Power Plant in Ihovbor/Orhior/Idunmowina Communities in Uhunmwode LGA; Over $1 Billion is being invested in a 6 Million MT cement factory in Estako East LGA by the Dangote Group; Fresh investments by Rubber Estate of Nigeria Ltd (RENL) and Presco Plc in massive Rubber plantations and processing factories in Orhionmwon LGA As you know, electricity and cement are some of the key building blocks for industrialization and job creation. These investment portend a lot hope for jobs and social stability of Edo State.
However all these strides are still fragile and they need to be consciously strengthened and entrenched. The good news is that what has been achieved by the present administration are the result of painstaking planning done by my Team. We have a design and template for Edo State beyond the life of the current administration. As the life of this administration comes to an end, we are faced with new challenges. Today, low price of crude oil has reduced the amount of foreign exchange Nigeria earns and our economy is in bad shape. Edo state now gets a lot less from the Federation Account.
Consequently, our reality today is Nigeria has to take severe measures in order to fix its economic and social challenges. And Edo State is not an exception. In the face of this challenge, we need leadership with fresh and original ideas to take on these new challenges, so that we can build on and deepen the successes of the current administration.
There is only one course of action- we must be courageous and determined, we must build on and extend the successes of the current administration to achieve the aspirations of Edo State. I stand before you today on the shoulder of the success of the Comrade Governor. Over the last 7 and a half years we have transformed Edo State and achieved what was said to be impossible, however the Edo Project is still a work in progress and we are at the most delicate part of this journey. We cannot afford any reversals or slowdown in the pace of the achievements we have made to date.
There is a lot more that still has to be done we still have to construct thousands of kilometers of road into rural communities and farms; scores of schools still need to be renovated; we need to further strengthen our service delivery to our people by training and equipping our civil service; we need to address the issue of massive unemployment especially amongst our youths by providing sustainable jobs; we need to give our people more and better access to healthcare in fact there is still so much more to be done. It will be a huge risk for all of us if we revert political power to those who lack deep understanding of how to link the achievements of the last 7 years with the current situation in Nigeria”.