THE media both conventional and social have been in the last few weeks inundated with the coming elections in Edo State which would be due by 2020.
The incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki is already warming up to get into the ring with any other aspirant from his All Progressives Congress (APC), to get the ticket of the party which is expected to hold between and early 2020.
As at today, the opposition Peoples Democratic (PDP) seemed not in a hurry to begin its own process as it was gathered that the party is expecting an explosive primary election for the APC and would want to capitalize on the expected rancour that would greet the APC primaries.
Although the two principal actors in the APC; Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole have kept mute on alleged internal wrangling in the party, their foot soldiers have been going back and forth with different positions and expectations on the primaries.
While some supporters of Oshiomhole have openly disagreed with the administrative style of Obaseki who they accused of being deceptive in his perceived frugal style he has adopted, the governor’s supporters believed Obaseki’s style of not being free with state resources is what the state needs now in the face of economic realities.
These Oshiomhole’s supporters alleged that Obaseki’s “so called frugal style of governance” was deceptive as they alleged that he has been empowering people economically who never participated in the processes that led his emergence as the candidate of the APC and the processes to his emergence as governor of the state.
A former aide of Oshiomhole said few days ago; “Before the primary election that brought Obaseki, Comrade Oshiomhole met with all of us political appointees and gave us a marching order to ensure Obaseki won the primaries and then the main election and that his government was going to continue from where he was going to stop but immediately he got to power, we were there first to be fired and since then he has been running his show and we have been relegated to the background”
But Obaseki’s supporters believe that Obaseki came with a new template of governance where the focus is purely on the people of the state and that is why he has initiated several programmes and projects that would create job opportunities for the people particularly the teeming youths in the state to key into and then earn a decent living rather than continuously waiting for handouts from government house.
Supporters of Obaseki are of the opinion that the proposed Benin River port which is expected to be sited in the southern part of Benin into the Atlantic Ocean is one project that must be completed and once done would bring economic boom to the state which the governor expects that the people of the state would explore and stop the growing culture of waiting for handout from government.
To make the multi-billion naira seaport project work, the Obaseki government had already secured the establishment of the marine police post in the area and a naval base to provided needed security. It is expected that the Benin River port would serve as a sister port to the seaport being developed in Lekki, Lagos state.
The industrial park, which ground-breaking ceremony was performed by Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is another project Obaseki’s supporters believed would bring economic boom to the state. They claim multinational companies and big businessmen have been struggling to get space in the park to boost their business and then provide job for the people.
His supporters say in the area of education, Obaseki has embarked on massive primary school renovations and reconstructions and retraining of primary school teachers with modern teaching techniques. They said public primary schools have recorded 20,000 increase in registration of pupils in the last one year due to the innovations introduced by the Universal Basic Education Board.
Its chairman, Dr Joan Oviawe. recently told journalists in a chat to herald the one year of its special intervention programme in primary education called EdoBest (Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation) where she said so far, 7,000 out of the 11,117 primary school teachers have been trained and provided with tablets on modern teaching techniques and through the process also get feedback on the performance or otherwise of the teachers in terms of regularity in teaching and punctuality in class.
Oviawe said nothing less than 800,000 free text books have been distributed to primary schools and that the Board has introduced electronic record for pupils with their data and those of their parent and guardians captured to monitor movement of pupils from one school to another and keep their proper records including academic performances. She said to check cases of vandalism of school facilities, a School Board Management Committees (SBMC) has been established to take ownership of the facilities and help protect them just as she said the recent re-introduction of subvention to the schools is to provide needed funding to maintain the facilities being produced by the government.
Obaseki’s supporters say this training of teachers is needed to be sustained to ensure that the glory of public schools are restored and build the confidence in people to go back to public schools.
“These and several other projects Obaseki is doing that would need to be continued and for those who have been chorusing the Lagos experience suffered by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the scenario in Lagos is different from Edo State, Lagos is homogeneous while Edo is heterogeneous so what transpired in Lagos state may not be the same here,” an Obaseki enthusiast said.
Interestingly, at the end of the day, the APC would be wise enough not to rock its own boat. There is nothing that cannot be discussed and consensus built in the interest of the good people of Edo State. In any case, those fanning the embers of discord should imagine the spectre of scandal that may envelop the state should the PDP or any other party take over. The sensible thing to do now is for a negotiated settlement that would see APC going to the polls in 2020 as a united party.
Omoruyi writes from Benin City