It was a gathering of the nobles and notables among the people of Edo State resident in Lagos at the weekend when they gathered in Oregun area of Lagos State to host the state governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki.
It was indeed as if there was a roll call of who is who from all trades and professions at the event put together by Unuedo Ressaisance, a body of Professionals, as they came from all parts of the state to interact and share idea with the governor as the state prepare for another governorship election later in the year.
The governor, Mr. Obaseki, was upbeat and confident that he should not bother himself with intrigues rocking the state towards the election as he was confident that his performance in office was enough to ensure his re-election for a second term.
According to him, he is confident about his reelection because he has delivered on what the people of the state need and his focus now is how to better the lot of the people of the state and not his reelection.
The governor said he is not focusing on the forthcoming governorship election in the state because he is confident that the re-election is already a done deal and therefore he is committed to the development of Edo State and working toward ensuring that Edo overtakes Lagos State by 2050.
It was a Town Hall meeting of Edo State people in Lagos, the governor said Edo State problem is not resources but leadership, and he therefore reiterated his commitment toward ending godfatherism in the state, declaring that “Godfather will not be allowed in Edo State.”
At the meeting with the theme “Edo Òkpa ‘Nó,” the governor also assured that his administration would work towards building an international airport in the state, because the current airport in the state built many years ago with less than four kilometer runway is no longer suitable for the kind of status that the state aspires to have, but lack space for expansion, adding that “My dream and I hope I will be here then is that by 2050, Edo will host the Olympic.”
Adding, “Edo people are a people with a deep sense of togetherness and are a strong people with a lot of dignity.
“Edo State is rich in many areas, the problem is that many are having a funny sense of entitlement and believe they have a right to what is ours and therefore put their hands to the public till, but we are determined to put an end to that.
“Many of our people are excluded from things that can propel development and that has been one reason we have a high number of indigenes doing everything to escape the poverty line, for example two local governments with the highest number of those travelling across the borders risking their lives are Orhionmwon and Uhunmwonde, when you go to these councils there is no single ATM point not to talk of banks, they are completely excluded in financial activities.
“We are determined to change that narratives through massive investment in education and so far we have identified three areas we must focus, that is education, health and infrastructure, because we know that education is key, but in Edo State it is completely broken and we are determined and doing everything to fix it.
“The problem of Edo is not resources; it is not opportunity. We had all of these. We had everything. Our problem is that people have been thinking so shortsightedly. The military governors did not know when the next coup would be, so they never tried to make attempt and the politicians are only concerned about the next election.
“For us, we are not thinking about the next election because by the grace of God that is spoken to already. We are thinking about the next generation; where will Edo be in the Year 2050? How would we be positioned by 2050? How would we overtake Lagos by 2050? It is possible.
“For us, it is clear; what we need to do is to plan. They said those who fail to plan, plan to fail. So, it is about having rigorous regional and urban planning. We didn’t meet anything but we are going to leave behind a lot.”
Speaking to journalists after the event, Governor Obaseki described his meeting with the Edo people in Lagos State as a form of accountability and not political move.
He noted that there is misinformation about his administration as a result of contestation and therefore it is important to get them corrected.
“My meeting with the Edo people in Lagos State is just about accountability. They have the right to know what is happening in their state. As we approach election, there is a lot of misinformation as a result of the contestation.
“So, it is important to let them know, put out the facts, engage them, get their concerns and indeed their feedbacks were profitable,” he said.
Speaking earlier, a former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Mathew Egbadon, lamented the level of brigandage in the state politics, asking the governor to find a way to solve political problems without resorting to violence.
Egbadon, who spoke on behalf of the people of Edo Central also kicked against marginalisation of the people of the senatorial district in term of political appointments at state and federal levels.
He wondered why a state with three dominant region will completely ignore one of the regions of the state in appointment of governors, deputy governor, ministers, ambassadors and others like it has been done to the Esan people of Edo Central, arguing that even the position of the Speaker that was ceded to the region is being seriously contented with the current political situation in the state.
He appealed to the governor to justify the support given to him by the Esan people during his election by focusing more on programmes that will benefit the people of the region, assuring him that the people of the region will not abandon him for his second term.
But, Bright Ogbebor, a lawyer, who spoke for the people of Edo South urged the people to remember that Edo is one and the people must work to ensure that continues.
He noted that though Edo South constitute about 60 percent of the population of the state, every part of the state must be treated equally and everyone should join hands to make the state better, because when Edo State makes positive progress everyone benefits.
Also speaking at the event, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Daisy Danjuma, publicly endorsed Governor Obaseki for second term and urged the people of Edo State to allow the governor to continue.
According to her, though she is top member of the PDP she is inclined to support the governor because of the many innovations he has brought into governance in the state, noting that with Obaseki she was confident that Edo was in safe hands.
“He (Obaseki) has done well and we want him to continue. I am a member of the BoT of PDP, but I am supporting him for a second term,” Senator Danjuma who represented Edo South Senatorial District in Senate between 2003 and 2007 declared.
She also indirectly spoke about the Amotekun security network of the South West part of the country as promoted by governors of the region, when she urged the governor to also do a similar thing in Edo State or enhancing the one already of ground, urging him, “Mr. Governor, I urge you to also introduce security network to safeguard the people of the state from marauders, you can even call it Atalakpa (Lion) security network.”
There was also a time of question and answer when the people of the state resident in Lagos challenged the governor on things they feel he has not done well or he can do better, urging him to do more to put the state on the global map through job creation initiatives through industrial revolution or agricultural revolution.
Many of our people are excluded from things that can propel development and that has been one reason we have a high number of indigenes doing everything to escape the poverty line, for example two local governments with the highest number of those travelling across the borders risking their lives are Orhionmwon and Uhunmwonde, when you go to these councils there is no single ATM point not to talk of banks, they are completely excluded in financial activities.