OBASEKI AND THE SEASON OF QUALITY ACHIEVEMENTS
Performance is not intended to be a placebo, a palliative or a substitute for enduring legacies such as the ones bequeathed by governance achievers and giants like Dr. Samuel Osaigboro Ogbemudia and Professor Ambrose Alli, to Edo State.
These legacies were not erected, constructed or established to clog the future of the citizenry with huge and avoidable debts occasioned by bloated cost outlays and diverted funds, thereof.
Ogbemudia and Alli had a holistic approach to equitable distribution and durability of those projects that touched the lives of the larger section of the then Bendel State. Not one like the Benin Storm Water Project or the collapsed Emergency Ward building at the Central Hospital, Benin City on July 4, 2012, which our ex-labour man bequeathed to Edolites.
Positive performance disregards propaganda and is a log-book open only to those who can appreciate the difference between action and in- action, concrete and qualitative achievements and the ones that are flitting and fleeting.
In up-coming pages we will catalogue the log-book of the Performance Index of the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, in the wee hours of his first term as the helmsman. This score-card will be showcased to highlight those quality projects and programmes that has been embarked upon to actualise the fact that government can work, holistically and be efficient in doing so, for the people’s sake.
At various fora, in the recent past, Governor Obaseki, has trumpeted that his good works, on behalf of Edo people, will speak volumes for him.
Imbued with strong revolutionary zeal and abundant professional skill, Governor Obaseki’s achievements in his first term and the capability of his A-Team, among others he has to his credit the following:
- Edo Best, a programme set up and spearheaded by the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, is aimed at reforming the basic subsector to improve and transform the conventional outcomes presently subsisting in Edo State’s schools. Ask result of the Governor’s intervention, the following has been undertaken and completed:
(a) Over 150,000 school children have been impacted (b) 8,700 school teachers have benefited from a training and equipping (with ICT capability) for improved teaching and learning outcomes. (c) More than 234 schools have been reconstructed and renovated (d) More than 7,084 computer tablets have been distributed to teachers and head teachers in the state (e) 11,688 members of the state’s School-Based Management Committee (SBMC) were trained to provide assistance in administering and maintaining the various educational institutions and facilities.
Edo Production Centre: The centre was 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 is a multipurpose, one-stop-shop for small businesses sharing support infrastructure such as 24 hours of electricity, security and low-cost financing to help boost economic growth in the state and drive the state’s employment programme.
Edo Innovation Hub: Edo Innovation Hub is a cluster for innovators and inventors in Benin City, and is priming the Edo youth to evolve and strengthen the state’s technology ecosystem. Some of its features include:
The South-South Innovation Hub with two halls, five training rooms, six fully-furnished co-working spaces, four rooms with a total of 100 computers, offices, conference rooms, outdoor workspaces, among others
Hosts trainings by Microsoft and Tech4Dev; LinkedIn Meet Up sessions; Curators University’s Artificial Intelligence boot camp; Hotels.NG trainings on coding and app development; Makers Academy on robotics; Pan Atlantic University University’s Enterprise Development Centre; Siemens’ Impact Hub, and Microsoft’s Basic Digital Literacy for Teachers.
- EDO Jobs, was set up by Governor Obaseki as the state’s skills development and Job Creation Agency to actualize his promise of creating and providing 200,000 jobs to the citizenry and energies the Edo State economy. At the last count, over 160,000 has been created. The Edo Jobs agency has under its management, the Edo Innovation Hub; Edo Production Centre and the Edo Food and Agriculture Cluster (Edo FAC), listed in the preceding paragraphs/sub-head.
-. Relaunching of Edo State Polytechnic, Usen
Governor Obaseki is fully aware that holistic education is the fulcrum of sustainable growth and development. In furtherance of this mindset, a new Rector, Professor Falodun has been appointed has been appointed to pursue his vision of revamping the moribund institution and bring it to par with similar ones across the world.
In line with this road map, the following has been achieved: The Polytechnic has held its maiden convocation ceremony – the first in 20 years of its existence; the commencement of new academic courses, programmes such as Mass Communication, Public Administration etc. The introduction and practice of more transparent management of funds and tools, a process that has attracted more funds and tools, a process that has attracted more funds from TETFUND and project execution.
Government Science and Technical College (GSTC)
GSTC, formerly Benin Technical College (BTC), is currently undergoing massive reconstruction and rehabilitation of its facilities. The government, through its relevant agencies, is importing laboratory and workshop equipment that will drive the institution’s goal of being technology-driven.
As GSTC is now fully-operational and currently producing high quality chairs to complement the projected N2 billion worth of chairs it will supply to primary schools in Edo State.
In line with the best global practices, Government Science and Technical College (GSTC) has been dedicated as a special resource centre for technical skills acquisition training of Edo youth.
Special Training Centre for Teachers (under Edo BEST) Abudu Campus
As part of its long-term vision for the training and retraining of teachers within Edo State, renovation works have been completed on a new block of classroom. Additionally, the Campus will serve as a training school for basic education teachers.
Civil Service Reforms and Infrastructure
- As a cardinal policy, Governor Obaseki instituted a deliberate government process where the salaries of civil servants in the governments’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) are promptly paid on the 26th day of every month. To be sure that the civil servants, work in conducive environment, Blocks C and D, were promptly renovated.
- The government has enabled the migration of its workers to the more convenient Contributory Pension Scheme. Furthermore, a 48-hour turn-around time for enquiries and in-house memos in the civil service, is in operation.
- In a workers-friendly move, the Group Life Insurance Policy for the state’s civil servants, under the Contributory Pension Scheme worth over N28 million, has been paid out to the relevant beneficiaries of the deceased civil servants’ entitlement.
- The renovation and reconstruction of the long-abandoned twin Blocks C and D of the Edo State Secretariat Complex, has been completed while the John Odigie Oyegun Institute of Civil Service Training, has also been completed and ready for use.
As a boost to workers healthcare welfare, the revolutionary establishment of the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme, for all workers in the state civil services has been set-up and operational.
The state’s pool of pensioners are regularly and promptly paid their entitlements on the 25th day of every month.
Governor Obaseki, at the outset of his administration paid and cleared all the outstanding pension arrears for over 3,000 pensioners, who were being owed arrears of over many months and years.
As a relief to many recipients, the state government has commenced the payment of statutory gratuity after harmonisation thereof. Also the government is paying the requisite death benefits to families and relevant beneficiaries of the deceased state workers.
In order to enhance the principal role of the judiciary as the implementation and interpretation arm of government policies, action and pronouncements, the state governor, took actions to invigorate the third arm of government for better performance, according to the extant constitution. The Obaseki Administration embarked on the construction of decent and comfortable houses (maisonettes) for serving judges across the judicial divisions of the state. As a complement, the renovation and refurbishing of two blocks of the High Court complex was completed for use.
- Construction of Industrial Court Complex
The Industrial Court in Edo State is the first of its kind in the South South geographical zone. It has eliminated the need for lawyers to go to Ondo State, as in the past, for legal cases relating to industrial disputes. A well – equipped building to house the new court, has been constructed and completed and has been furnished for use.
Edo Taskforce Against Human Trafficking
As a matter of utmost importance, the law prohibiting human trafficking has been enacted and is now a part of Edo State laws and statutes.
To curb illegal migration and human trafficking, a task force has been constituted and empowered under relevant laws to do the needful.
In the past 3 years, over 4,744 returnees, in 54 batches, have been received and profiled in Edo State, for resettlement.
- According to surveys by some international agencies, Edo State, which was in the first position among originating sources of illegal migrants to Europe, suddenly dropped to the sixth position, in deference to the preventive and deterrent operation of the anti-trafficking agency.
- Furthermore, the effort has received commendations and kudos from the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DFID); US Embassy, Lagos, Nigeria; European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and others to numerous to list here.
- Passage of the Violence Against Persons Bill.
Governor Obaseki promptly signed the bill into law after the Edo State House of Assembly passed the bill into law. The law seeks too address and redress all forms of violence and protect all vulnerable members of the society.
As a part of the Edo State government’s stance against the prevalent scourge of rape and other gender-based violence, the Obaseki Administration domesticated the Sex Offenders Register.
- Edo State Security Architecture
Peace and security of persons and property, guarantees development and progress of any society, especially in a state that is in invariably at the cross – roads of the western, northern, southern, and eastern road axes.
The security architecture of Edo State is designed to be funded by a dedicated N 2 billion Security Trust Fund, put in place by Governor Obaseki. At the launch of Operation Wabaizigan, two (2) Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs); 90 patrol Vehicles, 50 patrol cars, 40 pick-up patrol vans, 3 modern and multipurpose ambulances were deployed for the operations of the new security, outfit. As part of Governor Obaseki’s vision of putting in place a world-class security architecture in Edo State, a Security Management Information System to provide content and information data-base on security matters and issues in and outside Edo State, has been put in place and operational.
A Marine Police Base has been established in Gelegele, a riverine port and gateway to the state. In addition, armoured, gun boats and speed boats have been procured by the Obaseki Administration and deployed to patrol and effectively deter criminal activities and illegal bunkering along the coastal areas and creeks at the southern part of Edo State. Invariably, this intervention has curbed the criminal activities in their area of the Niger Delta.
- Edo Revenue Administration System
The Obaseki Administration has raised the receipts from the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to over N 2 billion, through the introduction of the Automated Revenue Collection System. It is projected that over 5,000 jobs will be created in due course and the funds will not be diverted into private pockets as in the previous dispensation.
- Edo – HIP (Health Improvement Programme)
In the first phrase of the Edo-HIP, 20 Pilot Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) were renovated to approved standards while there is a projection for the establishment of 180 more PHCs to be located across the 18 local Government Areas of the state and increase the people’s access to quality healthcare.
The state government has short-listed 1,700 persons to partake in the programme, while over 200 health workers have been trained. In order to have the financial muscle to drive the new approach to basic healthcare, the Obaseki Administration has introduced and inaugurated the state’s Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
All the Primary Health Care Centers in the state have been provided with solar – powered systems and potable water supply. In view of trending medical advancement, the state’s PHCs have been migrated to telemedicine infrastructure and practice to reduce physical presence in health institutions.
Road Construction: More than 800 roads have been constructed during this administration. While most of these roads have been completed, others are at the various stages of completion including:
Dualisation of TV road (Completed)
Dualisation of Ehaekpen road (Completed)
Medical Stores road (Completed)
Isihor road (Completed)
Lucky way (Completed)
James Watt road (Completed)
Wire road (Completed)
Ogiefa street (Completed)
Ogiefa lane (Completed)
Amadasun street (Completed)
Nevis street (off Forestry road) (Completed)
Roads behind Oba Palace (Completed)
Inner roads in Uselu (Completed)
Boundary road (Completed)
Giwa Amu street (Completed)
Oko Central (Completed)
Idahosa street (Completed)
Gapiona road (Completed)
Jemide drive (On-going)
Akhionbare road (Completed)
1st Ugbor Road (Completed)
Godwin Abbe road (Completed)
2nd Ugbor (Completed)
Etete road (Completed)
Guobadia road (Completed)
Ikpokpan road (Completed)
Omoruyi road (Completed)
Irhirhi – Aruogba – Obazagbon – Obagienevbosa – Ogheghe Road with spurs to Enogie Palace, and Ogbekpen community (Completed)
Poultry road (Completed)
Trained over 4200 health workers who are in the front lines of the campaign against the Coronavirus pandemic
Provided life insurance and hazard allowances ranging from N90,000 to N300,000 for health workers
Acquired 5 PCR machines; 10,000 Viral Transport Medium (TVM); 28 ventilators, mobile x-ray machines, oxygen concentrators, among others
Constructed over 300-bed capacity isolation centres spread across different health facilities in the state, with the Stella Obasanjo Hospital contributing over 42-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 156-bed holding facility; UBTH with 48-bed ICU-equipped isolation centre, and others at the ISTH, Auchi General Hospital and Ogbe Nursing Home in GRA, Benin City.
Provided relief packages for at least 90,000 most vulnerable households in the state.
Set up over 18 screening centres across the state, with five additional ones at borders with Delta, Ondo and Kogi States and another 8-mobile screening centres moving around wards in local governments to screen and collect samples for testing.
Screened 500,000 and testing of nearly 10,000 persons across the state.
Ossiomo Power Plant is a Public, Private Partnership (PPP) between the Edo State government and Ossiomo Power Company as is designed to extend power generated by the plant to designated production centres, especially within the Benin metropolis.
As a dedicated feature of generation, transmission and distribution, it will power street lights from Sapele Road to Ring Road and adjoining areas, including public facilities such as hospitals, government office etc.
All necessary equipment have been procured, installed and test run for use.
- Establishment of Edo Geographic Information System (EDO-GIS).
- Reformation of the Community Development Associations (CDAs) in order to check land-grabbing extortion, melance and abuse of due process.
Emotan Gardens Estate:
This is a joint venture partnership between the Edo State Government through the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) and Mixta Africa. It is designed to make use of local content as building materials and labour complement are source, principally, locally within Edo State.
The main focus in the ownership profile, is directed at the civil servants. Infact, the first unit was allocated to a teacher.
The first phase of the completed 100 units in the estate was commissioned by the Vice President and have been occupied by allotees.
Rehabilitation of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium:
The popular Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City has been remodeled and refitted to world and to Olympic standard and equipped with state-of the arts facilities.
The Olympic size Swimming pool and the famous tennis court (venue for the Ogbe Hand Court Tennis Competition), have been renovated in line with current swimming and tennis best practices. It is envisaged that postponed National Sports Festival, will be hosted by Governor Obaseki whenever the pandemic coronavirous is tamed.
This is in addition to other national and international sports competitions.
Edo State Traffic Control and Management Agency (EDSTMA)
The traffic control has been revamped for optimum performance as its workers are now more civil and also well-mannered will good inter-personal skills.
To energibe a reformed workforce, the agency has employed and deployed some graduate employees to ensures a more dignify traffic control corps and system.
A new form of sanctioning or punship errant driver-offenders, community service has been introduced, in addition to the prevailing ones.
A dedicated and office building to house the Training and Management Development Centre to strengthen the state’s traffic control and management within the Benin metropolis.
Revamp of Edo State Fertiliser and Chemical Company Limited (ESFCCL): Governor Obaseki approved the holistic revamping of the fertilizer company to help boost agricultural activities and guarantee a steady food security in the coming year in Edo State.
Revamp of Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA)
Governor Obaseki in his determination to re-direct and refocus the EDPA, in line with the industry’s best practices, repealed the old law and re-enacted a new one to make BDPD a private sector facing agency.
In order to follow due process and ascertain proper ownership, the reformed BDPA’s recertification process of occupants has been completed in the following estates owned and run by it: Andrew Wilson, Oregbeni, Federal Housing (Workers Village), BDPA, Ugbowo, Iyekogba and Iguosa.
In view of the high debt profile of the defaulting occupants of the estates, it (BDPA) is continuously carry out recovery of these arrears and the agency’s assets/properties in Lagos, Abuja, Benin City and other locations.
Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, the sitting Governor of Edo State, is a focused servant of his people. Hehas the welfare and uplift of the larger mass of Edolites as the corner stone of his vision and mission in seeking for a four-year second tenure, in order to adapt or adopt those policies, programmes and projects that are in the interest of the people of the state. Not One-Man-One-Loot!
As one who has been opportuned to operate at the highest echelon of state governance, for the past four years, he is imbued with the requisite intellectual savvy to power governance as he is conversant with the Rules of Engagement in the management of men, ideas, finances and materials, equitably.
Furthermore, Governor Obaseki is humble, detribalised, accessible and pervious to workable ideas, suggestions and advice, while not flaunting sectional interests or platform but rewards hard work, accountability, loyalty dedication.
Above all, he has unshakeable faith in God.
BY BRIAN AJAYI JATTO