Obaseki: One Year on

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Godspower Adolor

Considering that having an assessment of every venture is very germane, it becomes imperative to carry out a retrospective look at the last 12 months of the Godwin Obaseki administration in Edo State with a match of his promises and his performance.
The key imprint of the agenda heralded at the beginning of his electioneering campaign was to achieve economic prosperity for the state.

It was such that raised hopes that Edo would be transformed into a prosperous land in various aspects of endeavour.
Apart from the key promise of overwhelming prosperity, Obaseki had at his inauguration on November 12, 2016, pledged to provide the needed leadership to move the state forward by building on the foundations of his predecessor.

“Today, as we begin our journey to build a new Edo State, I want to repeat and affirm that promise to create 200,000 in the next four years. And we will achieve this by leveraging our comparative advantages and our key factor endowments in production and commerce. We will focus on commerce and agro-business value chain. Entrepreneurship, investment in industries and technical and vocational skills.

“Many of the fundamental socio-economic development has been put in place by you Comrade Oshiomhole, we need to strengthen and expand the infrastructure that has been established so that we can have a foundation of which to build a new Edo State of our passionate dream, ” he stated upon assumption of office.
He promised to accord the welfare of the people, infrastructural development, agro-allied and industrial growth, job creation, and completion of all ongoing projects in parts of the state, topmost priority.

One year into his four-year term, an analysis of the major promises of prosperity shows the administration succeeding in most sectors and hardly struggling to attain key parameters.
Effective government policies and reforms have been put in place to attract huge investments into the state’s manufacturing sector, strengthen backward linkages within the sector and ensure the production of quality outputs in a competitive manner.
The governor’s promise of job creation, which many especially youths are so concerned about has resulted in the creation of thousands of jobs within a short time.

Indeed, the march to the two-million jobs pledge commenced with the employment of 4,200 youths across the state under the Edo state public works programme on July 1, 2017.
In addition to that, the governor directed the engagement and training of 50 civil engineers to supervise the programme.

The beneficiaries worked across the state on 45 inner roads selected under the special window.
At that time, the governor promised to engage another set of 4,200 in August under another window for the construction and maintenance of another set of 55 roads, culminating in almost 100 kilometres across the state.

Of course, some would question the yardstick used for employing the youths in a country with high unemployment rate. However, Obaseki’s preparedness for governance made that possible with the successful applicants being sourced from the database of unemployed youths developed by the government for the Edo Jobs initiative.

The efforts of the state government in removing barriers to trade and investment include the signing into law, the Private Property Protection Law. The law has criminalised the activities of Community Development Associations in the state.
The CDAs were notorious for harassing landowners by making them pay all sorts of illegal levies and fraudulently sold people’s property until the PPA Law was put in place by the Obaseki-led government.

Similar events had taken place across the state resulting in the noticeable improvements in various sectors.
For instance, the resuscitation of the Auchi Fertilizer factory and the Okpella Cement factory and the blueprint on sports were also products of summits convened by the administration.

The recent award of contract for the construction of 20 stadiums, in the 18 Local Government Areas of the state and two in Oredo Local Government Area was birthed by the blueprint on sports.
Interestingly, when the intervention in sports is completed, there is no doubt that the state will regain its lost glory in sports.

In the health sector, the prospects of having affordable healthcare in the state are now certain given the ratification of a new Health Bill titled the Edo State Health Law 2017, which will domesticate the National Health Act of 2014.
Instructively, it was learned that the benefits of the bill include the remodeling and standardization of the health system in the state particularly the primary health care which covers 70 percent of the state’s health challenges.

Accordingly, when passed into law, it will enable the state government to roll out Primary Health Care Models in the three senatorial districts, the 18 Local Government Areas and the 192 wards in the state.
The Central Hospital in Benin City is home to a multi-million Naira project, which, when completed, would compete with any modern hospital in the world. It seeks to end medical tourism in the state.

Speaking on that recently, Obaseki said: “meaningful health care system in Nigeria would be a mirage if government fails to invest in the primary health care sub-sector which is the foundation of a growing society.”

Education was not also left out in the ongoing transformation and consolidation in the state, as his focus on basic and technical education would definitely transform schools in the state into models that would produce technically sound youth population needed for industrialisation.
Summarily, these are undoubtedly inspiring signs that Edo is truly working.

–Adolor, a commentator on national affairs writes from Ikpoba Okha