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Just before we transit in Edo state

THE  rowdiness in the Court was unusual – the day Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was declared Governor in 2008 – this was after both petitioners and defendants in an election petition made appearances at the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City. Suddenly, Comrade  Oshiomhole poked his head through the roof of a black SUV heading southwards from the Appeal Court and surveyed what he had wrought – sweet victory; no orphan.

Upon assumption of office, Oshiomhole and his team, past and present, no doubt, worked unconscionably long hours, both into the night, either in Exco meetings or project inspection so that an accurate job according to specification was carried out.

Never-mind – some say he is obsessed, others argue he is over-ambitious, while a fragment say the reconstruction of Benin City and Edo state in general, for Oshiomhole, is a gargantuan project that would fail and as such, dismissed it out-rightly when he assumed office. Even the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party,PDP, would agree in secret that Oshiomhole has done well, suddenly, for political reasons and for electioneering purposes claim in adverts that the governor should have overlooked the issue of taxation and urban renewal among others, a situation that suggests that they seem to have lost memory of where we were coming from.

They forget in a hurry, the long neglect in development such as the stench that pervaded Ring Road and the dilapidation and complete collapse therein – in fact, the entire state was in squalor. My first distinctive memory of Ring Road is of traffic; the chaos and nightmare that characterised ring road now known as Oba Ovonramwen square.

Inside the roundabout is the National Museum, the most awesome water fountain in Nigeria – courtesy Adams Oshiomhole, the Military cenotaph in honour of the unknown soldiers, and a beautiful park and garden. Just around there is one of the World’s most revered royalty, the palace of the Omo N Oba N Edo, the state House of Assembly complex, Central Bank of Nigeria, among other new generation banks.

Oshiomhole vindicated himself, an idealistic and ambitious project that was doubted impossible. A new-look Ring Road sprang up to the bemusement of objective critics; making those who swore never to have anything to do with it eat their words. Today, most people transiting through or having to transact business on the Square, either in the day time or at night, have refreshing stories to tell.

All the roads leading into it, have been illuminated……Airport road, Sapele road, Sokponba road, Akpakpava road, Mission road, Forestry road and Oba Market road from where crowds surges in seamless motion with no one looking at the other with suspicion at night anymore. Lest I forget, there is now a musical water fountain right inside the Square.

Governor Oshiomhole promised to lay a good and solid foundation for his successor in the similitude of former Lagos state Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

From benefit of hindsight, it is now clear that the Comrade’s intention is to tailor Edo’s development looking at the Lagos-Tinubu model in terms of sustainable economic foundation for his successor through alternative revenue generation; he wants to toe Tinubu’s step in terms of the model of succession, this is quite clear, with the victory of his Chief Economic Adviser and Chairman, Economic and Strategy Team, Godwin Obaseki at All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primary.

Obaseki, if you like, has been, among others who have been around Oshiomhole from inception and is fully abreast with its policy initiation, formulation, and implementation. In fact, he was at the centre of it all. I can see the relationship between Edo and Lagos – the successors are not really politicians but qualitative men who can drive the system and achieve results.

Significantly, this is where Obaseki hold the ace – he was the engine room for all those retreats organised for government officials and which culminated into the economic direction of the Oshiomhole administration. It is on this plank that Edo people view Obaseki as the viable alternative who has the magic wand to the socio-economic challenges pervading the entire spectrum in the country and the state in particular.

This man – Obaseki, for Oshiomhole, provided the courage and seamless financial providence for which he was able to address the critical monetary challenges that was his lot in government – this quiet, politically unsung and soft spoken gentleman.

For him, the challenge of taking Edo state to next level is the provision of massive works and employments for the people with his contacts home and abroad in the private sector. We are told that the ability of the state government to increase her internally generated revenue and get support from World Bank and other donor agencies is the instrumentality and ingenuity of Obaseki –economic prowess he would bring to bear, when given the mandate on September 10.

Obaseki didn’t promise the “world” with no clue how to deliver. He didn’t descend to cheap attacks. He shares a lot with Oshiomhole – he was in the engine room with every other decent men and women who want the best for Edo state.

I credit the stream of knowledge which constitutes the concept of finishing well to the chairman of the Economic and Strategic Team – Obaseki. It was his school of economics and governance which provided the verve and lifeline with which workers in the state go home monthly, with their pay-check till date and this also provided the basis of my understanding of values in governance and service to the people for which Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is now famously known in Nigeria.

What about his tradition of clear thinking and simple exposition? Aren’t they admirable? No doubt, he has influenced our modern generation positively and this I can vouch he would deploy into governance when elected on September 10 – I mean these core values.

Let me add, quickly, that the development of the specific ideas for which this government has successfully implemented and which we are better for today as a state, was enhanced by discussions at the various retreats. The Team leader’s careful and methodical analysis of the ideas and achievements today, not only made it more imperative for a perfect compliant successor but will make these policies more consistent and cohesive, thereby helping us to better understand the larger picture that the people of Edo State have decided to espouse come September 10th – Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu.

Mr. Domingo Obende, a senator, is chairman, Publicity & Media , APC nnational Campaign for Edo guber election.


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