Governor Adams Oshiomhole became the governor of Edo State, he inherited a plethora of abandoned projects, dilapidated infrastructure and a state that was decrepit from ex governor Chief Lucky Igbinedion. It was common knowledge that Edo state was comatose by reckless leadership, greed, stealing, corruption and diversion of state funds into private pockets – the pockets of Lucky Igbinedion’s family and cronies. Edo State was a mere shadow with nothing to write home about.
For the past seven and half years, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has done remarkably well revamping Edo’s infrastructure and laid a strong foundation. Governor Oshiomhole is not afraid to speak up, where necessary. Neither was he afraid to challenge those who thought that Edo State is their private business. He embarked on rebuilding Edo State from the crumbles left behind. He wasn’t perturbed about the scale of work. He dug and immersed himself into it rebuilding Edo State from scratch. Today, Edo State is standing tall and on the part of progress.
As Oshiomhole prepares to leave the stage, like where an actor has concluded a scene, we have a brilliant technocrat, Mr Godwin Obaseki to continue from where Governor Oshiomhole stopped. As a technocrat and economic guru, Mr Obaseki has a great vision of service delivery. He thinks outside box, he is a round peg in a round hole. Laced with new thinking, Obaseki not only has the ability to drive economic growth and development, he has the capacity to innovate and usher in new ideas in order that Edo state can become an efficiency driven economy.
As the Chairman of the Edo State Economic Team, Mr Obaseki ensured that Edo state finances are in pretty good shape. How? Edo state have become an investment hub because of the key decisions and initiatives taken by Mr Obaseki. For example, the Azura-Edo IPP, a 450MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station, the first project to be intiated by Azura Power was the initiative of Godwin Obaseki. The project is part of a 2,000MW IPP facility being developed in Uhunmode LGA near Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria and has the potential to revolutionise economic activities and create employment for teeming Edo youths.
It is a statement of fact that investments drive economic growth. And in Edo state, Obaseki has brought this to reality. He recommended that Edo government make use of the Federal government Counterpart Superb -Education fund, enacted in 1997 by the late General Sani Abacha. This recommendation enabled Edo APC led government to draw up funds to develop and improve Edo schools which are visible in the red roof revolution.
To show his good vision and service delivery, Obaseki also insisted on safeguarding the local economy by advising Edo state government to use local resources and man power when executing counterpart funded projects. This singular move created jobs and put money into the pockets of the Edo people. It should be noted that the PDP government never availed themselves of this opportunity. Why? Because they lacked ideas and are not focused on how to develop the state but rather mostly interested in siphoning public funds to private pockets.
So when people say that Obaseki will be manipulated or controlled by Oshiomhole, it is very laughable because Obaseki has been the driving force behind the achievements of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s administration. He has shown both in his private sector career and in government that he has his own mind and cannot be ‘controlled” by anyone. If you know Mr Obaseki, you will appreciate that he is independent, calm but assertive, and someone who exercises sound judgment. Edo people should be happy that someone with integrity, passionate and committed to the Edo project is vying to lead them, unlike the “run on the meal politician” Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu whose record as Secretary to Edo Government was abysmal, shady, dishonest and integrity challenged.
At at time like this when Nigeria is facing serious economic challenges from the global downturn and sharp fall in crude oil prices, Mr Obaseki will bring innovative ways to generate revenue for Edo and Nigeria at large. This is evident in his contributions in Edo and his manifesto of diversifying Edo’s economy to boost economic growth. Consequently, we must ensure that we elect him to lead the diversification of Edo state revenue and drive forward the creative pathways to boost economic growth.
Most significantly, we must break the culture of running to Abuja with cap in hand begging for bailouts. And the only way out is if we can attract investment to Edo state to boost our internal revenue base. And Mr Obaseki has said when he becomes governor, we will invest in agriculture, create industries and provide an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive. Furthermore, he has also stated that the other area that government is working is on and the area he believe we will grow when he becomes governor is agriculture, but because there is foreign exchange, we always want to import. We spend almost $500 million to import chicken annually to this country; we spend almost $2billion dollars to import rice and even milk we spend $500 million to import. Can’t we grow rice in Edo; can’t we rear chicken and fish in Edo? But now those things we used to import are no longer possible because of foreign exchange.” Obaseki said while unveiling his plans on power.
Obaseki’s record, cerebral nature and capability is unprecedented. That is why tension have unsurprisingly set in PDP, who despite their 8 years in Edo and 16 years at the centre have nothing to show. It is time for Edo people to do the right thing and vote Godwin Obaseki irrespective of the cajoling, lobbying and money changing hands from the opposition. As a citizen of Edo state, you it a duty to your state, you owe it a duty to your conscience, you owe it a duty to ensure that you elect Obaseki because he is the only one who is ready to consolidate and build upon Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s commendable achievements.
Undoubtedly, this election is a referendum on the performance of the PDP led administration under Chief Lucky Igbinedion and that of APC’s Governor Adams Oshiomhole. The difference is very clear. One was a government that neglected everything about good governance whilst the other focused on the delivery of good governance for the benefit of the people. It is crystal clear that there is no basis for comparison with the type of leadership offered by former governor Lucky Igbinedion and the achievements of Governor Adams Oshiomhole. The latter embarked on road construction, invested in the renovation of Edo state schools and carried out developmental projects in rural areas that were cut off by the previous Lucky Igbinedion administration.
As citizens who want the progress and development of our state, we are duty bound to ensure Continuity of the developmental strides embarked on by Governor Oshiomhole. We owe it a duty to ensure that we did not send our state back to the type of leadership offered by Lucky Igbinedion.
Without sounding patronising, there is no alternative to Mr Godwin Obaseki, he will best represent the people and their best interests. To me, Edolites cannot look at People Democratic Party where the Hawks like of the Igbinedions, “Mr Fix It” are still loitering around waiting to pounce on Edo government through the back door. It is not surprising to see Dr Samuel Ogbemudia withdraw from such gathering where the Hawks feast on state resources to throw his weight and support for Mr Obaseki. Dr Ogbemudia knows that good leadership is only way to foster growth and development for the well-being of the people and clearly saw that in Mr Obaseki. So come 28th September, we must come out to vote and elect Mr Obaseki as the next Governor of our dear state. Anything short of that would be disastrous.
Gloria Adagbon, a political analyst writes from Benin City.