FEATURE ARTICLE

Oteghe AdamsSaturday, February 11, 2017
otesadams@yahoo.com
Benin City, Nigeria

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OBASEKI AND EDO ECONOMIC REVOLUTION

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rom November 12th 2016 when Governor Obaseki formally assumed office, there has been an unprecedented infusion of transforming energetic visions and systemic policy re-alignment in the affairs of Edo state. Irrespective of the partisan inclination of ardent political analysts, it is incontrovertible that the governor is focused on constructing a formidable architecture for socio-economic revolution. The mere notion of a vibrantly healthy and economically competitive Edo State in the heart of Nigeria- an idea which would have been clinically declared hallucinatory in the PDP years, is now forming into a solid reality under Governor Obaseki.

With characteristic gentleness and diligent focus, the governor has introduced a new brand of sensible activism into developmental economics and democratic statecraft. Edo populace is witnessing a political paradigm where the governor constantly and courageously articulates and synchronizes visions with missions, and he declares objectives and expected outcome with approximate precise metrics for assessments of accomplishments. Without equivocation, the governor has showed unparalleled fidelity to his major electoral pledges while keeping faith with his constituencies in other developing crucial fronts. Beginning with his conscientious work culture in Osadebey House to his breathless working visits to the various local government areas and foreign journeys, the governor is dutifully engaged in transmitting a set of quintessential message of the dawn of a new era of: job creation, agriculture and agri-business, industrial revolution and security for Edo State.

No matter the angle of critical examination of his major actions since assuming office, there is a centrality of economic fusion for sustainable growth and development in these efforts. An encapsulated memo of these initiatives will include the governorís assessment visit to the once vocational skills- incubation centre of Benin Technical College, the hosting of series of forums and workshops on agriculture and agri-businesses, his leadership role in framing the philosophical foundation of the 2017 budget, the launch of the technical committee for the development of Gelegele Seaport as well as the meetings and exchanges on technical and fiscal cooperation with the Chinese and Japanese among other potential global partners. Each and every part of the administrationís endeavor qualitatively improves the economic synthesis as envisaged by the governor- all the consequential factors for a buoyant economic equation are being perfectly aligned. Thereís indeed a philosophical coherence and progressive consistency to the utterances and actions of the governor. It could be said that within a short span of about 60 days in office, Obaseki has thoughtfully and boldly commenced the establishment of new foundations for the emergence of a vibrant economic power house.

To read some of the detailed economic thoughts and action plan of the governor is to relish in the inspirational profile of a new crop of Nigeriaís global pragmatic leadership. For instance, on the matter of revitalizing Benin Technical College, Obaseki aims at elevating the school to the height of producing internationally certified Edo citizens as part of the much-valued mid-level skilled employees at home and in West African nations. Thus, Edo State will become a cherished location in the world market of scarce vocational skills. Equally remarkable is the span of the Governor Obasekiís decision to create agricultural hubs around some selected crops in which the state has comparative advantage, his program of increasing the value chain for the selected crops and government-assisted rapid process of land acquisition for farming and linkage of farmers with relevant industrialists, are equally profound. This initiative could significantly and beneficially alter and modernize the structure of agriculture in the state, cause a boost in employment in the sector while stimulating foreign investments for farming and agri-businesses. For Obaseki, the issue of economic diversification is far beyond mere slogans rather the governor considers urgent alternatives to the current precarious oil-dependent structure as a fiscal and historical imperative for the survival of the Nigerian polity. Without a doubt, Obasekiís commitment to a well-planned and efficiently-executed Green Revolution and flourish of agri-business is unrivalled in contemporary history.

In general, the velocity of the governorís economic activities and the horizon on which heís focused are by no means surprising taking into consideration his professional background in the world of finance. Beginning with his declarations at his swearing-in- ceremony to the thoughtfully established philosophical pillars of the 2017 budget in tandem with series of other on-going initiatives, the state is undoubtedly en route to a leap forward in various spheres of development. The budget which was appropriately titled Ďí The Road to Prosperityíí offered a clear projection of six key areas of broad policy objectives accompanied with calibrated milestones of quick wins, as well as medium and long term goals. The six pillars which span Economic, Infrastructure, Social Welfare, Institutional, Environmental revolutions and New Township Development are inextricably foundational for an evolving economic giant.

Within and beyond the altitude of these aspirations, the governor has vowed that the state will attain new heights of more respectable locations among Nigerian states and in further geographical arena- to paraphrase Obaseki from his recent statements: the dawn of Edoís economic revolution is now, the only limitations to the zenith of Edoís aspirations is the obstacles that the people create for themselves. There is an endearing earnestness and patent honesty in Obasekiís devotion to public service. It is therefore noteworthy that the confident strides of the governor on the terrain of history are steadily being consolidated.

Unfortunately, the specie of bold and imaginative vision being cultivated by Obaseki may appear illusory and unattainable to those who raided the collective patrimony of the state during the wilderness years of 1999-2007. It is the same gang that is now actively seeking surreptitious avenues to negate the legitimacy of the peoples mandate so overwhelmingly expressed on September 28th 2016-thereís nothing altruistic, democratic or legal in the distracting drama that the defeated PDP factional cabal is currently attempting to create using the otherwise hallowed halls of justice. Obasekiís drive for a new Edo economy will remain a mystery to the PDP plundering crew that neither had the inclination nor the capacity for job creation.

But for the larger Edo citizenry, there is credible enthusiasm for the actualization of the governorís agenda in a way to securely advance Edoís journey on the road of accelerated progress. The voters opted for the pledge of 200,000 jobs, for an unprecedented era of industrial and agricultural revolution and a season of increased productivity and wealth for the shared prosperity of all Edo State community. The soundness of the administrationís economic policies is indisputably emblazoned with the imprimatur of a committed public servant, the foresightedness of a global finance technocrat and the precision of a scientific economic planner. Governor Obaseki is indeed exhibiting some of the very endearing qualities for which the mass majority of the Edo electorate polled in his favour. The new economic map of Edo State is being steadily unveiled and the momentum towards epochal horizons of accomplishments for the people is now unstoppable, the incubation of Edoís economic renaissance by Governor Obaseki could become a storied aspect of the first half of the 21st Century.

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