By Shaibu Danesi
GOVERNOR Godwin Obaseki’s leadership style since inception of his administration barely three years ago has attracted much political and scholarly analysis of the principles, practices and beliefs, including what influenced him. Some have described him as a paragon of ethical living, while others define him as a more complex, contradictory and evolving character influenced by his background and circumstances.
However, he has been presented or perceived, there is no gainsaying that the social-political and economic landscape of Edo State has been transformed since he assumed the saddle of leadership of the state, a development that has earned him the popular sobriquet of ‘wake and see’ governor.
Indeed Obaseki’s style is reflected in the well thought out and noiseless manner at which projects are being conceptualized and executed across the three senatorial districts of the state. Edo State, hitherto considered a civil service state prior to the advent of this administration, is today becoming a business destination haven.
In fact, development experts from the World Bank and other credible economic assessors have predicted that with this steady developmental progression, Edo State will in the next four years become the Dubai in the South-South region and indeed Nigeria. His successes in governance, however, did not come to many as a surprise; owing to his wealth of experience as far as corporate governance is concerned.
As an investor banker and risk taker, Obaseki is reputed to have revived many ailing banks and industries which today would have been forgotten in the dustbin of history. Besides the infrastructural development in every part of the state, he has continued to approach governance with a methodology which is grounded in government bureaucracy.
His approach in governance has tripled the state’s internally generated revenue and also deployed the same resources to the development of the state that have left many bewildered.
Apart from the physical development, lots of resources have been deployed towards human capital development. His concept of modernising Edo economy is evident in Edo Innovative Hub, as a way of harnessing the energy of Edo youths into digital economy. The Benin Technical College is now revamped and ready to provide manpower and unemployment to the youths.
Sadly his record of achievements within the short time he assumed responsibility of leading the state has, however, met with resistance from those who are averse to change.
This is because enemies of success who are bent on taking the state to the dark days, have recruited hatchet writers, both in the print and social media, to de-market and smear the towering image of the governor for their selfish political interest of ‘capturing power’ in 2020.
In as much as the purpose of this piece is not to join issues with the enemies of the state, it is also pertinent to remind discerning Edo public that Obaseki cannot be cowed by their gang up.
With his training and antecedent, Obaseki is very clear about his mission and purpose for Edo State and her people. He is a man destined to make a great impact in whatever he does. No wonder many of his critics and doomsday prophets are quick to haul mud at his integrity.
It is only an enemy of Edo State who will say Obaseki doesn’t deserve a second term. Governor Obaseki is perhaps the best we have had. Those against him are people angry that he refused to share “Edo Money” with them.
Edo State has more than four million people and those of us in politics are not more than five percent. The governor was elected to serve everybody and that is what he is doing. God wants him to serve the majority. And given his wealth of experience as a technocrat and commendable performance, the opposition will even vote for the governor.
It is not only the quantity of projects that he has delivered but the quality. One can deliver 100 projects without having ten good ones. But Obaseki has not only delivered so many projects within a short period but has also delivered on projects qualitatively. “There are roads in Edo State that we thought could not be executed by any state government, one of which was Lucky Way,” some highly impressed Edo people had enthused.
It is not a question of concentrating in one senatorial district. It is unfortunate that we don’t value what we have. Some are saying some of the roads are being built by development agencies. When a good king is on the throne, the chiefs will behave appropriately; that is the case with Edo today.
Didn’t we have the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and the State Employment and Expenditure for Results, SEEFOR, in the state before?
They were just there, idle; they construct roads today, the next week the roads are washed away. The governor has worked in Edo North, South and Central. He is constructing roads in Ekpoma, Ewu, Afuze, just to mention a few.
Also worth mentioning is the tax reform the governor has introduced. And just to demonstrate that things must be done properly, he introduced electronic method to check double taxation.
One cannot help but ask: “What is Governor Godwin Obaseki’s sin?” It is simply his departure from the old order which stagnated our people for years. Like the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in life.
For those who are still fuelling and promoting division in the state, especially in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, they are only doing that with the sole aim of lining their pockets.
It is my candid advice to them to take advantage of the numerous job initiatives of the Obaseki’s administration to better their lots because the governor is not a leader who can give in to their blackmail; he certainly will not dip hands into public fund to satisfy their insatiable greed!