By Gabriel Enogholase
THE opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State has slammed Governor Godwin Obaseki, describing his performance after one year in office as unmitigated disaster.
However, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and Chief Executive Officer/ Chairman of Konkon conglomerate, Elder Peter Ogbeide, gave the administration a pass mark and described the governor’s first year in office as the beginning of industrial revolution in the state.
Ogbeide told Vanguard in an interview in Benin that the Obaseki government has brought a new dawn and is preparing the state for industrial revolution and post oil era.
He said: “Edo State, formerly Bendel, used to be the commercial nerve centre in commerce and agriculture in the pre- independence and civil war era. But all those were lost as a result of the civil war which ravaged the country and the incursion of the military into our political affairs. The advent of oil also did not help matters as Nigeria now solely depended on oil.
“However, the emergence of Godwin Obaseki as governor of the state has once again set the stage for industrial revolution which will take the state beyond the oil era and make it one of the most viable states in the country. What the governor is doing presently is preparing the state for commerce attracting investors that will industrialize the state. Edo State is due for at least three industrial layouts that will ensure the rapid development in the state.”
However, the PDP disagreed, arguing that Obaseki, in the last one year, has been prodigal and insensitive to the cries of Edo people.
The party also accused the Obaseki government of incurring a foreign debt of $34.34 million since he came on board in addition to the previous $179.95 million bringing the total debt to $213.95 million and thus making Edo the third most indebted state in the country.
The party referred to the government of Obaseki as “prodigal” for allegedly embarking on numerous foreign trips in search of investors without the trips adding economic value to Edo people.
The party wondered how investors would invest in the state when “security challenges are there despite the huge sums of money collected as security votes monthly. They have not been supporting any arm of the security agencies and as things are now, you cannot move freely in the state without being afraid of being kidnapped or killed by armed robbers.”
Reacting to the claims of the PDP, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said: “The PDP has demonstrated its lack of capacity to appreciate the new direction the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is taking the state, with the opposition party’s consistent embarrassing comments on the well thought-out programmes of the APC..
“It is not surprising to see that the feeble PDP remnants cannot see the benefits of an investment summit that assembled over 5,000 business leaders from across the world in Edo State to discuss the opportunities that abound in our state. These are companies that are investing millions of dollars in Edo State, including the chief executives of BUA Group whose $1 billion 3 million tonnes cement plant was inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently in Okpella, Edo State, the President of Dangote Group, that is kicking off a $1 billion cement factory in Okpella, to expand its cement production in Nigeria, Mahindra Group that is collaborating with Edo State Government to build the N200billion Benin Industrial Park and Tolaram Group to mention a few.”