By Eubaldus Enahoro
THE people of Edo State now see that their taxes are working for them as the entire state has become a big construction site and everybody is happy, except the critics who never see anything good from their opponents for political reasons.
When the Governor Adams Oshiomhole-led administration in Edo State enforced the tax law to boost the Internally-Generated Revenue of the state, there were rebellious voices.
The Governor confessed during a retreat for government functionaries at Iyamho, near Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area, that after he took over the mantle of leadership and seeing the myriad problems on ground in the state compared with the available resources, he was initially demoralised.
He was confronted withÂ the facts that after all his accomplishments as President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the expectation from the public was high and he was not going to rubbish those credentials, nowÂ as governor.
But being a team player, Comrade Oshiomhole was told by the economic team which was set up that there was aÂ way out through savings. This was not a palatable panacea because government appointees had to make a lot of sacrifices and today they are among the poorest paid in the country.
To get enough resources to develop the state, expenditure on running the government was drastically cut down by a whooping N5 billion last year. â€œWe spent N5 billion less for running the government compared to whatÂ was spentÂ by the past administration.
My Commissioners have said they have not had the privilege that their previous counterparts had because we have squeezed them and I told them that they must make the necessary sacrifices and at the end of the day, the management of our resources will be seen in the villages, on the streets and the rural areas,â€ the governor maintained.
It was apparently a divine change that took place in Edo State and any policy introduced by the government is not by accident but by the grace of God aimed at the overall interest of the people of the state.
With the way the Action Congress recovered its stolen mandate from the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, it is instructive for the people to know that this governmentÂ means well for them.
When it was time for the truth to prevail in the state, there was nothing that could stop the change of guard atÂ Government House on Osadebey Avenue. Therefore, it is imperative for everyone, irrespective of political leaning, to support the programmes and policies of the government in power because that is the injunction of the almighty creator that we pray for those in authority.
Apart from the savings made from cutting down on government expenses, a lot has also been made from the taxes collected. In the Holy Scripture, Jesus Christ knew more than any other human on earth. Yet he honoured the authority of the Roman government.
When people came to Him, questioning His opinion of paying taxes to Caesar, He answered, â€œrender to Caesar the things that are Caesarâ€™s and to God the things that are Godâ€™s.”
There is no doubt that the critics of the governor are disappointed with whatÂ they are seeing going on in the state today. They must be wondering how the government has been able to get the huge sum of money required to embark on the gigantic projects going on across the state.
As a man who believes in planning before execution of any project, the seat of government was earlier moved to Lagos for a retreat last year, a few months in office to brainstorm with the government appointees on how to achieve the set goals of the administration.
The governor came back with a strong appeal to the people to respond positively to pay their taxes. The people have to join hands with government in the building process to transform the state by paying their taxes and other obligations because the state cannot be compared with other major oil producing state.
If the revenue allocation from the Federal Government added to the internal generated revenue for the next few years are not prudently managed, it cannot construct the present quality of roads with drainages, covered walkways and street lights being embarked upon in the state today. Not to talk about the six lanes on the Airport road and the dualisation of the Oluku- Ugbowo road.
The contractors have been mobilised, no wonder they are seen workingÂ day and nightÂ to ensure that a reasonable stretch of the roads are completed before the rains begin this year.
With the categories of contractors deployed in the state, the people can now see heavy duty machines like swamp boogey for the first time in the state constructing a new Edo state.
It is now obvious to even the children in the state that the Comrade Governor is determined to leave a legacy behind to make Edo state the true â€œHeartbeat of the nationâ€.
Mr. Enahoro, a journalist, writes from Benin city.