IT was much of a cheery news coming from the Edo State Government during the yuletide season that the Azura-Edo Independent Power Project, IPP, has just begun generation of electricity seven months ahead of schedule, thus adding yet another feather in the cap of the Wake and See Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki.
Equally pleasing is the fact that as a result of this development, there have been great improvement in electricity generation and supply in Edo State, a development that has led to more investors thronging Edo State to pitch their tent and partake of the conducive business environment and progressive posture of the government towards genuine investments.
The flood of investors and the dazzling success recorded by Azura-Edo Power, is not only attributable but is a clear demonstration of the success of the various reform programmes undertaken by the Governor Obaseki-led administration, particularly those continued from the Comrade Adams Aliu Oshiomhole’s administration.
Some of those reforms now paying off today are geared towards removal of all forms of obstacles, gamut of official procedures and governmental barriers that have stalled public-private partnerships, PPP, initiatives in Nigeria. The linking of Azura-Edo Power project to the National Grid, not just a praise-worthy feat, but equally a confirmation of the important need of continuity in government led by the All Progressives Congress in Edo State.
If another political party was elected in Edo State, there would have been a very likelihood of abandoning the Azura-Edo Independent Power project and the influx of investors being witnessed today would not have been happening. Recall that during the electioneering campaigns some Edo indigenes made every effort to convince the electorate to ensure that Mr. Godwin Obaseki was elected to take over from Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who had set some building blocks upon which any progressive governor would build upon. It is good that today Edo people would look back and would not have any cause to regret casting their votes for APC but would sit back today in the comfort of their homes to savour the dividends of democracy being churned out daily by the Obaseki-led administration in the state.
There is no doubting the fact that the Edo State government under his watch has also undertaken many other reform programmes that are not only attracting investors to Edo but one that would sustain them for as long as they would remain in the state. One of them is the ease of doing business. The State Government developed a strategy to improve investment climate at a special session during the Alaghodaro Investment Summit. Ahead of the Summit, Governor Obaseki had set up a committee to develop a blueprint for the development of the Gelegele port.
The committee undoubtedly did a thorough job from the briefs that came out to public view. Even the governor, while receiving the report, lauded the committee for a job well done. In his considered opinion as the chief executive of the state, for Edo State to be economically viable she must have access to water transportation as this remains one of the fastest means to grow the economy of any state or nation.
Obaseki equally believes that the Gelegele seaport is a critical infrastructure needed to build on the investments his administration has attracted to the state within the short period he has served. It is also his consideration that the successful building of the sea port will enhance the process of rich agricultural produce moving out of the state in a cost-efficient manner to both the local and global market as under the Federal Government economic recovery plan, states were asked to develop their economic blue print that will stimulate exportation.
The massive re-construction of several roads across the state is also contributing to the ease of doing business and why more investors are flocking the state. Several roads have either been reconstructed, maintained or new ones constructed. Sometimes ago, the Edo State Governor embarked on a special trip to China with a sole aim of wooing investors to the state. While in China, he reportedly held several meetings with potential investors and told them to come and co-invest in the state in the area of building industrial and agricultural parks in line with the vision of his administration in creating jobs for the teeming unemployed youths of the state.
Aside getting investors to invest in building industrial and agricultural parks in the state, Governor Obaseki also wooed some other investors to see how they can come to co-invest with the state in the area of power plant in Gelegele where he is planning to establish a sea port that would open the state up for import and export businesses. Getting the Chinese to co-invest in the establishment of another power plant in Gelegele would certainly help to boost the development of the sea port to tap the full potentials and opportunities that such an effort would bring to the state. Another power plant in Gelegele patterned after the Azura-Edo Independent Power Plant would obviously complement the Azura plant which the state government has actively supported to bolster power supply in the entire state. Putting more effort and energy in improving power supply in the state and possibly stabilising it is the tonic needed by any society for it to be industrialised. There cannot be industrialisation without adequate power supply.
From all indications, there is a clear move by the government to massively develop the state and grow the eoconomy which will in turn provide jobs for our teeming unemployed young men and women who are daily being produced from various universities and other tertiary educational institutions.
Agriculture, tourism/hospitality, trade, housing, and commerce among several other sectors require electiricty to thrive and the Edo Government is on course in sustaining all business in the state. It is, therefore important that all Edo sons and daughters both at home and in Diaspora should join hands with Governor Obaseki to bring this idea to fruition in the overall interest of all Edos, particularly, the upcoming generations.
Mr. Dan Owegie is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Edo State.