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Criminals wanted to blackmail Gov Obaseki but he will not succumb —Hon Ohonbanmu

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…Says, one year after, Obaseki has not disappointed

By SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY

After the high profile kidnap and violent crimes which engulfed Edo state in the past two months, peace has now returned to the ancient city especially with the deployment of a new Commissioner of Police, Mr Johnson Babatunde Kokumo.

Hon. Paul Ohonbanmu

In this interview with Saturday Vanguard, the Edo state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Paul Ohonbanmu alleged that some people wanted to blackmail Governor Godwin Obaseki. He also spoke on the one year anniversary of the governor on the 12th  of this month

Excerpts:

The crime rate in the state seems to have subsided after months of being at the mercy of kidnappers and armed robbers who invaded the state, what did the state government do to check the excesses of these criminals?

Crime is like an accident which is not foreseen until it happens. But we thank God the crime rate has subsided. This was because we have a new Commissioner of Police who drew his road map on how to check crime and you can see that results are coming in every day, things have improved. I think the police force should be commended. Edo state is calm now and businesses are thriving again. But I want to assure you that the governor is prepared to collaborate with security agencies to have a peaceful Edo state.

There were allegations that    some members of the Community Development Associations (CDAs) that were banned by this government were behind criminal activities in the state. But the moment the governor banned them he gave them an alternative to go and register in the Edo job portals and get employed.

If they didn’t register and jobs were given to other people and they now resorted to crime to use it as blackmail, then it would not work because the governor cannot be blackmailed. Some of them wanted the governor to call them to the negotiating table. The policy of this government with regards to crime and other vices is that when you commit crime and you are caught you suffer both the penalty and the consequence.

This is one governor who will not overlook any wrong thing that is done. You can see what happened during the last primary six examination that was conducted, where a memo was sent to him demanding N280 million. He eventually spent N30 million for the same exercise and some of the people involved in that scam have either been sacked or suspended

So, when you are dealing with such a man you should be careful. He wants to do things according to the rules. He believes that ideas and sanity should be brought into governance and government must be for governance and not for looting. These are the issues.

The Governor will be one year in office by November 12, what will you say he has achieved so far?

The year has been splendid. He has worked in line with the expectations of the people. So far so good, he has not deviated from his promises. And with the steps he has taken you will see the long term results. His ultimate aim was to plan where Edo state will be in the next six years and he has started well. He promised to create 200,000 jobs in four years and today the Edo job portal is geared towards realising the 200,000 jobs he promised. One area he equally wanted to achieve this is in the area of agriculture which he had already started and youths are being trained to become entrepreneurs. The governor even wants to bring entrepreneurs into the civil service. Look at the work going on in Benin Technical College, he wants to open up that place so it can train man power, and turn them into employers of labour.

Through C-4 the world Bank has trained a lot of youths and today another training has started for youths for the purpose of job creation. The governor has travelled widely, he has met investors in Asia and as part of our one year anniversary, we are organizing an investment summit called Alaghodaro, which means progress in Benin language. So, rather than emphasize on what he has done, he is saying where are we going to be in the next four years or in the next eight years. Alaghodaro will bring in international investors and there will be ground breaking ceremony of industrial park at Ologbo.

Why do people call him wake and see governor?

It was because of the way he does things. What you never envisaged the previous day, when you wake up in the morning he has done it. And honestly   he is working efficiently and noiselessly. So, the appropriate description people can give to him is Wake and See Governor. I think it is the way they see things happening even without announcing it, that is what stands him out.

He does things without making noise and he is building on what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole started because in all these, we have to know where these things started. We had years of locus and Comrade came and commenced development, so if we continue to have a governor doing well in this manner, Edo state in the next fifteen years would have over taken Lagos.

Again, Obaseki has demystified governance, that arrogance of power, which the PDP introduced but the APC government under Oshiomhole and Obaseki has ended it. We are seeing simplistic governance, anything he does,    he ensures it comes from the people so that ownership and possession of governance reside with the people.

The PDP in the state however believes he has not done anything particularly in the area of security

The PDP is always raising false alarm just to score cheap political points. When people are bereft of ideas, that is the way they react. When they talk, they only want the governor to do what they were doing years back and that is the old tactic of negotiating with criminals.

The governor has said he would not negotiate with any kidnapper or criminal because in all sincerity, it is the right of the people to be free. I also read them saying that the governor travels too much, if he travels is it not to go and get investors? Do they think it is jamboree the way the PDP leaders were doint it?

You can even see the investors coming into the state to show that his trips were not a waste. You can see the influx of investors in the state wanting to sign MOU on one project or the other. And these are all net effect of all the journeys he has made.

The PDP should make constructive criticisms that will make the government to progress and not retrogressive comments. They should be patriotic enough rather than playing politics with development. All the policies the government has put in place are geared towards the upliftment of the ordinary people. People    now    go to communities and develop their projects without hindrance, which serves as encouragement to investors. I think PDP is just playing blind opposition, the party    had an opportunity of ruling this state for ten years but squandered it.

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