By Monday Nosakhare
Prior to his introduction as the likely successor to the former labour leader, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Mr Godwin Obaseki had worked behind the scene in Oshiomhole’s administration as the Chairman of the State Economic team.
Only a few of those in Oshiomhole’s cabinet knew that Obaseki was the engine room of the Oshiomhole administration. He worked tirelessly to ensure that funds needed to drive the programmes and policies of the administration were never short in coming, especially against the background of the dwindling monthly allocation from Abuja.
It was this reason that Oshiomhole, at many events, described Obaseki as the “brain box” of his administration, and declared that he needed a successor with financial expertise.
Even in the face of stiff opposition from other political figures, including his Deputy, Dr Pius Odubu, Oshiomhole insisted that with the economic woes being witnessed in the country, Obaseki remained his choice of successor.
Having emerged the candidate of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship poll, Obaseki and the former labour leader, went around the nooks and crannies of the state to canvass for votes for the elections which the APC later emerged victoriously.
Obaseki told the people, on the day of his inauguration, that he was in a hurry to deliver on all his campaign promises.
To start with, he embarked upon an aggressive revenue generation drive through the deployment of technology to enhance revenue collection and minimise leakages.
This move incidentally proved to be the first and major criticism of the Obaseki led government by some individuals, who had cashed in on loopholes to corruptly enrich themselves.
The effectiveness of the system which did not take long to be noticed saw to the increment of most council’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). For instance, IGR of the 18 council areas rose from 30 million to 150 million as at November 2017.
As expected of him by his predecessor, having taken care of the issue of raising the state IGR, the governor, who has now won his way into the hearts of Edolites , embarked on institutional reforms that have seen the state taken a pole-position in educational sector, sports, judiciary, commerce, and most importantly, civil service.
On the other aspect, the ‘’wake and see governor’’ has ensured that training programmes that have eluded the civil servants for years were restored.
The man on the rescue mission has placed the use of Information Technology in the front burner in order to enhance efficiency in the system.
The sectorial reform also belted on the state sporting activities where complete renovation and reconstruction work of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is nearing completion.
On completion, the stadium that was last renovated in 2002 for the National Sports Festival, would have a brand new tartan tracks, seats, swimming pool, boxing, lawn tennis courts, and above all, an all covered stand, as well as extended VIP and Press Gallery.
To make good his promise of ensuring that the state regains its pride of place in the sporting arena in the country, the government is also in the process of awarding contracts for the construction of 20 mini stadia across the 18 local government areas of the state.
All over the world, education is a key driver of national development and societal growth, education will determine the livelihoods of the people and drive growth and developments in generations to come.
It is in recognition of this fact that Obaseki came with his flagship project in the sector, code-named, “EdoBEST” Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation. The project aimed to transform the public education system and learning outcomes in Edo.
Within just six months of the official launch, it has unveiled 7, 000 government-trained teachers and is set to radically impact the lives of 150 000 Edo children. Ultimately, it would reach 15, 000 across 1, 500 public schools, impacting 300, 000 children.
Obaseki recognises the fact that to drive commerce, the roads must be motorable. As such, so many roads are receiving priority attention from the governor. In fact, it is in recognition of his commitment that he was nicknamed ‘Wake and see Governor’
The projects embarked upon by his administration are enormous across all sectors of the state economy.
Unfortunately, while the majority of the people appreciates this, a few, however, are not appreciative of this fact.
A chieftain of the APC in Edo State, Mr Martins Osakue, who said well-meaning politicians in the state chapter of the party are solidly behind Obaseki, admonished the governor to ignore the tantrums of a handful of self-serving politicians, who are hell-bent on cornering the state’s funds for themselves.
Osakue, who is the proprietor of Paragon Demonstration Group of Schools, insisted that only enemies of Edo State will deny Governor Godwin Obaseki a second term in office.
Osakue said only a handful of greedy politicians are against another term of office over his refusal to settle them with monies meant for the development of the state.
According to him, “Only an enemy of Edo State will say Obaseki doesn’t deserve a second term. Governor Godwin Obaseki is perhaps the best we have had.
“This state has more than 4 million people and those of us in politics are not more than 5 per cent. The governor was elected to serve everybody and that is what he is doing. God wants him to serve the majority. The opposition would even vote for the governor with his performance.”
* Nosakhare, a social commentator sent this from Abuja