The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has linked the seeming unending political tussle in the state to his administration’s fight against warlords and non-state actors, who hitherto controlled resources to the detriment of Edo people.
Obaseki at a meeting with Benin Elders Forum in Benin City, the Edo State capital, reassured that his administration would remain committed and focused in delivering the dividends of democracy to Edo people through his reforms and developmental projects.
He said, “You are all witnesses to what is happening and I am sure that you will ask what exactly is going on. When the change occurred in 2016, I had no doubt in my mind to jump into the train to continue the reforms which we had started, but what I didn’t realise is that the rot was so deep and fundamental; it was not just a rot in physical expression but it was becoming cultural.
“You come into Edo and you cannot drive through the city, because we had warlords that had taken possession of everywhere. In fact, when we had to clear Lagos Street, we found out that people had erected stores and shops on the street. It then became clear that there was a lot more work to do.”
The governor continued, “I just could not understand why Oredo Local Government Area, for instance, could not earn more than five million naira as taxes monthly, meanwhile, there were non-state actors who were celebrating having billions in their private bank accounts at the expense of government. Once I came in, these non-state actors began to almost physically threaten the state and I had no choice than to dislodge them in good faith.
“I thought this was something we had all agreed to do; I thought we were happy that now we can drive through Oba Market; I thought we were all comfortable with the sanity in the city. But today what do we have? A fightback from these characters and they are getting support from sources you can’t believe. How can you have a city and it is only those who refused to go to school and have turned themselves into thugs and touts that want to dominate our polity? How can we have progress?”
Governor Obaseki, who said his administration will not relent in transforming the economic fortunes of Edo people, said, “In all the things I am hearing, nobody has been able to tell me what exactly the policy issues are. Is it that ensuring you build infrastructure at the right price is not the right thing to do? Or building roads is not the right thing to do? Or is trying to get more resources of the state to work for the people not the right thing to do? Is paying teachers and strengthening the education sector, not the right thing to do? Nobody has told me in all what we have done today that there are some policies that we have, that are wrong.
“If we must develop, we must begin to grow the yam seed rather than eat it. We are four million people today, in another ten to twenty years, there will about ten million people. So, what’s the plan for the future? We will continue in our developmental strides as long as they impact on the lives of the ordinary Edo people.”