Obaseki: In fulfillment to service to God and humanity

Like Shakespeare wrote about greatness in one of his classic plays, Macbeth, “Some were born great, while others had greatness thrust upon them.” The above Shakespearian thoughts underscore the illustration of how Edo State is blessed to have wonderful illustrious sons and daughters who have contributed in moving the state forward in all spheres of human endeavours and contributed to Nigeria development outlook in general.

This glowing attributes best describe the life, challenges, passion and quintessential public life service of one of the outstanding sons of the state, Honourable Godwin Obaseki, egress to national consciousness. From humble nature of beginning with unmatched momentum to the nadir of both public and private life’s engagements, Obaseki is a symbol of opportunity meets self-awareness and determination to succeed.

From a humble beginning to the threshold of accomplishment filled with exemplary service to worthy cause, private business interest and public life widely acclaimed by everybody. This makes him a reference point in service delivery personae in Edo. A man devoted to God, his constituency, awesome family values and the state. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step; same applies to the life and time of this illustrious son of Edo.

Obaseki was born in Benin City, Nigeria, to the famous and illustrious Obaseki family. He came from God-fearing and Christ-like parents where enduring service, respect, devotion and humility were etched in his memory. According to him, these attributes are the weapons that made all his decision and public life endeavour success achieved.

He began his path to history when he had his early education in Saint Matthews Anglican Primary School Benin City from where he proceeded to Eghosa Anglican Grammar School, Benin City for his secondary school education. He attended the University of Ibadan where he obtained a B.A in Classics. Mr Obaseki attended the Columbia University and Pace University in New York and has an MBA in Finance and International Business. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, Nigeria and an alumnus of the Lagos Business School, Chief Executive Program. He was nominated a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum in 2001.

Godwin Obaseki began his career over 30 years ago and has established track records in investment banking, asset management, securities trading and the public sector both internationally and in Nigeria. He started out in 1983 with Capital Trust Brokers Limited Lagos as a stockbroker where he excelled and subsequently worked with International Merchant Bank (an affiliate of First Chicago Bank). In 1988 he joined AVC Funds Limited, Lagos where he served as a project manager and led the core team that set up two of the new generation banks which eventually reshaped the face of the banking industry in Nigeria. Between 1993 and 1995 he worked in New York as a principal of Equatorial Finance Co, a Financial Advisory firm with a focus on Africa and providing Structured Trade Finance for African related transactions through credit, financial advisory and risk insurance.

He founded Afrinvest West Africa Limited (formerly Securities Transactions & Trust Company Limited (SecTrust)) in 1995 as the pioneer Managing Director. The firm has since grown to become a leading Investment Banking and Investment Management firm in Nigeria. In 1995 SecTrust was appointed the correspondent stockbroker for Nigeria by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In 1996, SecTrust established the first derivative product, the Nigerian International Debt Fund (NIDF) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which allowed Nigerians invest local savings in US dollar instrument. This fund has outperformed projections on returns.

Obaseki was born, made for public life, service to mankind and fulfillment of the greater goals of the people. His education profile is clearly an indication to his erudite leadership potentials in contribution to humanity. This was noted in his appointment as the Chairman of the Edo State Government’s Economic and Strategy Team (EST), a position he has held since March 17, 2009 pro bono publico.

Proving his mettle as an achiever, Obaseki’s key achievements as chairman of the economic team of Edo State government include: documentation of state economic development framework through sectors’ strategic planning which is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis; introduction and enculturation of retreats as a platform to ensure all parties engagement not only in planning and executing state development initiatives but also in monitoring and evaluation of outcomes; N25 billion infrastructure development bond from the Nigerian Capital Market in 2010; $225 million concessionary rates development loan from the World Bank with the 1st Tranche of $75 million already accessed; Successfully hosted sector based economic summits and policy dialogue series including the power round table in 2010, 2011 education round table and 2012 agribusiness round table.

Not done with the great compliment, Obaseki was spurred for greater test and path to public life when he emerged the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 10 election in the state on June 19, 2016; an election that was adjudged credible, fair and free. Obaseki scored 1,618 votes to defeat his 11 opponents.

Impressively, recent independent survey in the state clearly shows the people of Edo are resolved to come out in droves and elect Godwin Obaseki as Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s successor. Obaseki’s intimidating credentials over the years remain his strength which cannot be downplayed or broken by anyone through propaganda, lies or deception. To the great Edo people, all opposition parties put together do not represent any threat to APC in September 10, 2016 gubernatorial poll, they believe Obaseki will not just win, but will record a landslide victory. Obaseki’s enthusiasts see him as a de-tribalised Nigerian who has what it takes to be the next governor of Edo State.

Ajibulu wrote from Benin, Edo State.