Alaghodaro 2019: Assessing Obaseki’s model for a total society
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State will mark his third anniversary on November 12, 2019. In recognition of his reforms and achievements, the burgeoning private sector in the state is rallying for the third edition of the Alaghodaro Summit to interrogate the progress made and set the state on the path of prosperity for the future. KEHINDE OYETIMI reports.
In the annals of development, only few can boast of engendering drastic change in the life of their people in a short time, reversing decades-old prejudices and obstacles that impinge on the people’s dignity and collective prosperity.
Gradually, through what could be described as a systematic, frugal allocation of scarce resources, Edo State is joining the league of sub-national entities that are rewriting their story through pragmatic policy reforms, programmes and initiatives.
The Alaghodaro Summit series are annual events held to showcase these gradual, steady steps, unveiling the numerous reforms and initiatives that have created opportunities for prosperity– driven by the Edo people and the state’s burgeoning investors – and opened up the space to interrogate and challenge conventions that impede progress, with a view to correcting them.
On mounting the saddle as Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, espoused plans for resetting the state’s economic base, as well as restoring the dignity of Edo people, anchored on six thematic pillars for development, which touch on all indices of human development.
Alaghodaro 2019 is the third edition of the Alaghodaro summit series organised by the state government in partnership with the state’s private sector. It is being held to mark the governor’s third year anniversary in office. It showcases reforms, policies and programmes implemented by the Obaseki-led administration in the state, which are opening up space for private investment, inclusive economic growth and improvement of the people’s livelihood.
Edo’s changing healthcare landscape
Governor Obaseki on October 31 launched the Edo State Social Health Insurance/Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), as well as revamped Primary Healthcare Centers under the Edo- Primary Health Improvement Programme.
The state had made an initial contribution of N100m to access the BHCPF, opening up opportunities to energise its health insurance programme. All of this tie up to an organic plan to retool the primary healthcare system to be able to meet the needs of ordinary Edo people.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme, Governor Obaseki said the focus of his administration is to improve the lives of the people through good education and provision of basic healthcare services accessible to all Edo people and residents
The governor noted that the focus of his administration is to establish 230 PHCs across state as the centres to serve as referral centers, noting, “You will not be attended to in General Hospitals without referral from your PHCs.”
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the BHCPF would commit N573m to enable Edo people to benefit from essential services after the details are worked out and the healthcare system begins to function.
Edo-BEST: revamping basic education for results
On education, the government has revamped the basic education sector by training and equipping 11,300 teachers with tech-based tools and skills to deliver technology-driven education to not less than 300,000 pupils across 918 schools in the state.
Governor Obaseki was awarded the Best Performing Governor in 2019 for the impact of the Edo-BEST programme as well as his prioritisation of teachers’ welfare in the state, which has led to improved outcome in primary schools across the state.
The programme is designed to develop a highly-skilled teaching workforce by training, supporting and motivating them to succeed in the classroom.
Checks showed that in public schools across the state where teachers now teach with tablets and other digital teaching aids, parents and guardians are hurriedly registering their children to benefit from the new teaching methods.
It was learnt that the parents are pulling their children from private schools to the public schools, which have been revamped under the Edo-BEST programme.
Mr. Enagbare, a parent who withdrew three of his children from a private school to be registered at Oba Akenzua Primary School in Oredo Local Government, said he was impressed with the transformation of the schools in the state.
Job creation: EdoJobs multifaceted jobs drive
Committed to ensuring that the state is reset from its status as a civil service state to one that is driven by productivity on the back of its teeming, education youth population, the state government established the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), to actualise the governor’s promise of creating 200,000 jobs in his first term in office.
Not less than 150,000 jobs have already been created, including training programmes in technical and vocational skills, technology innovation and business acceleration, among others.
The Edo Production Centre, a novel initiative to drive is being built-in partnership with the Market Development for the Niger Delta (MADE) II programme, Benson Idahosa University (BIU) and the Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa, the United States of America. It would be a multipurpose, one-stop-shop for small businesses. share support infrastructure such as 24 hours electricity, security and low-cost financing to help boost economic growth in the state.
Another major contributor to the state’s burgeoning tech scene, which now incubates young innovators is the Edo Innovation Hub. The Hub, which also houses the South South Innovation Hub, is a cluster for innovators and inventors in Benin City, and is priming youth to evolve and strengthen the technology ecosystem in the state.
Head, EdoJobs, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, said the state government has done a lot in energizing the economy by engaging youths and providing opportunities to garner skills or to improve their chances for employability.
One of the innovative projects to drive industrialisation by the Obaseki-led administration is the Edo Production hub. The facility provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and artisans with 24-hour electricity, business support, market development and industry linkage opportunities.
It currently serves as a mini-replica of the big businesses and diverse industries expected at the Benin Enterprise and Industrial Park. The facility allows small businesses to share support infrastructure like security and low-cost financing to help boost economic growth in the state.
The center, located in the Sapele Road axis of Benin City, is fitted with factory space, security and office space and live-in desks for relevant government agencies to engage, support and provide services to small businesses. The agencies to be hosted at the facility are the Bank of Industry (BoI), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Edo Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), among others.
It is fitted with 500KV transformers, which are connected to the 33KV line in the area. It has 1.2MW of power at the onset, which would eventually be expanded to 4MW, to power heavy machines to be run at the facility.
2019 Alaghodaro: Delivering progress to the people
The Local Organising Committee for the 2019 Alaghodaro Summit recently released the programme of activities to mark the third-year anniversary of the Alaghodaro Summit, adding that the business summit will evaluate the administration’s achievements and propose ways to deepen their impact on Edo people and residents.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the five-day event will commence with the women’s summit/Jumat service on Friday, 8th November, 2019.
According to him, the women summit will be followed by a golf tournament on Saturday, November 9, while a special thanksgiving service will take place on Sunday, 10 November, 2019. Also, the 2019 Alaghodaro will feature a Job Summit on Monday 11 and while the Edo Summit holds on Tuesday 12, 2019, with the theme, “Delivering to the People, The Next Level”.
“The Women’s summit will present an opportunity for women groups to engage with relevant stakeholders and brainstorm on the government’s programmes as well as explore ways to contribute to efforts to drive inclusive social growth for women to improve their socio-economic conditions.
“The fair will also feature experts, businessmen, captains of industry and employers of labour and showcase the governor’s commitment to promoting social inclusion through intervention programmes on industrialization, jobs creation, affordable housing, reforms in basic education and primary health care.
“Over 150,000 jobs have been created directly and indirectly through EdoJobs, in addition to the several trainings that are ongoing to improve skills. The governor has achieved so much in the education sector with the EdoBEST (Basic Education Sector Transformation).”
Osagie stated that the first and second editions of the summit concentrated on attracting investment and human capacity development to Edo State, but the third edition would evaluate the progress made by the Obaseki-led administration and make projections for the future.
He added, “In the area of economic growth, Obaseki is emphasising production, industrialisation and working hard to have an independent source of electricity. He is emphasising technical education for our people and primary healthcare.”