Edo people set agenda for Obaseki’s government
Obaseki emerged winner of the keenly contested September 28 governorship election after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him victorious in 13 out of the 18 local government areas of the state.
The announced results showed that Obaseki polled 319,483 votes to defeat his closest rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 253,173 votes.
Ever since, there have been diverse reactions on the outcome but the consensus has been that the exercise was violent free even though the opposition PDP is kicking and warming to challenge the result at the Election Petition Tribunal.
However not to be caught unprepared, Obaseki shortly before jetting out of the country for a deserved rest penultimate weekend appointed Mr. John Osakue coordinator, Governor-Elect Office expected to oversee the shutting down of his campaign secretariat and prepare his team for the new role as landlord of Dennis Osadebey Avenue. It has Adams Otege as the head of the Transition Media team.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Professor Julius Ihonvebere, The Guardian gathered, would head the transition committee that would be set up by the state government. Membership, which would include government officials and representatives of Obaseki Campaign Organisation will collaborate for a seamless transition.
It was gathered that Obaseki, his deputy Philip Shaibu and governor Oshiomhole met while holidaying abroad to fine tune expectations for the new government especially in the area of appointments and the preparation of the 2017 budget which the governor-elect hinted was his priority at the moment.
The people are eager to see the new government hit the ground running, as they believe that the Oshiomhole’s administration has laid a solid foundation for a new Edo state.
However, a major hurdle the new government would have to contend with is the constitution of the state’s executive council and other political appointees as political leaders are already scrambling to curry the favour of the new governor.
Obaseki had disclosed that he would consult with the party leadership on the choice of commissionership but some analysts are of the opinion that like Oshiomhole did in 2008, the new governor should be allowed to choose technocrats to man key ministries and departments that are germane his success in governance.
For instance, the ministries of Finance, Budget and Planning, Environment and Public Utilities, Works, Education and Information and Orientation are believed to be key to his success and should be permitted to pick persons with expertise and experience in the fields.
Besides, there are some key projects the people believe should be completed or its execution intensified; the Benin Water Storm Project to check flooding in the state capital, the continuation of the red roof revolution manifested in rebuilding of public primary and secondary schools in the state – one of the legacy projects of Oshiomhole.
Also, there are several hundreds of kilometres of roads across the state yet to be constructed. To open up more parts of the state to drive his job creation policy most of which he said would be gotten through agriculture, these roads must be attended to.
Observers noted that the government is expected to fully equip the rebuilt schools with chairs and tables as well as stock the various laboratories being built alongside employment of qualified teachers and other staff to make the public schools as competitive as the privately-owned ones.
Similarly, the urban renewal programme of the present administration need to be intensified and new ways fashioned out to refine the revenue collection process to reduce rampant incidents of touting.
“Inasmuch as we applaud the enormous work Oshiomhole did in the three senatorial zones of the state, there is still much to be done. Edo State needs uninterrupted 15 years of developmental strides as started by Oshiomhole before the State can think of getting near to become a model in South South Nigeria,” a chieftain of the APC from Akoko-Edo local government area asserted in an interview with The Guardian.
Meanwhile, why the PDP is still punting over the election results, reactions have continued to trail it from outsiders. A Benin based social-cultural and Political Monitoring Group – Edo Lens has advised Ize-Iyamu to accept his defeat at the polls.
The group’s spokesman, Elder Destiny Evbakoe explained that the advice by the group was necessitated by their findings, which he claimed included poor preparations on the part of the PDP candidate before the election.
He alleged that their findings also revealed that many of the so-called supporters deceived the PDP and its candidate that they were behind the party whereas they made up their mind for Obaseki.
The Political Monitoring Group avowed that PDP’s plan to contest the September 28 governorship poll at the Election Petition Tribunal is a wild goose chase.