Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State will mark his third-year anniversary on November 12, 2019. In recognition of his reforms and achievements, the burgeoning private sector in the state is rallying for the third edition of the Alaghodaro Summit to interrogate the progress made and set the state on the path of prosperity for the future, writes Sunday Okobi
In the annals of development, only few can boast of engendering drastic change in the life of their people in a short time, reversing decade-old prejudices and obstacles that impinge on the people’s dignity and collective prosperity.
Gradually, through what could be described as a systematic, frugal allocation of scarce resources, Edo State is joining the league of sub-national entities that are rewriting their story through pragmatic policy reforms, programmes and initiatives.
The Alaghodaro Summit series are annual events held to showcase these gradual, steady steps, unveiling the numerous reforms and initiatives that have created opportunities for prosperity – driven by Edo people and the state’s burgeoning investors – and opened up the space to interrogate and challenge conventions that impede progress, with a view to correcting them.
On mounting the saddle as Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, espoused plans for resetting the state’s economic base as well as restoring the dignity of Edo people, anchored on six thematic pillars for development, which touch on all indices of human development.
This year’s edition is the third in the series organised by the state in partnership with the private sector. It is being held to mark the governor’s third year anniversary in office. It showcases reforms, policies and programmes implemented by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration in the state, which are opening up space for private investment, inclusive economic growth and improvement of the people’s livelihood.
Themed ‘Delivering to Our People: The Next Level,’ the 2019 edition of the summit focuses on showcases the overreaching impact of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administrations reforms on all sectors of the state, furthering the governor’s vision of building a total society in Edo.
Edo’s changing healthcare landscape
Governor Obaseki on October 31 launched the Edo State Social Health Insurance/Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) as well as revamped Primary Healthcare Centers under the Edo- Primary Health Improvement Programme.
The state had made an initial contribution of N100m to access the BHCPF, opening up opportunities to energise its health insurance programme. All of this tie up to an organic plan to retool the primary healthcare system to be able to meet the needs of ordinary Edo people.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Governor Obaseki said the focus of his administration was to improve the lives of the people through good education and provision of basic healthcare services accessible to all Edo people and residents.
He noted his administration set out to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to residents of the state, adding that his administration is focused on human capacity development by providing good education and quality healthcare services.
“Our emphasis and the bulk of money accrue to the state is dedicated to improve the lives of the people of Edo State through quality health and education. We are spending more than 50 per cent of our recurrent expenditure on healthcare and education.
“Edo Health Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP) will enable us deal with health challenges in the state. This means total revamp of our entire health system from basic to secondary and specialist care. Edo-HIP is comprehensive,” he added.
The governor noted that the focus of his administration is to establish 230 PHCs across Edo State as the centers to serve as referral centers, noting, “You will not be attended to in General Hospitals without referral from your PHCs.”
On training and support for health officials, Obaseki said, “We have put in Information Communication Technology (ICT) to help capture information and pass it to a central database. The information gathered will be used for referrals. All over the world, healthcare services are not cheap but affordable, which is achieved by pulling resources together.
“We have established a Health Insurance Agency in Edo State backed by law for every citizen, as its now compulsory for every Edo citizen to have health insurance. You will be given a card that will enable you access healthcare in the state provided you are enrolled. For the civil servant and local government workers in Edo State, they will be compulsorily enrolled into the scheme from 1st January 2020. Finance will not hold citizens back from getting healthcare.”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that the BHCPF would commit N573m to enable Edo people to benefit from essential services after the details are worked out and the healthcare system begins to function, adding, “the fund is disbursed to states equitably and on per capital basis using a poverty index determined by the World Bank.
“This will guarantee that the BHCPF will reach the deserving population and reduce inequality in access to health services, particularly by the vulnerable. Public Health Emergencies and other emergency medical services shall also be addressed through the fund.”
Ehanire said “the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to its mandate of improving the health and productivity of Nigerians in its commitment to human capital development, consistent with national goals in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). His desire is to lift 100 million Nigeria out of poverty in the next 10 years.”
Edo-BEST: revamping basic education for results
On education, the state government has revamped the basic education sector by training and equipping 11,300 teachers with tech-based tools and skills to deliver technology-driven education to not less than 300,000 pupils across 918 schools in the state.
Governor Obaseki was awarded the Best Performing Governor in 2019 for the impact of the Edo-BEST programme as well as his prioritisation of teachers’ welfare in the state, which has led to improved outcome in primary schools across the state.
The programme is designed to develop a highly-skilled teaching workforce by training, supporting and motivating them to succeed in the classroom.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, said the programme will, “develop a highly-skilled teaching workforce by training, supporting and motivating Edo State teachers to succeed in the classroom of tomorrow, empowering our children to compete effectively in the world of work. The programme will leapfrog the basic education delivery systems by leveraging technology to gather and utilise accurate and timely data to drive policy and planning decisions.”
Checks showed that in public schools across the state where teachers now teach with tablets and other digital teaching aids, parents and guardians are hurriedly registering their children to benefit from the new teaching methods.
It was learnt that the parents are pulling their children from private schools to the public schools, which have been revamped under the Edo-BEST programme.
Enagbare, a parent who withdrew three of his children from a private school to be registered at Oba Akenzua Primary School in Oredo Local Government, said he was impressed with the transformation of the schools in the state.
Job Creation: EdoJobs multifaceted jobs drive
Committed to ensuring that the state is reset from its status as a civil service state to one that is driven by productivity on the back of its teeming, education youth population, the state government established the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), to actualize the governor’s promise of creating 200,000 jobs in his first term in office.
Not less than 150,000 jobs have already been created, including training programmes in technical and vocational skills, technology innovation and business acceleration, among others.
The Edo Production Centre, a novel initiative to drive is being built-in partnership with the Market Development for the Niger Delta (MADE) II programme, Benson Idahosa University (BIU) and the Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa, the United States of America. It would be a multipurpose, one-stop-shop for small businesses. share support infrastructure such as 24 hours electricity, security and low-cost financing to help boost economic growth in the state.
Another major contributor to the state’s burgeoning tech scene, which now incubates young innovators is the Edo Innovation Hub. The Hub, which also houses the South South Innovation Hub, is a cluster for innovators and inventors in Benin City, and is priming youth to evolve and strengthen the technology ecosystem in the state.
Head, EdoJobs, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said the state government has done a lot in energizing the economy by engaging youths and providing opportunities for the to garner skills or to improve their chances for employability.
According to her, “We have struck a number of partnerships with businesses within the state and beyond, aimed at upskilling our youths. A number of them have gotten employed while many others are self-employed. Our strategy is wholistic and takes the issue of job creation from different fronts, ensuring that youths are best served with the right opportunities to explore their potentials.”
One of the innovative projects to drive industrialisation by the Obaseki-led administration is the Edo Production hub. The facility provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and artisans with 24-hour electricity, business support, market development and industry linkage opportunities.
It currently serves as a mini-replica of the big businesses and diverse industries expected at the Benin Enterprise and Industrial Park. The facility allows small businesses to share support infrastructure like security and low-cost financing to help boost economic growth in the state.
The Local Organising Committee for the 2019 Alaghodaro Summit recently released the programme of activities to mark the third-year anniversary of the Alaghodaro Summit, adding that the business summit will evaluate the administration’s achievements and propose ways to deepen their impact on Edo people and residents.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the five-day event would commence with the women’s summit/Jumat service on Friday, 8th November, 2019.
According to him, the women summit will be followed by a golf tournament on Saturday, November 9, while a special thanksgiving service will take place on Sunday, 10 November, 2019. Also, the 2019 Alaghodaro will feature a Job Summit on Monday 11 and while the Edo Summit holds on Tuesday 12, 2019, with the theme, “Delivering to the People, The Next Level”.
“The Women’s summit will present an opportunity for women groups to engage with relevant stakeholders and brainstorm on the government’s programmes as well as explore ways to contribute to efforts to drive inclusive social growth for women to improve their socio-economic conditions.
“The fair will also feature experts, businessmen, captains of industry and employers of labour and showcase the governor’s commitment to promoting social inclusion through intervention programmes on industrialization, jobs creation, affordable housing, reforms in basic education and primary health care.
“Over 150,000 jobs have been created directly and indirectly through EdoJobs, in addition to the several trainings that are ongoing to improve skills. The governor has achieved so much in the education sector with the EdoBEST (Basic Education Sector Transformation).”