NEWS: How Obaseki is settling down to governance in Edo

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There is no doubt that Governor Godwin
Obaseki is settling down well as the 5th
Governor of Edo state with the appointment of
his campaign Director General and former
Commissioner for Works in the state,
Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the State
Government. Ogie who is one of the political
sons of the immediate past governor of the
state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was
prevailed upon by Oshiomhole to step down
for Obaseki before the governorship primaries
of the APC.
Ogie is from Edo South senatorial district like
Obaseki and his appointment as SSG was seen
as in line with the tradition in the state where
all the democratically elected governors have
picked their SSG from their senatorial district.
Ogie’s appointment was widely applauded
owing to the fact that unlike Governor
Obaseki,who is not a politician, Ogie will hold
the political front strong for Obaseki.
The governor also appointed a youth and an
activist, Taiwo Akerele as his Chief of Staff.
Akerele is from Akoko Edo Local Government
Area, in Edo North senatorial district and has
worked with Obaseki as a member of the state
Economic Team since 2007. Akerele was
before his appointment the Project
Coordinator of the World Bank in Edo state.
These are the major appointments made so
far by the governor. It was learnt that he is
setting up various committees in different
ministries in order to have first hand
information as to the requirement of the
Ministries and the kind of people needed to
man them.
Knowing that he cannot function effectively
without the support of the state House of
Assembly, Obaseki met with lawmakers last
Tuesday at Government House Benin City,
where he informed them of his plans to work
with them for the development of the state.
The lawmakers who were led by the Speaker,
Justin Okonoboh, were quite impressed with
his enthusiasm to deliver the dividends of
democracy to the people and to equally pay
attention to the workings of the Assembly as
regards their over sight functions.
Addressing the lawmakers during the dinner,
Obaseki said “ we are going to run a very
transparent government and your duty of over
sight is very important. I want to assure you
that you have in us, a government that you
have yearned for, a listening government. We
would rather hear from you before we talk to
you. Like we said on several occasions, this is
the dawn of a new era. The last eight years of
this state witnessed rapid transformation.
Before that transformation, we had to first of
all recover our state politically and that
created the platform for the rapid
transformation you have seen in the past
eight years. So the last eight years were
basically years of foundation laying. We have
laid the right foundation for our socio-
economic take off, so the next four to eight
years by the special grace of God will be one
in which we will now take Edo to much more
higher level than we have seen in the last four
decades.
“What are the key issues we seek to address?
First, we must recover our society. We are
likely to lose our society if we do not begin to
emphasis those key issues of human
development and economic empowerment. We
have too many young men and women in our
own estimate between half a million to three
quarter of a million, between the ages of
fifteen to thirty who are doing nothing. We
have to engage them, we need to do several
things.
In the last two days, you would have noticed
that we were trying to understand the issues.
We are going to create jobs. We promised a
minimum of 200,000 jobs and to do that, we
first have to understand our direction and the
challenges we face in terms of unemployment.
On Monday, we went to Benin Technical
College which was established 40 years ago to
champion technical and vocational training
for young men and women.
The challenges are enormous because what
we saw was pitiable and even though we have
an obvious task, we are not daunted at all.
So, we will use this institution to quickly
understand what we need to do and the
investments we need to make. To create the
platform, we will put a lot of our young people
through training so that they can be employed
in the businesses that we are attracting.
We also understand that no matter how great,
no matter how interesting the policies we
pronounced are, no matter the bills we have
put forward, if we do not have the
institutional framework, if we do not have the
bureaucracy that can execute, these policies
would just be as good or as nice as they have
been pronounced. Therefore, the key priority
for us would be to ensure that we revamp and
strengthen our civil service. That informed our
visit to just have a first hand understanding
of how our civil servants work.
Members of the house, we have a lot of work
to do. In the last 40 years, not much have
been done, particularly, in the physical
environment in which our civil servants work,
but more critically, even training them and
building their skill level. We understand that
we have to continue to invest in infrastructure
despite very lean resources but we are very
clear and resolute that working with you, and
with the kind of support we enjoy from you,
we will be able to overcome all these
challenges we face.”
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Obaseki added that his budget team will start
discussing the 2017 budget with the
lawmakers next week. He said,“next week, we
will be sending our first executive bill to you.
It is critical and when the time is right, we will
know publicly. I want to thank you because,
though we are separate arms of government,
you have decided to, on your own, take time
out to come and say, we want to work with
you, and to assure you that the very step you
take, we will first consult with you.
Starting from next week, we will be sending
the pre-budget team to come and meet with
the budget committee of the house to sit down
and begin to discuss the framework for next
year’s budget. We believe that if we have this
sort of interaction, it will go a long way in
facilitating understanding of one another in
the process of crafting the bills; it makes it a
lot more efficient”. In his response, Speaker of
the House, Okonoboh expressed the readiness
of the House to work with the governor to take
the state to the next level. He assured that
“we will continue to formulate laws that will
better the lives of our people”.

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