To review campaign promises, says no more hangers-on
• People must earn their incomes, gov insists
In the past one month Edo has seen a new man, Godwin Obaseki, at the helm of affairs in the state with the indicators showing that it would not be business as usual at the Dennis Osadebey Avenue.
A situation where politicians, contractors and hangers-on roam government offices especially Government House, has been prohibited. In fact, there is a directive to the effect that anybody found in Government House without any business, should be sent out or turned back at the gate.
Besides, crowds may no longer be welcomed at Government House during certain functions like swearing-in ceremonies.This was put to practice when he swore in the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie; the usual rowdy crowd was missing. Only the Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri was the non-government official at the ceremony. The swearing in was concluded even before friends and well wishers of the new appointee arrived Government House.
According to the governor, his administration would be radically different from the one experienced in the last four years, as it would focus on governance, rather than politics.
Obaseki also said that everyone must work for his earnings, as there would be no free lunch anymore.“You will find out that our administration is going to be slightly different, if not radically different, from the last four years and the reason is simple. In the last four years, we had to do a lot of politics because we had to recover our state from strange people who took over.
“By the grace of God, we have recovered our state; it is now our state. In the next four years, we are going to be concentrating on what to do with our state,” he explained.
His first action was to visit the Benin Technical College, which was donated by the Canadian Government about 40 years ago to Nigeria and Tanzania. While that of Tanzania has blossomed to produce middle level technicians, that of Nigeria situated in Benin City has gone comatose.
He said his administration would rebuild technical colleges across the state to train skilled technical manpower for industrialisation and job creation for the state.
“Look at what we have, it’s unacceptable. We will take very drastic measures in the next few weeks. We have to rebuild this institution and we have to bring it up so that it becomes the basis for training technical manpower that we need to drive our industrial revolution in the state.”
However, the reality of governance dawned on Obaseki a few weeks after taking over and like President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration at the centre, it has to do away with some campaign promises to the electorate.
Having visited various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to have a first hand knowledge of the true state of affairs, the governor has come to the conclusion that there has to be a review of the promise made to the people.
According to him, the process of stocktaking has begun both at the Government House and the different ministries in the state to ascertain the amount of resources available to meet such promises.
“I want to use this opportunity to inform you that, since we took over government, what we are trying to do is stock-taking to understand how things are in Government House, to understand what is going on in each ministry, to review the promises we made during our election and to see whether the resources we have is enough to meet those promises.
He expressed the hope that in the next three weeks, the exercise must have been concluded and the result made known to the people.
He commended the leadership of the party at the state and local government levels for their support, which he noted was instrumental to his victory in the election, as well as pledged to constitute his cabinet at the appropriate time, when the tasks and persons qualified to handle them have been identified.
Apparently, Edo people are in a hurry to see the new governor hitting the ground and running especially in infrastructural development of the state, which according to many require attention particularly the construction, and rehabilitation of inner City roads that had become a nightmare to motorists and commuters alike.
It is also expected that unlike the APC-led federal government that spent a long time blaming the past administrations since May 1999 for the nation’s socio-economic woes, Obaseki would rather face the tasks at hand squarely and tackle them.
In the views of political analysts, he cannot afford to indulge in blame-game, as his party has to take full responsibility for the achievements and shortcomings of the immediate past administration.
Fortunately, the new governor inherited a ‘friendly’ House of Assembly unlike in 2008 when Comrade Adams Oshiomhole took over and met a stiff and ‘unfriendly’ State Assembly which almost became a cog in the wheel of progress of the state until the controversial defection of some members to the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and subsequent violent change of its leadership.
The APC presently controls all but two of the 23-member House. Part of Obaseki’s prosperity plan for people include focus on economic empowerment especially providing the enabling environment for would-be investors in agro business according to political observers is one that should be tackled seriously given that food security is the best form of security and the fact that Edo is largely agrarian state with abundant arable land.