‘If Generating Wealth is an Olympic Event, Obaseki Will Win Gold’

Paul Ohonbamu


Adibe Emenyonu writes that Mr. Paul Ohonbamu,  Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation is confident that his boss, Governor Godwin Obaseki has the capacity to make Edo a miracle economy




What has been your experience working with a Governor Obaseki who is not a typical politician? 

The Governor  is dedicated, purposeful and  committed. In choosing portfolios, he knows what suits everyone. He knows what he wants to get and he places people accordingly. This is government by objective, administration by objective. He has kept government clean. Anything that brings mud to the administration is not entertained. He has blocked loopholes in revenue. The governor believes the rule of law must prevail. It is the law that governs  the governor and the governor guides us. The governor is the voice of the law while the law is its own master. We have a governor who believes that Edo must work, Edo must succeed. We are focusing on the people in this second year anniversary. Edo people should continue to pray for the Edo project.

There are concerns over the many MOUs entered into by Obaseki which are yet to materialise?

Signing of MOU is entering into an agreement, setting the pace so that we know how everyone works. We have released N700m for the modular refinery. If the MOU is worthless, President Buhari will not be part of it in China. The governor travelled with the President to China to finalise deals on the Benin River Port, industrial park and modular refinery. The work at the industrial park is not to be done by the state government. Dunlop has collected a portion. Many Chinese firms have secured places at the park. Government can only provide enabling environment and security.

Is Obaseki getting his act right  politically?

Politics, just like democracy is an unfinished business. Everyone has his own way of doing things. There are certain things he has done that he did not do unilaterally. All appointments he made came through party leaders in all the wards. There can be cacophony of voices in terms of contract but in critical decisions the governor has taken, he has carried them along. The governor will always refer you to the party. He has SAs in every ward. His modus maybe different but it is still for the Edo project. His kind of politics is unique to him and it is not favourable to many people because of what they are used to. When he calls leaders, they listen to him. He is surrounded by politicians in government. If generating wealth is an Olympic event, Obaseki will win gold.

The opposition has always accused the governor of not spending money on security which they claim is the cause of insecurity in the state

Solving security issues are things you cannot see. They are sensitive. They are not for public consumption. Ask yourself why criminals are arrested within 24 hours of committing crime. There are other ways resources are spent on security. At a time Hilux vans and communication gadgets were given to security agencies. The governor likes to deal with security issues without making noise. Do you see him flagging off projects but projects are going on. He wants to achieve results.

Has the Obaseki government achieved his plans in terms of the six thematic areas?

Governor Obaseki has done superlatively well. We have not had it so good as we have now. Obaseki has improved on the legacy of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He has taken development further. We now have a God sent Governor who has taken development to the door step of everyone. All the areas of the state have been touched. At the inception of this government, we gave six thematic pillars which will drive the government. In the area of economic revolution, there is job creation, industrialization and agricultural improvement. Because of the far reaching reforms we have carried out, Presco Company recently commended us because of the expansion of its farm.

We reformed the Geographical Information System (GIS) for easy land administration. We want to allocate land to those who really want to do business in Edo and who want to treat land the way it should be treated.

Governor Obaseki has emphasised the need for wealth creation. This will enhance both micro and economic life of the people. We want to make Edo the miracle economy. In wealth creation, we have the EdoJobs where we carry out skill acquisition, skill development, enterprise development and job matching. We are into partnership with some big firms in the area of job matching. Beneficiaries of programmes packaged through EdoJobs stand at 45,392.

What is happening to the legacy projects like Benin River Port?

We have expanded the scope of the terrain of our industrialization. The whole idea is to make Edo the miracle economy of this region. Apart from the industrial park, we have the Bénin River Port that will be used to export manufactured goods. Obaseki has linked water ways. The process is on to have police post in the riverine communities to provide security in the water ways. The last time the governor travelled to China with President Buhari, Obaseki entered into agreement with the oldest university in China on how to carry out technical assistance in any tertiary institution for the purpose of manufacturing equipment needed for various purposes in the state. We will be manufacturing many things here.

People are complaining about roads 

In terms of infrastructural development, Obaseki has done a lot in road construction. In Edo Central, over 21 roads have been constructed even in local government areas where PDP chieftains hail from. In the village of the State Chairman of PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, the Governor has constructed several roads. In Esan West, we have constructed Ekpoma township road and other adjoining roads. At Igueben we have done several roads. Down in Edo South, you can see how the Governor has transformed the city. Obaseki has brought sanity to the state and the system. When Obaseki came in, he discovered that development will be the greatest casualty in an unstable polity so he removed those things that will cause hindrance like the Community Development Associations. Obaseki obliterated all those things that will stalk development. You can move around and see people building houses without molestation unlike before when people pay through their nose.

Some party chieftains accuse the governor of using police to harass them

Whoever has infraction with the law is punished. Obaseki believes that the law should be blind to personality and political parties. For him, whoever has driven on the devil’s express way must not expect to arrive at God’s destination. Whoever has slept on the laps of Delilah cannot expect to wake up in the bosom of Abraham. There is punishment for any infraction. Any action committed that is on the other side of the law cannot be accidental.

There are complaints about depleting work force in the state civil service

Institutional reforms in the civil service have seen to the training and retraining of civil servants. The Governor has said he will not sack anybody. The 21st century illiterate is not the person who cannot read and write but the one who cannot learn and relearn. Government has ensured that there is training going on by leveraging on technology. There is remodeling of our secretariat. We want to make sure all our offices are in one building to make governance easy. Edo is one of the states with the ease of doing business. The idea is to make Edo a one-stop shop. Edo is now an attraction to investors. They are now coming here. Those who cannot key into the security architecture and the peaceful tendencies will have to leave. It is not possible for sinners to live in Edo. In the education sector, Obaseki said it is not good to address the symptoms so we have to cure the rots in the sector from the basic education. Our Edo BEST programme is the best in the country. Three weeks ago, we graduated over 7000 teachers leveraging on technology. They now use tablets to teach. If you meet a primary one pupil from our public school, you will marvel at the improvement.