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MEGA vs SIMPLE: The two horse race to Osadebe Avenue

MEGA vs SIMPLE: The two horse race to Osadebe Avenue

MEGA vs SIMPLE: The two horse race to Osadebe Avenue
Godwin Obaseki (left) and Ize-Iyamu

By Dirisu Yakubu


It’s barely a month to the Edo state governorship election and as usual, the gladiators are combing the length and breadth of the state to sell their manifestoes. A two horse race pitching incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress, APC; the election is already birthing anxiety among Nigerians, particularly indigenes and residents of the South-South state.

On one hand is a governor who believes his scorecard is good enough to renew his tenancy of Osadebe Avenue but squaring up against him is the duo of Ize-Iyamu and immediate past national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, with the latter playing a critical role in the governor’s inability to secure the ticket of the party on which platform he was elected in 2016.

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In the past two weeks, the two candidates at various fora gave hint of what to expect in their respective administrations. For Governor Obaseki, the people are in for good times as he unveiled a 12-point agenda tagged “Making Edo Great Again, MEGA”.

Describing MEGA as “a development-oriented programme of progress for Edo State with an eye on the future, with focus on social sector, critical infrastructure and energy; economy and industrialization; environment and public utilities; peace and security; agriculture and natural resources; public service, public finance and revenue as well as law, judiciary and legal reforms,” Obaseki says a new mandate would enable him to consolidate on achievements in the areas of “Women, Children and Sports; Transportation; Arts and Culture and Chieftaincy/ religious affairs.”

Advancing reasons for seeking a second term in office, Obaseki says he’s confident that “2020 to 2024 will consolidate the transformation of the state through policies, projects and initiatives aimed at making Edo State an investment hub.

READ ALSO: The desperation of Oshiomhole, Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki

“This policy document is my present declaration to consolidate the foundation of my first term as Governor from 2016 to 2020 in providing leadership and vision for engagement and consensus building in planning, executing and evaluating state development initiatives and their outcomes.”

His continued: “We would ultimately create a system that would, at the end of eight years, imbue a strong, indelible governance culture that will stand the test of time and make our people proud of their state once more.

“In the last four years, we developed a fast-track approach in transforming Edo state through a robust template anchored on critical focus areas that outlined how we would make the lives of our people better and more fulfilling.”

Speaking exclusively to Saturday Vanguard, a youth leader and mobilizer for Obaseki in Ward 9, Etsako East local government area of the state, Cyprain Garuba outlined reasons “the vast majority of voters in Edo North Senatorial District,” want Obaseki to return.

“Adams Oshiomhole is our son and we are proud of what he did as governor. However, Godwin Obaseki has since taken governance to a new level. They won’t tell you of the employment opportunities he made available in the state since he became governor. They won’t also commend him for the ease in getting jobs these days.

“In the past, you needed to know somebody who knew another somebody that had the contact of somebody to stand the chance of getting a job in any of the state ministries.

“Should I tell you why they are fighting the governor? It is because touts who became millionaires overnight have been thrown out into the job markets following the reform of the recruitment process. Because most of them are stark illiterates and can’t compete in 21st century workplace, they lost out. These are the guys that have been recruited by the other side to cause mayhem ahead of the election. They have started but God and the well-meaning people of Edo state will shame them.”

Like Garuba, Sixtus Omokhagbor, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obaseki on sports, wants the people of Edo state to reflect on “the events and circumstances that brought us here.” Commending the governor for his developmental strides in the past four years, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria graduate of Business Administration urged those jumping ship to have a reckoning with their conscience and put the state first before any other consideration.

His words: “The Lagos state government came to our beloved state to understudy its education policy known as EdoBEST. It is a policy that places emphasis on training and retraining of teachers in equipping them for effective learning management systems, which addresses the needs of our children from early childhood up to the junior secondary school level.

READ ALSO: Your ambition not worth blood of any Edo citizen, APC counsels Obaseki

“Why are they interested in reinventing the wheel? A few years ago, a known tout who can barely write his name went to Dubai to celebrate his first one billion naira. Can you beat that! His job was collecting revenue on behalf of the state but because Governor Obaseki chose to work with competent hands, he has become their enemy number one.

“I was offered money to leave the camp of Obaseki but I just had a good laugh. I have a second address. I own a group of schools, made up of nursery, primary and secondary schools at Okpekpe and Ebele villages. So, rather than think of today only, I think of tomorrow and what it holds for my children.

“The money they collected to dump the governor will soon be exhausted. That is when the character of these people will be known to all.”

Obaseki’s pension reforms is all yielding incredible mileage with pensioners smiling to the bank as at when due, the governor has said.

“We will embark on continuous alleviation of the plight of pensioners through prompt payment of pension, retirement benefits and gratuities,” Obaseki assured pensioners in his tour of Wards 9 and 10 recently.

In the area of critical infrastructure and energy, Obaseki has pledged to move the state to the next level, promising to “provide access to electricity as seen in the on-going 55MW Ossiomo power project and the 450MW Edo Azura Power Plant.”

Ize-Iyamu’s SIMPLE Agenda like Obaseki’s is getting his supporters excited ahead of the September 19 poll. With its emphasis on “Security and Social welfare; Infrastructure development and urban renewal; Manpower development and training; Public-Private Partnership; Leadership by Example; and Employment for Edo Youths, the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate says the election is his party’s to lose.

Prince Philip Okhifo, a Benin resident and firm supporter of Ize-Iyamu says his decision to pitch his tent with the APC is largely informed by what the candidate stands for.

According to him, “governance is about rendering services to the people. If you as a governor who came into office through the ballot box, through a joint effort of the people, see the same people as irrelevant in your administration, the people will definitely revolt. If you cannot take everyone along (both the rich and the poor), your chances of making a good record is narrow.

“Ize-Iyamu is a grassroots politician and as such, knows the problem of the Edo people more than Obaseki. The governor claimed that he’s fighting against godfatherism but let’s see how true that is,” he stated.

Addressing his supporters recently, the pastor-turned politician gave a hint of what to expect of his governorship saying “the change that Edo people desire is not one based on sloganeering or deceit. Edolites yearn for change that is real, life-enhancing, verifiable, purposeful, and sustainable.

“The purpose of government is the pursuance of happiness for the greater majority of the people. The Government of Edo State under my leadership will strive to meet this purpose at all times, and serve the needs of the good people of Edo State efficiently, effectively and fairly through good governance that is geared towards solving social problems in Edo State” .

“We have analyzed the challenges facing our state, consulted widely across the 18 Local Government Areas, and on the basis of the APC manifesto, we have come up with a robust blueprint to launch Edo State on the path to sustainable prosperity and holistic development. Ours is a genuine road map to transform our state from its present unacceptable condition of underdevelopment to an attractive State with a vibrant economy.”

As the countdown begins, it is clear voters would take a look at what the two candidates have to offer them before making the ultimate decision at the polling units spread across the 18 local government areas of the state.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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