In the news: Of continuity, Edo university and Obaseki

THE people, according to a Vanguard Newspaper columnist, Mr. Tonie Iredia deserve to know the nature of continuity to expect in Edo State after Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure – ending in November 12th, 2016. This columnist is worried that the All Progressives Congress,APC, is preaching continuity to the people but wants to know the achievements of this administration, and why Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the APC candidate should continue the Oshiomhole’s strides.

He has a right to ask and to know the economic blueprint of the APC candidate in relation to the present administration – in terms of industrialisation, the Comrade Governor had stated from the onset that governments have no business running industries but creating the enabling environment for investors. Indeed, he had stated that his primary focus was to ensure that businesses thrive through the creation of enabling climate.

Today, the proof of that conventional wisdom is the avalanche of private sector industries dotting the entire length and breadth of Edo State – thanks to the vastly improved environment for doing business which his policies have brought about. As they say – the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That the industrialisation policies are impacting positively on the socio-economic landscape of the state is no longer in contention.

The fact that multinationals like Dangote Group of Companies, Yong Xing, Wells Farms, Bua Group, the one billion dollar Azura power plant in the state which is a Public Private Partnership, PPP initiative, and on completion, Edo is expected to be the hub of power distribution in the entire South-South region.

The ceramic factory situated on the Benin bypass and of course, the multi-million Naira mechanized agriculture project spearheaded by Captain Hosa and among others have registered their presence in the state – this goes beyond mere acknowledgement of the changing times but of the immense possibilities of continuity into the future.

To be sure, some of these investments come under public-private-partnership initiative of the state government; others are wholly private sector driven. Together, the state is the richer for it unlike what the past administration of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, that invested in fruit Juice Factory in Ehor, cassavita company, Edo Cement in Ikpeshi, the Bendel Breweries in Benin, the Opkella cement factory, Ewu Flour Mills, Bendel Line, Edo Cattle Ranch in Akoko Edo but all of which are moribund with billions of tax payers’ money gone down the drains – is Iredia not aware of the above facts? And if in the affirmative, shouldn’t he support a continuity of the Oshiomhole’s administration?

Am sure, too, that Iredia knows that the carcasses of the moribund PDP-Lucky Igbinedion’s industries are all vestiges of the party’s misrule in the state, as they either sold them to their cronies or deliberately allowed these industries to die, and the machineries vandalised.

Funny enough, the Iredia’s article seems to lend a voice to that era, supporting their campaign of deceit and shamefully talking about the moribund industries across the state. And the question would be, – who killed the industries in the first place? Of course, the PDP did through their bad management!

Now they are at it again, they are out asking for votes to go back to Osadebey Avenue. But the Edo people are wiser. They decided to make the revival of these dead industries a campaign issue.

What nature of continuity? The red roof revolution must continue. The rural areas must be opened up for developments, the urban renewal drive must continue to give our cities the befitting status, Roads are being constructed and more roads must be constructed, our youths must be taken out of the streets, the market women/men and the petty traders must be empowered, we must continue to dig more boreholes in our rural communities to banish water born disease in our midst, our human capital must be developed to equip our people for the modern day challenges – Iredia can now see the colour of continuity.

Besides, apart from continuity issue, Iredia expressed worries on the need for an additional university – Edo University, Iyahmo. And most worrisome to him is what he termed, “mundane political rallies which feature singing, dancing, acrobatic displays” of the APC.

Suffice to say that the new University was not to serve the personal interest of any individual but the generality of the people – the investment on Edo University is well informed, a progressive initiative, timely, auspicious and people-oriented – I will explain to Tony Iredia because this clarification became necessary owing to the political slant that he attempted to laced with the investment.

There are no such amount too big, invested on education that can be said to be a waste. Not even the location of the University can be faulted except for those who would argue blindly and blandly because the decision for the investment either outshines their paymasters or intentionally join the bandwagons for the sake of chewing their jaws.

The decision is easily the most significant investment in education any progressive and futuristic government can think of. This type of initiative has the capacity to change the lives of those who live in the host area and beyond and lots of educational aspirations would have been made possible from that investment. No doubt, it would stimulate employment generation, urbanise localities, boost economies, infrastructure, and transport, healthcare and open its doors to the ever increasing cohorts of learnings and degree seekers unable to secure admission due to inadequate space in the State-owned Ambrose Alli University among others.

In addition, when you talk of the funding of the new University, don’t forget that it was built according to sustainability principles with great possibility for positive spin-offs for the state. It will encourage locals to seek for University education as an alternative to the Polytechnic in Auchi, Edo North Senatorial District.

And to argue that the new university is unwarranted is to be short-sighted or parochial and at best, to be an ethnic irredentist who argue blandly because it was not hosted in their birthplace. When former Governor Lucky Igbinedion conceptualised and built Stella Obasanjo Women and Children Hospital, there were ‘red tapes’ who felt it was unnecessary; they do so because it was not located in their birthplace. They were not altruistic.

I agree – it was a noble idea achieved by that administration; the question of abandoning Central Hospital in terms of manpower, equipment and funding were also on the table but that does not invalidate the fact that there was a need for a new hospital irrespective of its location. I like to think that we have a decent value system and as such must not be tempted by underhand tactics. Or else, if the University was hosted in your community of birthplace, would you argue against it?

The Adams Oshiomhole led administration runs hot foot with fresh ideas but ‘red tapes’ and political bureaucrats want government to stop. It’s like driving with one foot on the accelerator as evident with this government while political bureaucrats have a foot on the brake.And for the candidate – Obaseki – has said it over and over again that he would expand the frontiers of the Oshiomhole’s developmental achievements on assumption of office – again – continuity.

The dualisation, expansion, beautification project of Airport Road is a spectacular case in point just as the new Edo State University. But Governor Adams Oshiomhole is determined that we, the people, cannot be the hapless victims of these detractors and red tapes, who held us back in the PDP administration. Unfortunately, red tapes not only exist in government, they abound in politics but we must rip down the red tape collectively, even in the media.

I never knew – until now, that he is also one of those who envies Oshiomhole’s dancing steps, agility and political gesticulations – giving hope to the people – is enough intimidation for the PDP – they are already complaining that the Comrade has taken campaigns to another height and it’s becoming difficult for them to comprehend. I think we need more of it – never mind if it runs their belly – so far the purpose is achieved – no apologies.

Oshiomhole had symbolically wiped the PDP and its candidate a bunch of the broom – exerting so much force to break – the picture which since gone viral showed the Comrade Governor’s elasticity and springiness while urging his audience to vote continuity, and what exactly the coming government would pursue towards improving their living standards. Am sure, this infuriated the PDP and their surrogates.

John Mayaki is executive director, Media & Public Affairs, Governor’s Office, Edo State

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