Weighing Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu’s programmes for electorate
Campaigns for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State have continued to record anxious moments as Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seek to outwit each other through propagating their governance agenda to Edo electorate. Accordingly, the 2,210,334 registered voters in the state are being made to decide between the ‘MEGA’ agenda of Governor Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu’s ‘SIMPLE’ agenda.
Obaseki’s MEGA programme is centred on a 12-point agenda, which he said has been crystallised into a MEGA Manifesto, as a blueprint for Making Edo Great Again. According to him, MEGA is a development-oriented programme of progress for Edo State with an eye on the future. It focuses on such key areas as Social Sector (Education, Healthcare System, Pension and Social Security, Housing, Lands and Surveys), Critical Infrastructure and Energy, Economy and Industralisation, and Public Utilities.
Other areas covered by the governor’s agenda are Peace and Security, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Public Service, Public Finance and Public Revenue; Women, Children, Youth and Sports; Law, Judiciary and Legal Reforms; Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Arts and Culture as well as Transport.
On his part, Ize-Iyamu’s campaign is centred on Security and Social Welfare, Infrastructural development/Urban Renewal, Manpower Development and Training, Public, Private, Partnership, Leadership by Example and Employment Creation and Social Empowerment scheme.
One major issue about the two agenda is that while Obaseki has put some of his agenda to test in his last four years of service as governor, Ize-Iyamu is still seeking the opportunity to test his agenda. To that effect, it is easy for the campaign managers of Obaseki to talk about what the Obaseki administration has achieved so far while those leading the campaigns of Ize-Iyamu have the arduous task of persuading voters that Ize-Iyamu’s agenda could do better than the incumbent’s.
For instance, while unveiling his MEGA agenda, Governor Obaseki was quick to point out that in the past four years, “some of our key targets and achievements include job creation. In this administration, the goal was to create 200,000 new jobs. We established the Edo State Skills Development Agency (also known EdoJobs) to drive this goal.”
He also disclosed that in fulfillment of the promise to develop 250,000 hectares of farmland across the state through Edo Agriprenuer Programme, “we partnered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to support agricultural development. We have also set up a farm mechanisation hub through a private public partnership, which provides tractors and other farm implements for farmers across the state.
“On industry and infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, housing), our mission was to extend roads, address flooding and evolve efficient traffic management solutions. We have completed over 800 roads, which stretch for about 2,000km, with at least a road project in each of the 192 wards in the state. The Ministry of Infrastructure has constructed about 400 roads, while the Edo State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR) PLUS and other partners have constructed 400 roads. My re-election is a done deal. My performances will see me through.”
Ize-Iyamu, on the other hand, has explained that every component of his SIMPLE agenda creates room for employment generation, just as he promised to continue with the programme he would inherit from the current administration if he wins the election, particularly the Benin Water Storm project designed to check flooding in the state. This is the second time Ize-Iyamu is presenting the SIMPLE agenda to people of Edo State. In 2016, when he ran on PDP ticket, Ize-Iyamu also presented the SIMPLE agenda to the Edo electorate.
He had then said that “any government that intends to bring real prosperity to its citizens must focus on comprehensive and sustainable development that encompasses several aspects including improvement of infrastructure, health, education, human resource development, job creation, industrialisation, agriculture, security and improvement of municipal services in the state.’’
Going into this year’s election, Ize-Iyamu believes his programme is realisable and achievable, hence he wants the people to hold him accountable if he fails to deliver on his campaign promises. Against this backdrop, he revealed that he has developed another concept on which his SIMPLE agenda would be evaluated. It’s SMART, which is acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound, as a yardstick to gauge his performance and campaign programmes.
The SIMPLE agenda, according to him, will create jobs and execute programmes in the 18 local government areas of Edo State. This includes 70,500 jobs in four years in the areas of education, agriculture and rural development, housing, fire service, waste management system, and industrialisation, among others. The job creation, according to him, will include the physically challenged and economically disadvantaged persons.
He further explained: “For the public-private partnership industrial schemes in each of the senatorial districts, it is reckoned that each of the clusters should be capable of accommodating up to 10 separate industrial firms and would give direct employment opportunities to well over 3,000 persons and another 5,000 persons indirectly, providing the raw materials, goods and services across the state.
“Our government will partner with stakeholders, banks and financial institutions to resuscitate and revamp state-owned industries, including the fertilizer plant, Auchi, Cassavita Industry, Uromi, Ava Cement Factory, Akoko-Edo, fruit juice factory, Ehor, Bendel Brewery, Benin City and Ewu Flour Mill among others.” Ize-Iyamu added.
In his own campaigns, Obaseki has specifically been pointing out special areas his government has taken very seriously and would continue to improve upon if elected. He said that through EDOBEST (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation) and expansion of infrastructure in terms of roads, his administration has taken the state from where he met it, adding that he would consolidate on these gains in his second term.
“The sectors that are of priority to us are those that affect our people,” he said. “First is education and infrastructure; those, for us, are what we call sine qua non: the things we must do, particularly education, and we are focusing on basic education. We are renewing our education system; we are making sure that the children now learn. So, it is not just enough for the children to go to school, they must learn while in school. We have trained over 11,000 teachers.
“Technical education is another area of priority. In infrastructure, we are investing in creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and to make sure that there is law and order. And to make sure that the judicial system works, we are putting a lot of emphasis on human training, on human capacity. We have things like innovation hub where people are encouraged about farming, and try their hands in technology.”
Still dwelling on his past record as a feat that would guide his future performance, the Governor said: “We have the experience that our opponent does not have. Our radical reforms have given us a solid foundation to build on. We will tackle security challenges in the state.
“I am seeking re-election because we have started a revolution of development in the last three years and eight months to make governance relevant to Edo people. We pay civil servants and pensioners on time because we have prioritized their well-being and have trained our teachers to be digital compliance. Now our children are learning well. We have improved on infrastructure and we would do more.”
Somehow, Ize-Iyamu could not bank on the legacy of his number one supporter, Adams Oshiomhole, who, as a former governor, has some projects to market. It’s all part of the incongruities of switching parties for purposes of election. Hoping that the electorate is lost regarding the facts.
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