TIME TO CHANGE THE ‘CHANGE’ IN EDO STATE POLITICS
NO ROOM FOR THIRD TERM AGENDA
Edo state of Nigeria is unlike many states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the level educational attainment is very high and our people are generally proud but as a state we lack the money spinning establishments as you will find in a state like Californian State in the USA where the Silicon valley provides jobs, innovations and financial resources to the Californian State Government.
Edo state of Nigeria thrives on good management of available resources. Professor Ambrose Ali with the State’s meagre resources provided good roads, gave free education to our youths, gave Bendel State bursary to deserving students without borrowing a penny or mortgaging the future of Edo State children by borrowing repeatedly from the World Bank, or the Nigerian Stock exchange as Oshiomhole has done and with nothing tangible to show for it.
The architect of that borrowing spree is the chairman of Oshiomhole’s Economic Advisory Team Godwin Obaseki ; the man Oshiomhole is thrusting on the people of Edo State as the next governor. This is an unholy plan akin to Obasanjo’s term and MUST not be allowed to happen.
The Edo State economic team led by this Godwin Obaseki has impoverished Edo people in his bid to increase the internally generated revenue (IGR). Our people have never paid so much tax on so many commodities and small scale enterprises as in the last six years. As patriotic Nigerians of Edo State origin in the Diaspora, we preached the establishment of small scale enterprises to increase job creation in Edo State. Edo men and women irrespective of the part of the state they originated as Edo people are one and of the same origin harkened to our preaching, the preaching of Edo Global Organization to help establish these small scale enterprises in the state. They responded during Oshiomhole’s first two years in office by starting hospitals, clinics, opening new pharmacy shops, computer centres, fashion homes, eating centres with foreign touch, computer-aided diagnostics in motor mechanics’ repairs shop. They were employing our youths and taking them off the street from the life of thuggery, armed robbery, assassins and kidnappers.
With the greed and insatiable desire for irresponsible spending, largesse and sponsorship for his political friends and acolytes, these fledging new enterprises were crippled by obnoxious taxes enunciated by the economic team headed by Godwin Obaseki.
Suddenly community taxes, local government taxes, economic development taxes, environmental taxes and collection resulted in crippling these small scale enterprises before they could find their feet and they folded up and sent their employee back into the unemployed pool. So much damage was done to the physic of these patriotic entrepreneurs whose desire to help their people was crippled by the governor of the state and his economic team. Those who lost their jobs were worse off due to the activities of the State Economic Team led by Godwin Obaseki who is now campaigning to be the governor. Such ruthless way of seeking IGR must not be allowed to be visited on Edo People for another four or eight year if Godwin Obaseki (Edo State Economic Team Chairman) is on the saddle of state governance.
There are clear indications that the Nigerian economy is in recession and inflation is in double digits and our poor Edo people are bearing the brunt of this poor economic management at both state and federal level resulting in poor feeding or real hunger, inability to pay the children and ward’s school fees, high cost of transportation. ‘Tukeke’ (mini buses) in Benin have hiked the cost per drop from thirty naira in 2014/2015 to one hundred and fifty naira per drop in 2016 and there are no jobs, no increase in salary; no wonder that in the last twelve months there has been a sudden rise in the number of cases of armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom in the state for which the predecessor to the current Inspector General Police Mr Arase had to send a crack team of police officers to fish out these kidnappers in the state.
Edo State needs a governor with a human face and human mind, a governor who shows empathy with his people and not one who will tell a petty trader even if she is a widow to go and die in full view of the TV camera. We do not need the continuity of a government that is not trust worthy whose stock in trade is to lie and deceive the people all the time or the continuity of a government who does not obey the rules of law, acts with impunity and interferes the activities and smooth running of the State House of Assembly and make them ineffective.
Oshiomhole came into power in Edo State, with the slogan of ‘no to God Fatherism in Edo State politics’ but here we are in 2016 he is acting George Orwell’s Animal Farm of 1945 of four legs good but two legs better to deceive Edo State electorate and impose his acolye as the next governor to cover his tracks.
Our people must not be deceived by a governor who has repeated lied and deceived his people. If you recall how Okada riders supported Oshiomhole during his court case with Professor Osunbor after the 2007 elections; lining the street for him as a former labour leader and their hero; his first act was to ban Okada in Benin and environ sending all Okada riders into the job market. His promises were not only unfulfilled he reduced them further by banning Okada entirely in the City. He tried to replace Okada with what he called the Comrade taxis but they have all been parked due to bad and poorly maintained roads in Benin. Advisors to such government must not be allowed to rule the state in any guise.
Based on the economic advisory team, Oshiomhole demobilised numerous teachers from the state teaching service to reduce his salary burden for frivolous reasons without replacing them. A state governor is like the father who should care for his people but Oshiomhole was aloof. For eight years in Edo State there was never a time of employment exercises to mop up the unemployed from the pool of job seekers. Those who retired over the last eight years were never replaced so we have a shrunken work force in Edo State; all to reduce the salary burden for government as advised by the state economic team led by Godwin Obaseki. As I write no pensioner has received his gratuity or his monthly pension stipend for the last eight years. As they carry placards along our street the governor goes on TV to proclaim no Edo State employees or pensioners have not received their emolument to date. We have never seen such falsehood with impunity before.
The pensioners, the unemployed and not into kidnapping and armed robbery depend on their relatives in the Diaspora for their daily bread. Edo people in the Diaspora are now being stressed due to Oshiomhole’s misuse of Edo State resources at home that is why we say Oshiomhole should not be allowed a third term through Godwin Obaseki. Our people needs time to recover from the hardship under which they have been suffering and are about to escape come September 10 2016.
Oshiomhole as governor shunned help from abroad for the people of Edo State. In 2013/2014 we organised a package of a team to train the trainers in Edo State supported by the Liverpool School of Maternal and Child Healthcare and United Kingdom Department for Foreign and International Development (DFID) to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality. Edo State government was required to provide security and a list of trainees; as we speak there is still no response in spite of reminder on two occasions by DHL letters and a third time by a letter delivered to him by one of his senior special assistant for health.
He blocked that aid to our people because it did not come directly through him to the people. We are not politicians and we will never be politicians but we are Nigerian patriots who wish to see a progressive Nigeria and Edo State so we follow closely events in Nigeria and Edo State.
A couple of weeks ago, Oshiomhole through the attorney general of Edo State dispatched a team of crack mobile police unit to a village in Ovia local government to stop the rural electrification project as part of a member of the House of Representative Constituency project. Electrification project should gladden the heart of anyone in Nigeria as poor power supply is the bane of the people especially the rural dwellers; that is why it beat good reasoning that a state governor should through his attorney general stop a rural electrification project because it is being executed by the opposition. That kind of attitude and mind set should not be allowed to continue in the state hence Oshiomhole’s third term agenda should not be allowed through Godwin Obaseki. A vote for Godwin Obaseki is a vote for Oshiomhole and Oshiomhole has failed Edo people.
Edo State deserves a grass-root player, a man of God, articulate, a kind hearted individual in tune with the yearning and aspirations of Edo people like Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. I implore Edo people to change the change and vote Pastor Ize-Iyamu as the next governor of Edo State. There must Not be a third term for Oshiomole.
Dr Stephen E O OOgbonmwan FMCOG(Nig), FRCOG(UK) KSC
EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION