By Kenny Odeworitse Okotie
Love him, hate him! Mr. Godwin Obaseki is an enigma. A colossus, whose kind of politics since assuming office in 2016 as the Executive Governor of Edo State has caught the traditional politicians in the state napping. It is now, “business unusual.” Edolites love him, the common man on the streets also love him, the market women adore him.
Since coming into power, he has embarked on massive infrastructural development in all nooks and crannies of the state, thus endearing him to the people. For example in Esanland, towns and villages like Ekpoma, Irrua, Uromi, Ubiaja, Ewu, Ibore and several others too numerous to mention have been uplifted, schools renovated, rural and sub-urban roads revamped, Erosion threats and challenges checked, water scarcity confronted.
Within this three years span, there has been massive improvement on the state’s economy and diversification of the economic base of the state. Thus, he has been managing very well the scarce resources from the federation accounts. Not done yet, roads and adjourning streets are being asphalted and reconstructed, work is ongoing night and day to complete the neglected secretariat/Palm House building at Sapele Road in Benin City, abandoned for over 40 years.
The Benin Technical College is undergoing massive transformation and ultimately, when completed, will be able to train youths on technical skills in engineering, amongst others. This is in accordance with the realities of the present age. That is, vocational and technical skills that will make them not only self-reliant but also employers of labour.
The Edo State innovation hub at I.C.E. Road, Benin City is to assist the teeming unemployed youths to develop their innate abilities and acquire useful information and technology skills. This will inevitably enable them to develop business plans, write business proposals and essentially how to source for funds to commence small and medium scale businesses.
Due to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s insatiable urge for innovation, the Edo job portal has been created. This is simply a transparent and credible way of appointing qualified candidates into the state civil service through this job portal. That is to say, graduates of Edo State indigenes can upload their credentials and application using the website (www.edojobs.edostate.gov.ng)
This is in keeping faith with one of his electoral promise in creating over 200,000 jobs for Edo state people through partnership with both private and public sector operators, thereby eliminating the use of god-fatherism to secure appointments into the state’s civil service.
Obaseki is calm, calculated and has a reticent personae. Despite his convoy, being pelted with stones by hostile youths of Edo Central (Esan) at a time, he was unperturbed to bring the dividends of democracy to their doorsteps.
Not finished yet, the great unforgotten legend of democracy, Ambrose Alli was re-enacted in a quiet and standard event to mark the 29th anniversary of the death of the Esan and Edo political icon and hero who inadvertently set the stage for what gave Bendel State (Edo and Delta), the edge to compete with the rest of the Western region of Nigeria as one of the most educationally advanced parts of the country.
On September 22, 2018, all of Edo and Delta and the rest of the country stood still and paid tributes to this hero-Ambrose Alli, who unfortunately has been treated poorly for decades. Also, recall that Chief Anthony Anenih, an Esan man, who bestrode the political space under the alias of “Mr Fix it”, was given a hero’s burial despite being in the main opposition party (PDP).
Whether he will run for a second tenure in 2020 largely depends on the people of the state. Why wouldn’t he, if he has worked credibly to the satisfaction of Edolites.
Apart from the array of traditional politicians, who feel sidelined by not getting their “cut” from the state’s treasury, he has performed well to the admiration of the people, whose sole interest is uppermost in his mind. Despite the resistance of the APC leaders, Obaseki has been getting accolades and endorsements from the party leadership in the state. Suffice it to say that his support base is swelling by the day as the people he has defended these past three years are lining up behind him.
In a statement by the state APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Azebamwan, “Members were unanimous in their conclusion that the House of assembly election results equates to a referendum of the administration and the performance of Mr. Godwin Obaseki as governor. It, therefore, amounts to an implicit and explicit vote of confidence on him by the citizens of Edo State who have, in very clear and unmistakable terms indicated their preference for a House of Assembly that would be supportive of the vision and mission of the governor without distraction whatever.” The state exco, he added, “resolved that in line with the mandate, the party would continue to sustain its avowed commitment to give the government and administration of Obaseki the needed support to keep it focused and on track.”
By and large, Governor Godwin Obaseki is a democrat, technocrat, an administrator par excellence and a detribalised Edolite.
LONG LIVE ABADINGO ABADANGO FOUNDATION! LONG LIVE NIGERIA!!
- Okotie is the Founder/Chairman of Abadingo Abadango Foundation (AAF)