By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY-GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Thursday, said he decided to give N100million to market women in the state because they have been crucial to the sustenance of democracy in the state.
The State Government Wednesday gave N100 million revolving, interest-free and non-refundable grant to market women in the state to boost their trade with a call on them to continue to defend democracy and good governance.
Oshiomhole who spoke at a reception organized for him by market women across the state also asked them to forward names of twenty candidates to government for Board appointments.
According to the governor, “next month, the state government will give the market women N100 million and you people know how best to share it to support your business. This money should be rotated amongst yourselves and you do not have to pay back to the government.
Also forward twenty names to the Chief of Staff, we will put them in various boards under Edo State government because this government is your own and you must participate in it.
“As our mothers and sisters, individually and collectively you carry our message of hope across the 192 wards, you canvassed for support, enlightened the people on what we are doing right and even with the promise to do more and at the end of the day the people listened, they voted and ACN won 18 over 18. You did it before and you have done it again on the basis of what is good for the Edo people,” he noted.
The Governor noted, “I like having meetings in this hall just to remind us of what has changed, how we can build a new world from the ashes of the old that we can now have a beautiful hall for a secondary school and from Edo North, Edo Central, Edo South we are building schools, so that your children, the child of a market woman will have every reason to look forward to a decent school.
Never again will the Edo child be taught in a class without roof or even without teachers.
“I am very appreciative and even committed along with members of my cabinet, we are clear that we are here only because you are here. we are a passing phase you are a permanent force, we have shown that a state can work when those in government recognize that the power that they exercise belong to the people and the power is exercised solely on their behalf and no government is legitimate if its actions are not informed by the greatest good for the greatest number of her citizens.
“We have shown that the performance of a government is not necessarily determined by the amount of oil money we get every month from Abuja. we have shown that we can look inward and reinvent our state, reposition it on the path of sustainable development, we are proud to say that there is no local government that people can not point at what has changed and even what is changing and promise what is still going to change and with you by our side we can not be afraid,” he noted.
The Governor urged the women to “defend the gains of good governance, to defend democracy because it is the only form of government that gives the market woman power to hire and fire, that power you must retain and use it judiciously and to insist that beyond election day the governor and the governed must meet eye ball to eye ball to give account and that is the gain of democracy.
“You must have the confidence to talk to your governor the way you talk to your husband or your son so that never again are we going to have a graveyard silence in Edo state. As Nigeria moves, the Edo woman must be counted on the side of democratic forces,” he added.
Earlier, the Secretary General of the Edo State Market Women Association, Mrs. Blackie Omoregie said the forum was to congratulate the governor for the victory in the governorship election and commend him for his developmental efforts.
“We like to bring to your notice the inability of previous governments to grant interest free-loans to market women. We shall be most grateful if your administration can rescue us in this direction,” she added