By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Benin City, capital of Edo State yesterday stood still when the Chairman, Edo State Economic Team, Mr. Godwin Obaseki officially declared his intention to run for the 2016 governorship election under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It was also an endorsement galore as Obaseki announced the state Commissioner for Works in Oshiomhole’s cabinet, Mr. Osarodion Ogie as his Campaign Director.
The new Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, led other members of the state House of Assembly to endorse him, while Majority Leader of the House, Folly Ogedengbe endorsed Obaseki on behalf of the Edo North people, former Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Lucky Imasuen did same on behalf of Edo South while the Deputy Speaker of the House Justin Okonobo endorsed him on behalf of the people of Edo Central.
Others who endorsed him include the youth wing of APC led by Mr. Tony Kabaka, ALGON led by Morrison, market women and several leaders of the party. The traditional Urhokpota hall was filled to the brim while members of the state Executive Council were also present.
Ogie who endorsed Obaseki on behalf of members of the Governor Adams Oshiomhole Political family, said they would not embark on any hate campaign because “we have a good product. You cannot build your house and abandon it for a tenant to take over. People are shouting continuity, continuity, what are you going to continue, it is Oshiomhole’s work.
“Who is the best person to do the work, Obaseki. The game just started, we will not abuse anybody but anybody that abuses us, we will reply. I speak for Oshiomhole political family we have endorse Obaseki and the game has just began”.
Obaseki in his address said “as this administration comes to an end, we are faced with new challenges, as you all know the price of crude oil has reduced significantly therefore Nigeria is not able to earn enough foreign exchange to import its goods and services. This has brought economic hardship to many of us. These challenges pose new threats to us. In the face of these challenges, we need a leadership with fresh and original ideas to help us face these challenges, so that we can build on the success of the Oshiomhole led administration.
“We must be courageous and determined to achieve the goals we want for our people. I therefore stand before you today, on the shoulders of the successes built by the current administration over the last seven and half years, we have transformed Edo State in all aspects. However, the Edo project is still work in progress and we are now in the most delicate part of the journey. We cannot afford any reversal in the achievements we have made today.
“There are a lot more we still need to do. We still have to construct thousands of kilometres of road into our rural communities and into farms. We still need to improve our school infrastructure. We need to further strengthen our service delivery to our people, we need to address the unemployment problem which is facing us. It will be a huge risk for all of us if we reverse political powers to those who lack the deep understanding of how we got to where we are and how we have achieved what we have achieved and how we will make the link between what we have achieved and our future.
“If we make the mistake of giving power to such people we will go back and suffer more than we have ever suffered before. By the grace of God that will never happen in Edo State. I am very proud and happy that I have been an integral part of the success we have achieved in Edo State. The knowledge I have gained in the last seven and half years have put me in a unique position to understand what is required to take Edo to the next level.
“ I believe that I can fly Edo higher. What Edo state needs today is a leader who in addition to political sagacity has the managerial, and intellectual experience to manage the state in this difficult time. Over the last sixteen weeks, I have consulted extensively with elder statesmen across the state, with my colleagues in government, with my family and friends and with delegates around the 192 wards of Edo state, I stand before you today with the commitment to ensuring that what we have achieved is not only sustained but so that we can guarantee the future of our children.
“So that we can provide empowerment for our women, our pensioners, civil servants, markets women, our artisans with deeper involvement with our traditional institutions. I therefore announce to you all that I am seeking the ticket of the APC so that can fly the flag of APC come September 10, 2016. I pledge to build Edo state that has a strong economy, I will continue to build the infrastructural revolution that we have started.
“We have been able to manage the finances of Edo State better and ensured that there is transparency in government. We have improved service delivery to our people through the use of ICT. This government has executed several projects in all aspects, it is because of this transparency that Edo State remains the only few states that has been able to pay salaries” he stated.
According to him, “It will be a sin against God and my people if I walk away from Edo State with the knowledge and experience that I have gathered. It will be unpatriotic not to stand and be counted. Over the last thirty years I have had successful experience in the private sector and over the last seven years I have been part of the most successful administration in Nigeria which is Edo State”.