Obi inaugurates one of the projects
Edo State government recently inaugurated the 24 reconstructed classrooms with staff offices and modern furniture and the rebuilt six-lane Akpakpava Road fitted with street lights, walkways and underground drainage, writes Anayo Okolie
No doubt, the essence of governance is to provide the basic necessities of life for the teeming mass of the people. For Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, governance is much more than putting food on the table of a poor man. To fulfill part of his obligation to the people of the state, the governor invited his Anambra State counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, to inaugurate the 24 reconstructed classrooms and staff offices equipped with modern furniture and the rebuilt the six-lane Akpakpava Road with street lights, walkways and underground drainage in Benin City.
Since Oshiomhole assumed office, he believes that the best way to prepare children, which he describes as the leaders of tomorrow, is to provide them with the necessary skills that will prepare them physically, mentally and socially for what lies ahead of them in future.
Speaking during the inauguration of the projects, Obi described them as Oshiomhole’s commitment to transforming Edo State into a modern society.
Obi said: “I came here on the invitation of the governor. I can say it anywhere, he is a man who cares. It is better to place your trust on a man you know. How many governors have visited your school? You know who cares for you.
“Those of you who know Benin five years ago know there is a difference now. It is better to place your trust on a man who cares. I am commissioning the new six-lane Akpakpava road because of the commitment of the people’s governor.”
He, however, advised the people to remain prayerful for the leaders of the country so that they could continue to use public money for the good of the people of the country.
Oshiomhole, who spoke after his counterpart, noted that the importance of education to the nation’s growth could not be over emphasised. He said it would enable the country to attain technological development if things are done right.
The governor disclosed that the future of Nigeria does not depend on the quantity of liquid minerals. He said, what distinguishes a failed nation from a successful one is not only a function of natural endowment but the quality of the human capital.
According to him, the government would continue to reposition public schools to enhance the future of the children that will guarantee nation building and banish poverty because it is a means of investing directly on the children.
If the leaders must secure the future of the nation, Oshiomhole added: “we have to directly invest in the children because the future of our country is in the hands of the children and my administration has taken a bold step to reposition the educational system in the state to enable us meet international standard.”
The governor further appealed to parents to take proper care of their children, adding that poverty must not be an excuse for lack of parental care, where the future of the Nigerian child was involved, adding that conscious effort should be made by all to eradicate child-labour in the country.
“We are determined to build on the projects we have started. We would continue to give education the attention it deserves. Until the last school is built we would not relent. The reason for my second term ambition is to enable us to take transformation to all the schools in the 192 wards in the state,” Oshiomhole said.
To provide durable roads in the state, Oshiomhole added: “We are also building roads to communities; you don’t fight poverty by buying tea and putting it on the table for a poor man. But, you alleviate poverty by constructing roads to communities to enable the villagers take their farm produce to the market; that is when you are helping them economically.
“Our research indicated that we need to construct more canals in about five different basins within Benin to be able to drain flood from the roads we are constructing into those primary canals that will take them eventually to either Ogba River or Ikpoba River. If we did not deal with that, we could wake up one day as happened in Lagos and in some parts of the country that Benin City is inside water; this has happened not only in Nigeria but, in so many parts of the world.”
According to him, it is the responsibility of government to create an enabling environment for the private sector to set up their business. He noted that the real thing around the world is that government must invest in infrastructure such as roads, water, education so that you can have citizens that are skilled and therefore are employable.
“It is important that you have roads so that those who want to invest in business do not use their capital to construct or repair roads, you extend electricity so that they can be connected to power because if there are no good roads, if you are to build a factory at Okpekpe for example; how do you carry the raw materials to Okpekpe? How do you evacuate the finished products? How do you get your skilled workers to agree to work there? In fact, the reason we started on roads is to be able to deliver on the basic needs of the poor, the starting point is access to site,” the governor said.
In order to eliminate poverty, Oshiomhole said: “You must integrate every community into the economy of the state and the starting point is roads. Road is one of those basic infrastructure. Ask people who have travelled far and wide. When you talk about the Chinese economy growing with ten percent digit over the years, it is not just so because they started building factories, those factories are the result that the fact exists that they have already put the basic amenities in place such as provision of electricity.”
Oshiomhole said further: “My understanding of youth empowerment is basically to give them skills and I also believe that the state should lead by example. Whereas, I am convinced that government can’t create all the jobs. I also believe that government can lead by creating some jobs in the public sector and that is why we have already set up Edo Youth Employment Scheme.”
Under that scheme, the governor added: “We have employed people and the disabled people or physically challenged also have their quota where we train them on traffic control, sanitary inspectors, environmental sanitation, road maintenance, road and street sweeping and neighborhood watch.”
In his welcome address, the Enogie of Egbaen/ Ogbeson, His Royal Highness, Aduwa Ogiegbaen, said: “I have had to assess your performance as a governor each time our parts cross and on each occasion I have to dig deep into the repertoire of my vocabulary to describe you and your developmental strides.”
According to the royal father, “the good work you have done in Edo State stand you in good stead to return to the Government House for a second term. I wouldn’t fail to say that you are an astute administrator, who is attending to political, social, and economic matters, one who has an amazing appetite for attending to the needs of the people, a man of the people, a political superman, an idealistic and energetic firebrand and above all, a practical democrat.”