November 13, 2015

I want to leave a buoyant state for my successor —Oshiomhole

I want to leave a buoyant state for my successor —Oshiomhole


By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase

BENIN—AHEAD the 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday, said that he wants his successor to meet a robust Internally Generated Revenue base, adding that the task of moving the state to the next level was not negotiable.

He insisted that the wealthy in the state must pay the land use charge for the interest of the poor as he intends to ensure that his successor in office does not suffer paucity of funds.

Oshiomhole, who spoke on his stewardship as governor of the state in the last seven years, used the opportunity of the seventh anniversary celebration to dispel accusation by former Governor Lucky Igbinedion that his administration failed to build industries in the state, saying: “The so-called industries built by the Igbinedion administration never functioned and they were all sold by the same administration.”

Oshiomhole said that his coming into the politics of the state had ended godfatherism, brought development and created conducive environment for industrialization despite the fact that when he came in as governor, he met an empty treasury.

“In 2008 when I came to Edo State, we had three ruling houses. These families determined who became a councillor, who contested elections to the state Assembly, the National Assembly and of course who became governor.

“So, it was the beginning of wisdom to worship those godfathers, which was why when I stepped forward to vie for governorship, many people did not give me a chance. I was told by a civil servant when I came in that we needed to organise a formal swearing-in ceremony, which was a state function and we needed funds for it. I asked the Accountant General how we could fund the swearing-in ceremony and he told me that we didn’t have a dime in the treasury of the state.

“In the next 12 months, we will move to complete the projects that we started. We will start new ones that we need to start and re-engineer the finances of the state. We will enforce the collection of land use charge in areas that are covered and I like to explain that even in the name of revenue drive, we will collect land use charge from high density areas. Land use charge is restricted to low density areas.

“If you occupy 10,000 square metres, you will pay the charge. Let me assure our people, we will not collect land use charge from old family houses. We will not collect land use charge from poor communities. Even in Ugbuyoko, they deserve support. We will not collect land use charge from churches, mosques, the poor, but this government will collect land use charge from the rich. If you don’t pay we will charge you to court in accordance with the law.”