AS aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State battle for the delegates of their party ahead of the September 10 governorship election, an aspirant of the party and Chairman of the state Economic and Strategic Team, Mr Godwin Obaseki, says if elected as governor, his administration will capitalize on the foundation laid by Governor Adams Oshiomhole in the power sector to provide stable electricity for the people of the state in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Pius Odubu, Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed, has concluded plans to kick off his campaign in April, expressing optimism that the leadership of the party will provide a level-playing field for all aspirants. It was learnt that Odubu, known for his loyalty to his boss, is quite disappointed that he is not enjoying the backing of Oshiomhole.
Obaseki, who disclosed his plans on electricity at a seminar organised by Edo Accord Initiative, tagged: “Edo United: Edo State in the eye of the present economic downturn/the future”, said with the Azura Power Plant, attracted by the Oshiomhole administration and other power projects, the issue of power outage will be a thing of the past in the nearest future in the state.
While urging delegates of the APC to back his aspiration, he stressed that the only way to achieve the dream of stable power supply in Edo is to support a candidate with the vision and aspiration of Oshiomhole which, according to him, he represents.
“If you have taken note of what is happening in Edo, before Governor Oshiomhole, there was nothing on ground. The PDP said Edo was a poor and civil service state. They couldn’t build roads, schools or factories. But in the last seven years, we have tried. At least, you can drive from Airport Road down to Ugbowo without traffic and bad roads. So if you want to go to farm in Anagbette in Edo North, there is road to take you to the farm; before, there was no road to that place. One thing that this government has started that the people will not see until two years time is electricity. Government has encouraged people to come and generate electricity for Edo. As we speak, our investors have started building big electricity plants across the state that will generate about 450 megawatts each. The total electricity we consume in Edo is about 100 but these people are building a plant that will generate 450 each. So by the end of 2017, we will have enough electricity for Edo”, the aspirant stated.
“Now, Oshiomhole has built roads, we have refurbished schools, we have brought investors, and the next stage will be to build industries. We have asked investors to come and build industries because we have roads, good schools, electricity, water and other social amenities that they need to run the industries. And many have started coming, we must encourage them. The youths shouldn’t drag government land with them because they want money. If there is no security, they wouldn’t stay. So my message for the youths today, especially community development associations, is that when investors want land to set up industries, welcome them and not exploit them because they are bringing jobs.
“The other area that government is working is on and the area I believe we will grow when I become 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. It is an opportunity for us to begin to create industries and, when I take over government, the first thing I will do is to help people invest.
“When I become governor, I need not to worry because I have the capacity to bring work and investment to Edo. I know two years is a long time, but how are we going to survive before then? If we say things are bad in the state, we should go to some other states, some states have not paid salaries for over three months. We should make sure we provide micro finance for small businesses. So, for people who want to set up businesses, government has facilities through micro finance bank where people can take loan at low interest rate to start and 60 per cent of this money is for women sponsored businesses. The way it will work is to join cooperatives and, if you save a little, you take to the micro finance bank and they will give the cooperative much more on top. Up to N500, 000 for individuals and up to N5, 000, 000 for cooperatives and these cooperatives they make sure they know how you buy, sell and how you are going to pay back”.
On his part, the Chairman of the Edo Accord initiative, Mr Idahosa Dennis, said, “We have seen the vision of Godwin Obaseki as a very brilliant one for the people of Edo and, having been a member of the state exco, I know his contribution to the achievements of Adams Oshiomhole and I know if he is elected as the governor of Edo, the state will be greater that people will make reference to”.