Obaseki and Edo paradigm shift
Governor Godwin Obaseki’s leadership style since the inception of his administration barely three year ago has attracted much political and scholarly analysis of his principles, practices and beliefs, including what influenced him.Some have presented him as a paragon of ethical living while others present him as a more complex, contradictory and evolving character influenced by his background and circumstances.
However Obaseki has been presented or perceived, there is no gainsaying that the social-political and economic landscape of Edo State has transformed with a magical wand in such a short time he assumed the saddle of leadership of the state that has earned the popular sobriquet of ‘wake and see’ governor.
Obaseki’s style is reflected in the well thought out and noiseless manner at which projects are being conceptualised and executed across the state three senatorial districts. Edo State, hitherto considered a civil service state prior to the advent of this administration, is today becoming a business destination.
In fact, development experts from the World Bank and other credible economic assessors have predicted that with this steady progression, Edo State will in the next four years become the Dubai in the South-South region and indeed Nigeria.His successes in governance, however, did not come to many as a surprise; owing to his wealth of experience as far as corporate governance is concerned.
As an investor banker and risk taker, Obaseki is reputed to have revived many ailing banks and industries which today would have been forgotten in the dustbin of history.It is a fact that he has continued to live up to the billing of changing the entire contour of the socio-political and economic landscape of the state.
Besides the infrastructural development, the governor has continued to approach governance with a method which is grounded in government bureaucracy. His approach to governance, which has tripled the state’s internally generated revenue that has been deployed to develop of the state, has left many bewildered.
Apart from the physical development, lots of these resources have been deployed towards human capital development. His concept of modernising Edo economy is very evident in Edo Innovative Hub, as a way of harnessing the energy of the youths into the growth of digital economy.
The Benin Technical College is now revamped and ready to provide manpower and employment to the youths. The list of Obaseki’s achievements and vision for the state is endless and still counting.This record of achievements within the short time he assumed responsibility of leading the state has, however, met with resistant from those laced with malice of success and are aversed to change.
Enemies of success who are bent on taking the state to the dark days have recruited hatched writers, both in the prints and social media, to de-market and smear the towering image of the governor for their selfish political interest of ‘capturing power’ in 2020.
In as much as the purpose of this piece is not to join issues with the enemies of the state, it is also pertinent to remind discerning Edo public that Obaseki cannot be cowed by their gang up. Obaseki with his training and antecedent is very clear about his mission and purpose for Edo State and her people.
He is a man destined to make greater impact, no wonder many of his critics and doomsday prophets are quick to haul mud at his integrity.It is only an enemy of Edo State who will say Obaseki doesn’t deserve a second term. He is perhaps the best we have had. Those against him are the people he told he can’t share “Edo money” to, and they are angry.
Edo State has more than 4 million people and those of us in politics are not more than five percent. The governor was elected to serve everybody, and that is what he is doing. God wants him to serve the majority. The opposition will even vote for the governor with his performance.
There is no denying the governor’s sterling performance, which has astounded many in the state and beyond, owing to his wealth of experience as a technocrat. It is not only the quantity of projects that he has delivered but the quality. One can deliver 100 projects without having ten good ones. But Obaseki has not only delivered so many projects within a short period but has also delivered on projects qualitatively.
“There are roads in Edo that we had thought could not be executed by any state government, one of which is the Lucky Way. It is not a question of concentrating in one senatorial district, it is unfortunate that we don’t value what we have.”Some are saying some of the roads are being built by development agencies. When a good king is on the throne, the chiefs will behave properly, and that is the case with Edo. Did we not have Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) in the state before? They were just there, sitting idle; they will construct roads today, the next week the roads are washed away. The governor has worked in Edo North, South and Central. He is constructing roads in Ekpoma, Ewu and Afuze, just to mention a few.
The tax reform the governor has introduced is just to demonstrate that things must be done properly and that is why he introduced electronic method to check double taxation.One is forced to ask: “what is Obaseki’s sin”? It is simply the departure from the old order which has stagnated our people. Like the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in life.
Those who are still fuelling and promoting division in Edo and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are only doing that with the sole aim of lining their pockets.It is my candid advice to them to take the advantage of the numerous job initiatives of the Obaseki’s administration to better their lots because the governor is not a leader that can give in to their blackmail and dip hands into public fund to satisfy their insatiable greed!
Danesi writes from Auchi, Edo State
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