Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
New Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, were yesterday sworn in amidst fanfare in Benin City, as the baton of leadership shifted from the former Governor Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu.
Obaseki and Shaibu, who were both elected in the September 28 governorship election, were sworn in by the Chief Judge of Edo state, Justice Cromwell Idahosa at about 12.29 pm and 12.00 noon respectively, at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium, venue of the swearing in ceremony amidst cheers from the public.
The ceremony, where Obaseki pledged good leadership and development, was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; and the Governors of Lagos, Ogun, Imo, Kaduna, Adamawa, Bauchi and Plateau States.
Other personalities present included business moguls and captains of industries like Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Capt Hosa Okunbor, Aig Imuokhuede, APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the National Organising Secretary of APC, Osita Izunaso and Mr. Segun Oni, APC National Vice Chairman, South West among others.
Speaking after taking the oath of allegiance, Obaseki said he would not renege on his campaign promises, but to reaffirm his willingness to achieve prosperity for the state through creation of jobs, consolidate of the gains of eight years of outgone Governor Oshiomhole, build more schools to ensure education is available to all the people of the state, construct intra-city roads and complete all ongoing projects, as well as fill all job vacancies in the civil service.
According to him, “even though the next four years is uncertain, we are full of promises”.
The newly elected governor who further promised to pursue the well-being of the people with relentless vigour, thanked his predecessor, Oshiomhole for his leadership in Edo state, resolving to build on his legacy.
One of the ways he intends to achieve this, he said, is to expand and strengthen infrastructure laid down to build the new Edo state.
Recalling his campaign promises to build prosperity for the people, he restated his commitment to the creation of 200,000 jobs in the next four years by focusing on the state’s comparative advantage in agriculture, agric-business, commerce industrialisation, entrepreneurship, technical and vocational skills.
He promised to fill the vacancies in the civil service and optimise job creation potentials, adding that agriculture will be the focus of his socio-economic programme and that he would move Edo out of its current subsistence farming to commercial farming.
Additionally, he said, “We will help small and medium scale enterprises by creating an enabling environment for them to thrive. Edo State government will establish a one-stop shop to provide incentive and support to make it easier for our people to provide goods and services.
“We will continue to consolidate on the gains of the last eight years by continuing the infrastructural revolution and urban renewal intimation which our Comrade started.
“We will continue to improve on educational infrastructure by building more schools to ensure that education is available to all Edo children. We will equally pay attention to the development of our intra-city roads network to enhance urban dwelling comfort and ease traffic. Lastly, we will complete all ongoing projects.”
Other area of focus, Obaseki noted is ICT, which he said would be the key component for him to realise his objectives, hence he will make proliferation of broadband a priority.
On health, he said his government will partner with the private sector and the international community to making Edo a centre of excellence in the delivery of healthcare, adding that preventive medicine will be prioritize by his government.
Furthermore, he identified the strengthening of the criminal justice system, support for the police and other law enforcement agencies and speedy resolution of disputes as key areas that must be improved upon in order to having a more secured society
Obaseki said he intended to extend hand of fellowship to the opposition parties, remarking that after a hard-fought campaign, he was willing to gather ideas that have been articulated by all parties and integrate them for the transformation of Edo State.
“We are studying and will continue to study this ideas and seek with diligence to select what holds promise for our people and our state. The task ahead is not that of government alone; we are all in this together to bring enviable change to Edo State irrespective of our political, religious or ethnic differences.
Earlier, and shortly after taking the oath of allegiance, Obaseki was driven in a motorcade round the stadium, waving hands and acknowledging cheers from the public. There was also march past by pupils and students of public schools in the state, Labour unions and other voluntary organisations in the state. Also present were various cultural dances that came to spice up the ceremony.