A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY MEDIA ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION FORUM HELD AT THE BISHOP KELLY PASTORAL CENTRE IN BENIN CITY ON WEDNESDAY, JAN. 6, 2016..
A Roundtable Forum was convened by Mr. John Mayaki in Benin City with the theme: “The Media Practitioner’s View of Edo State under Gov. Adams Oshiomhole”.
A panel of seven discussants, all practicing journalists in Edo State, critically x-rayed, reviewed and appraised Gov Oshiomhole’s seven-year tenure so far and made projections into the future of governance in the state.
The panelists, after expressing their viewpoints observed as follows:
That Edo state, prior to Adams Oshiomhole’s assumption of office on Nov 12, 2009, was characterized by general despair and despondency; and near-total decay of public infrastructure.
That ‘god-fatherism’ phenomenon had virtually held the state hostage and so negatively impacted on governance, thus hindering socio-economic growth in the pre-Oshiomhole years.
That the Adams Oshiomhole’s administration has succeeded in upgrading the benchmark for infrastructural development in the state with particular references to road construction/rehabilitation, drainage and erosion control via the Benin Water Storm Project, as well as the multi-million naira Queen Ede, Auchi and Ekewan gully erosion projects. Also remarkable has been the “Red Roof” revolution in primary and secondary schools across the state.
That the Adams Oshiomhole’s “one-man one-vote” mantra has changed and improved the electioneering process in the state.
That the government deserved an applause for its efforts at keying into the Federal Government’s UBE counter-part funding scheme that has improved the standard of education in the state with particular reference to the improved facilities and increased performance rating of Edo State in national examinations.
That Gov Oshiomhole has reasonably restored the people’s confidence in government through people-oriented and purposeful policies and programs. This confidence had been greatly eroded by past governments which perverted leadership, looted the commonwealth and thus engendered the distrust of the people.
That Gov Oshiomhole’s gesture at improving on past administration’s assistance to the state council of NUJ and the practicing correspondents in the state through logistics support to aid their job performances is salutary
They noted, however, that the Oshiomhole administration has not done much to improve on workers’ welfare through payment of approved salaries and allowances, especially for pensioners as evidenced by the series of protests in the state over the years
That Oshiomhole’s healthcare policies have not been far-reaching enough as they seem to pay more attention to tertiary health institutions to the detriment of the primary healthcare institutions which are indeed closer to the people.
That his government did not devote much resource to human capacity development in commensurate terms with infrastructural development in the state since capacity development is sine qua non to any government’s desire for speedy socio-economic development.
The round-table resolved as follows:
- That arising from these findings, political parties should re-align their manifestoes and policy plans and programs ahead of the state governorship election to be in tune with people’s desires, aspirations and expectations.
That political party leaders should make credibility, personal integrity and unquestionable pedigree of candidates as a crucial factor to be considered during party primaries.
That political parties should do away with the old tradition of imposition of candidates to avoid unnecessarily over-heating of the polity as the electorate has become wiser.
That governorship aspirants must be prepared to diversify the state’s economy and move it away from the current over-reliance on statutory allocation.
That the next government in the state must aspire to foster agricultural revolution, taking good advantage of the fertile and arable environment of the state.
That any incoming government must first believe in the people and ensure a holistic approach to development of the state by providing the enabling environment for safety of lives and property.
That the Press at all times has a constitutional responsibility to make governments accountable to the people and this they must continue to do through unbiased and objective reportage that placed the interest of the people foremost.
In attendance at the roundtable forum were over 70 journalists from various media in the state.
The forum is first in series by the Coalition for Good Governance and
Economic Justice to sensitize the citizens on participatory democracy
and responsible governance.
Chairman, Communique Committee