Thewill Editorial: Tasks Before The New Governor Of Edo State
BEVERLY HILLS, November 16, (THEWILL) – After a tension-soaked governorship electioneering, then candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, prevailed at the polls and was last week sworn in as the fifth elected governor of Edo State. Also inaugurated was his deputy, Mr. Phillip Shaibu.
Obaseki's inauguration is symbolic in many ways. He took over from a labour veteran, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who many had commended for his performance during his two terms in office.
The ex-governor is believed to have transformed the state in several ways, especially in road construction, education, infrastructure and growth of the internally generated revenue, IGR.
Given these landmark achievements, it is obvious that the tasks before the new governor are enormous. If the APC is to consolidate on these tall gains, it is imperative that Obaseki maintains the tempo and surpass them.
THEWILL recalls that the battle to the Government House was not a walk in the park for the new governor. His major challenger, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gave him a good fight that culminated into a slim margin of victory.
Considering that the polarization of Edo people and the heating up of the polity is yet to simmer down, THEWILL urges Obaseki to heal the wounds created by the very bitter governorship contest. He must set up a reconciliatory team to mend fences with his political enemies as this would earn their support and cooperation in the critical task of governance.
Since the new governor was the Chairman of Oshiomhole's Economic and Strategy Team, it is expedient that he justifies his meriting of the position by performing greater than he did in his erstwhile position.
While many states in the country had been unable to pay salaries, Oshiomhole's administration did not only pay regularly, but even increased the minimum wage of civil servants. The new governor must deploy his mouthed economic prowess to ensure that there is continuity in that direction, especially against the backdrop of his promise to create 200,000 jobs in his first term.
One way to accomplish these tasks is by attracting local and foreign investors to transform the state from the current civil service status to a cosmopolitan industrial area.
In agriculture, Obaseki should ensure that his administration harnesses the vast agricultural potentials in the state. For instance, many decades ago, Edo state was a leading producer of palm oil and rubber. Today, the products have gone extinct.
As part of his promise to reposition agriculture, the then APC candidate had promised to “Focus on oil palm, rubber, cassava, rice and cocoa, explore the growth opportunities in fruits and vegetable farming, aqua-culture, animal husbandry and poultry”.
These are laudable proposals which must be harnessed to transform the state into a great employer of labour.
Obaseki must holistically address the issue of women trafficking and prostitution over which the state had been disparaged across the world. His promise to empower women through small-scale businesses and girl-child education must top the priority of his government.
He must however learn from the mistakes of his predecessor by being less dictatorial and improving his relationship with traditional rulers, which was reportedly soured in the last days of the former government with the unseating of a monarch over unconfirmed allegations.
The new governor must adopt the principle of even development in the 18 local government areas in the state. This is essential to douse the allegation against Oshiomhole that Edo north, where he hailed from, was more favoured in the siting of infrastructural projects.
A case in point was the new Edo State University, which he sited in his village, Iyamho. This was despite the fact that another state varsity; Ambrose Alli University already exists at Ekpoma, few kilometers from his village. Besides, Auchi Polytechnic, though a federal institution, is also a stone-throw to the new university.
Still on education, THEWILL tasks Obaseki to immediately reduce the high school fees that the ex-governor introduced in the state schools. It is painful that the exorbitant fees have made many students to withdraw from the institutions.
Also, the new governor should harness the different resources that abound in the state for the benefit of all, irrespective of political differences. This is the only way to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the state.
In the area of road construction and renovation of schools, he must ensure that the three senatorial districts equally benefit. Obaseki should reflect on his campaign promises and immediately constitute a professional team to expedite actions on his blueprint for governance.
Beyond these, he must make the state financially healthy by scaling down the huge debt profile which his predecessor had plunged the state. He must also lesson the burden of the people by reducing the multiple taxes currently paid by Edo people.