A frontline governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, recently declared his intention to contest the Edo State governorship election fixed for September 10. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, who was at the event, reports
Benin City, the state capital of Edo State was literally shot down last week, June 9 to be precise, when many of the uninvited visitors visited the ancient city. They came from the 18 local government areas of the state; some of them from outside the state.
With different bands entertaining the huge crowd made up of the young and the old, they were in a blissful mood, hopping up and down, boogying and hitting their foots on the ground as if they were being controlled by the demon. But they were not. They came to witness a ceremony – a “rough but hopeful” journey by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to occupy Denis Osadebe House, the Edo State number one political office through the gubernatorial election fixed for September 10 this year.
A leading governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ize-Iyamu, said his desire to contest the election is predicated on the change the state desires and not based on sloganeering or deceit.
“As the journey progresses, we shall keep you informed of all our activities and we enjoin you to be part of them. Our state cannot be left the way it is,” the governorship hopeful, who was excited by the show of love to him by thousands of supporters, states.
“We cannot continue in lamentation and suffering. Now is the time to change the unfortunate change. And the future they have always told us to wait for is not in another time; it is not in another election; it is now. This is what I represent and it is what I present to you; take it!’’
He said he had analysed the challenges facing the state, consulted widely across the 18 local government areas, and on the basis of his party’s manifesto, had come up with a robust blueprint to launch Edo State on the path to sustainable prosperity and holistic development.
The former Secretary to the Edo State Government stated after picking his form to contest the election on Thursday in Benin City that his move is a genuine roadmap to transform the state from its present “unacceptable condition of underdevelopment” to an attractive state with vibrant economy.
“My blueprint, code-named SIMPLE Agenda, offers measurable commitments that would be implemented with passion, single-mindedness, incisive competence and experience,” he stated.
Examining the issues at stake in the coming election, Ize-Iyamu said any government that intends to bring real development and prosperity to its citizens must focus on comprehensive and sustainable development that encompasses several aspects including improvement of infrastructure, health, education, human resource development, job creation, industrialisation, agriculture, security and improvement of municipal services in the state.
“Unfortunately, over the past seven years, Edo State has been denied this best practice approach to sustainable development. Rather, the state government has been obsessed with a single item, road maintenance. It completely neglected all other important areas of the development crying for attention,” he added.
The PDP chieftain who was accompanied to the state secretariat by a thousand of his supporters including, Christians, community leaders, market men and women, students from different high institutions in the state and others, said the state under the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not fared well in the past seven years. He said despite the receipt of colossal revenues that surpasses those of successive administrations, the state has the highest level of external debt of $168 million among the South-south states assuring of his determination to fix the state.
“As we proceed on this journey, I am mindful of the huge challenges ahead of us. I am aware of the apprehension of our adversaries and their desperation to maintain the status quo in spite of the cloud of depression that they have cast over the land. The change slogan they chant haunts them and justifiably so even as it reminds us that power is truly transient. But we shall prevail.
“As we begin this walk towards freedom, I am conscious of the agony and the silent cries of our long-suffering people, who have been victims of the criminal neglect of our land despite abundant resources. I carry in my heart the affliction of a people that have been made to live under the hand of taskmasters.
“I am propelled to act, inspired by the hope and confidence that our people have freely reposed in my ability to change the change, reverse the retrogression, root out the rot and clean the messy stable so that Edo may truly experience the prosperity our people deserve and desire.”
The Director-General of former President Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign in the state added: “Today, I make a solemn pledge of my commitment to give this noble enterprise my all, to do my best as could ever be expected of me.
“And sincerely, with the fear of God to run a government in Edo State that will be transparent and accountable; a government that will put the interest of the entire state far and above personal interest. I am irrevocably committed to ensuring the judicious use of our resources for the progress and development of the state.”
Ize-Iyamu added that though the journey to the Promised Land may not be long, he said the road would not be easy.
“No matter how rough and difficult the road may be, I have faith that with your prayers, wise counsel and sundry support, we shall overcome. Though we work through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us and will not let us down,” he assured his supporters, adding, “He sees our heart and knows that we mean well. Therefore, we shall not be afraid of the terror by night or the arrows that flieth by the day (PS 91:5). We go into this contest with the boldness and faith of David.
“No matter the size of the Goliath that the enemy confronts us with, in the name of our God the king of kings and the Lord of lords, we shall be victorious and the name of the Lord shall be glorified.”
On how he intends to effectively mobilise resources to execute his projects if he wins the election, Ize-Iyamu said he plans to establish an economic management team that includes the best minds in the industry and a team leader that has the credentials to perform in a holistic and broad-based manner and not the one that will promote extortive taxation.
“Edo State presently does not have a blueprint for economic development, despite the new challenges facing the country. Within six months of our coming into office, we will convene an international Edo Development Summit that will sell the Edo brand to investors both at home and abroad.
“Edo citizens are some of the most enterprising and progressive minds in economic development both within and outside the country. We will reach out to them to support our efforts to re-build a new and prosperous Edo State.”
The Regional Pastor of the Redeemed Christ Church of God added that his economic model would be based on diversification to harness the immense economic potential that abound in the state, which include agriculture, solid minerals, oil/gas, cultural products and tourism.
A trained lawyer, the governorship hopeful said although taxation would remain a veritable part of revenue generation in his government, the administration’s policy on taxation would be pursued alongside a wealth creation policy that will bring about economic empowerment of the people so as to promote happiness among the greater majority of the people.
He also promised to plug financial leakages, improve efficiency in public expenditure and build a robust and sustainable financial base for the state that will include transparent public procurement process and procedures to ensure value for money, and a leading edge funds management system anchored on cutting edge technology.
On security, he said the change he intends to purse would build brand new security system that collects information and data from all security agencies and is able to analyse and use the information to identify threat and take appropriate and timely action to deal with them proactively and decisively.
Other areas he promised to pay more attention if elected include social welfare, infrastructure development and urban renewal, road and drains, electrification, water supply, healthcare, environmental health and sanitation, housing and education.
“The programme on education under our stewardship will ensure that no Edo child is left behind. Edo State under our leadership will provide free and compulsory education from primary school up to the end of junior secondary school,” Ize-Iyamu further stated, appealing to the leaders of PDP to ensure that the process that will lead to emergency of the candidate is free, fair and acceptable to all stakeholders.
Already, the campaign organisation of the “presumptive” PDP governorship candidate has started to sensitise the people regarding the details of the recently unveiled SIMPLE agenda, tagged “A manifesto of hope”.
The group said sensitisation would be delivered to the people in a sector-by-sector analysis in order to help them know how Ize-Iyamu intends to fast track the transformation of Edo State through transparent, effective and accountable governance that will improve the living standards and social well-being of our people.
“We encourage the good people of Edo State to follow these series of analysis by our team of experts and social media commentators,” the group appealed to the people. The PDP primary election is fixed for September 20.
As we proceed on this journey, I am mindful of the huge challenges ahead of us. I am aware of the apprehension of our adversaries and their desperation to maintain the status quo in spite of the cloud of depression that they have cast over the land. The change slogan they chant haunts them and justifiably so even as it reminds us that power is truly transient. But we shall prevail