Edo Decides: 40 Days to Go…Obaseki, Ize Iyamu Go for Broke!

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… I’ll Industrialize Edo – Obaseki

Being extract from the the speech delivered by the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial candidate, Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki at the official flag off APC campaign for Edo Governorship election recently at Ogbe Stadium Benin City.

OUR MANIFESTO

1)   Focus on Job Creation

 Within four years, we will create over 200,000 new jobs across the state through agriculture, entrepreneurship schemes, attracting investments for the development of Industries and Technical & Vocational Skills Development. We will publish a template to be jointly used by the public and the civil society to track the achievement of this objective.

a)    Agriculture

In line with the popular aphorism that says “Give a man fish and you feed him for a day, but when you teach a man how to fish, you feed him forever’, therefore our agricultural development model will reposition agriculture from being subsistent farming or a way of life to Agriculture as business. Many Edo people will generate wealth by keying into our value chain development of oil palm, cassava, cocoa, grains, rubber, fruits and vegetables. We will create over 150,000 jobs within the next four years under a farm ownership and management model or out-growers’ scheme.

b)    Entrepreneurship

Through the provision of micro, small and medium enterprise loans at single digit interest rates, we will encourage micro and small businesses to grow, medium enterprises will become large companies on the long run. This will create over 50,000 jobs as we intend to support over 20,000 MSMEs in the next 4 years.

c)    Development of Industries

  Currently the electricity demand in Edo State is over 450 mega watts but the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) is rationing about 150 megawatts of electricity between the four states it serves. We want to generate 20% of Nigeria’s electricity from plants sited in Edo State, so we will attract more investments in large and small scale electricity generation and working with the BEDC, we will ensure that more power is available for domestic and industrial use. We will also ensure that areas not previously connected will be linked with the electricity grid. Excess generation will be sold to the national grid.

d)    Education

  We will make it a matter of state policy to attract investments to our Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) institutions on a sustainable basis across the state to specialise in areas for which they are best aligned including agriculture, engineering, building technology, fabrication, hospitality & food sciences, furniture & wood joinery, and ICT. Each Institution will achieve the highest Nigerian and international accreditation and will be sufficiently staffed. Recognising the role of technical and vocational skills in industries, our industrialisation policy will ensure local conomic empowerment of Edo people through contracting and staffing. Our Government will link technical education and skills acquisition to industrialization trajectory of the state, this means that our investment in the area of technical education will be driven by the needs of industries, economy and relevance of programmes.

2)   Women Empowerment

There is a saying that “the rain produces abundance wherever it falls”.

We will provide the enabling environment for women to achieve their highest potential by taking our women empowerment initiative beyond the phase of empowering women. We will empower society as a whole through the women because when we strengthen women we are empowering our domestic economy. We will advance government services when women occupy leadership positions.

Specifically, we will:

•       Launch development projects under the leadership of women;

•       Improve access to low interest rate financing for Women-in-Business;

•       We will develop over 20,000 affordable modern shops across the state by renovating existing markets and developing new ones under Public-Private Partnerships (PPP);

•       We will also ensure that our women’s health indices improve through adequate medical infrastructure, health care services and health care subsidies.

•       We will ensure at least 35% women representation in our broad- based government across board.

3)   Youth Empowerment

 In addition to providing access to Medium and Small Scale Enterprises financing for our young entrepreneurs, we will focus on the development of our youths through investments in sports, arts and crafts. Our key target will be to link these talents with resources to become globally competitive and access to markets to unlock their inherent potentials.

4)   Civil Service Reforms

I, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, this day the 16th of July 2016 pledge to build a strong Civil Service whose population will be proud to be identified as Edo State Civil Servants anywhere they find themselves. My Government will invest in training and capacity building of the civil service within a broad plan of refocusing the service to meet the 21st century governance demand.  

5)   Infrastructure Expansion

  We will consolidate the gains of the last seven and a half years by continuing the infrastructure revolution and urban renewal efforts. We will complete the improvement on the education infrastructure in the remaining schools and build new ones.

  We will take our healthcare delivery to an international standard to reduce the need to travel abroad for health. Reports have it that Nigerians spends close to $2 billion in medical tourism to India in 2015 alone.

6)   Security

  As the Chief Security Officer of the state as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, we will entrench law and order across the state by cultivating a government that is alive to the need to the security of lives, property and investments while speeding up dispute resolution and strengthening the criminal justice system.

  However, knowing full well that youth employment is a major remedy to security breaches, we will link our security approach to industrialization, youth training, skills acquisition, civil construction and our robust public works programme which is aimed at generating over 20,000 direct employment in the first three years. 

More specifically, we will:

•      Formulate a comprehensive security strategy with inputs from all stakeholders with a view to making Edo State safe for the citizens and for investors.

•      Strengthen the Criminal Justice System with initiatives targeted at promoting a workable system for the interpretation of the law, determination of disputes and punishment of offenders;

•      We will support the police and other state-sponsored agents in various capacities and the infrastructure that supports them in the work they do.

•      Re-introduce mobile and assize courts to expedite the dispensation of justice in matters concerning small claims and misdemeanours and to reduce the strain on our courts of superior record.

•      Reinvent and incorporate Emergency Control Systems to secure the wellbeing of Edo people.

7)   Tax Reforms

  Bearing in mind our economic development initiatives which we will commence immediately upon assuming office and recognising the role of taxation in development, we will implement a pocket-friendly tax regime to grow the tax base. In this regards I am quick to remember the words of an accomplished jurist, Sandra-Day O Conor,  that “No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom”. I have been a private sector businessman paying taxes to government and also as a senior official of government helping with taxation management. I know the pains of taxation and the benefits that come with responsible management of tax proceeds. Our government shall commit itself to a transparent management of tax payers resources at all times.

  To this end, we have anchored our campaign on the establishment and furtherance of good governance through institutions, infrastructure, investments, enforcement of law and order, increased production capacity and socio-cultural development. 

  Our limits shall not be defined by the challenges of today but by the extent to which we are prepared to push forward our purpose, our commitment, our dreams, our practice and our strategies through hard work. Our success will depend ultimately on your willingness to give us your confidence and approval.

  We are aware that reality in governance often throws up unexpected circumstances. Yet we state before you all today, that WE SHALL NOT FAIL even while setting these high standards.

Finally, we ask that you challenge us to deliver the extra ordinary. Broaden your vision of the Edo State that you want and it will become the Edo State that we will build together.

   I stand before you committed to ensuring that the great work that has commenced and successes recorded in our efforts to build an economically viable, enduring  and formidable Edo State is not only achieved but sustained so that we can provide a guaranteed future for our children, empowerment for our women, happy retirement days for pensioners, access to capital for our farmers, improved conditions of service for the Civil Service, modern markets for our traders, skills development for our artisans, finance for small and medium scale businesses and deeper involvement of the Traditional Institutions in our collective development agenda.

  As Governor, I a pledge to build an Edo State that has a strong and resilient economy; an economy that will provide jobs for our teeming youths and fulfill our social aspirations as a people. I will continue the infrastructure revolution and expand the urban renewal and housing efforts. I will focus on women and give them priority in education, health and entrepreneurial opportunities we will create.

  Power, Housing, agriculture and agro processing; mining and extractive industries including petrochemicals; and information technology will form the bedrock on which Edo State would grow its economy and generate jobs and industries.

During my tour of the entire 18 local government areas of the state before the APC primaries, I saw from the beautiful mountain view of Ososo in Akoko Edo through the busy Ilushin Waterside in Esan South East down to the ever-green vegetation swaths of Ovia and Orhiomwon, I saw an Edo State that is so blessed by nature awaiting to be tapped for a sustained economic growth and development.

  I saw an Edo State whose strategic location in the Nigerian federation is not only to unite the country, but to support the strategic intent of Nigeria which is to be a self-sustaining independent country and by this, Edo State becomes the route through which this objective could be attained.

  I see an Edo State whose viability as an economic hub is no longer in doubt, I see an Edo State whose capacity to recreate itself will be a matter of course, I see an Edo state whose educational institutions will become a reference point for others in the region and indeed in Nigeria just the way it used to be, I see an Edo state whose diaspora population will be an integral part of our development.

  I envisioned an Edo State, whose youths will be the foundation of our development and the fulcrum of our mission, I see an Edo State where the quality of lives of our people will be far higher than the national average due to the direct impact of our economic policies.

  Ladies and Gentlemen, I see an Edo State whose famous cultures and traditions will be reinvigorated under my leadership to become part of our economic growth and harnessed to the greater benefit of our people. I see an Edo State where our people will leave in peace, equanimity and where social justice, equity and fairness shall prevail at all times.

  I am opportuned to have a running mate who is a tested politician, a man of the people with deep connections with the masses, a dedicated party member and team player . Honourable Phillip Shaibu is a youth whose enthusiasm and energy will bring enormous value to the task of governance. Together, we will work day and night as a team to ensure the realization of the collective aspirations of our people. I therefore request you all to support and pray for us as we contest for the office of Governor of Edo State. Join us to pray and support our resolve to ensure Edo State takes her pride of place as a strategic destination for investors and a state where its citizen live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

…I’ll Transform Edo – Ize Iyamu

Being an extract from the manifesto of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Mr Ize Iyamu at the official flag off APC campaign for Edo Governorship election recently.

SECURITY

* The use of well-trained and motivated personnel empowered with cutting-edge technology for combating crime and the involvement of all stakeholders in the communities will be adopted to make Edo people sleep with their two eyes closed.

* Partnership with communication companies to make a functional emergency system part of the security system just as it will provide adequate materials support for the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.

* Community policing program involving neighbourhood watch and vigilante groups will be established in rural and urban areas.

SOCIAL WELFARE

*His administration will develop a comprehensive plan to make social welfare programmes work for our people.  Every resident of Edo State will be allotted a personalized life-time Social Security Number.

*Every child born here will also have a dedicated Social Security Number.  With this, we can track the need for assistance among our women, children, the disabled, the elderly and vulnerable members of the society.  This will assist the authorities to track the number of children going to school and those joining the labour market.

*Pensioners will be paid as and when due to ensure their comfort, convenience and dignity.

INFRASTRUCTURE

*Roads and Drains – Our goal is to have all major roads and streets within Benin City and all local government headquarters asphalted and in most cases, with accompanying walkways, drains and streetlights, in an unprecedented urban renewal scheme.

*We shall review the Benin Storm Water Project and ensure it is completed within a reasonable period to address the problem of perennial flooding in the state capital.

*A second bridge to link Upper St. Saviour and Ikpoba Hill will be constructed.  This will also help to reduce traffic bottlenecks at Ikpoba Hill axis and Murtala Muhammed Way Junction of Sokponba road.

*We will extend the Airport Road construction to continue across the bridge to Evbuodia-Utagba Village to join Ekenwan Barracks Road by Ojemai Farm.

ELECTRICITY

*He promised to give priority to rural electrification through the provision of transformers, feeder pillars, poles and other equipment to bring electricity to the doorsteps of rural dwellers so as to enhance local economic and social activities.  Specifically, all towns, villages and communities across the state will be connected to the national grid in a sustainable manner. He will partner with investors in power generation in order to improve power supply in our state.

WATER SUPPLY

*Says his government will reform and invest in Edo State Urban Water Board to boost the provision of potable water across the state and de-emphasize the present over-reliance on borehole water.  To this end, he will embark on the construction of public water works in selected community clusters across the state, and vigorously embark on resuscitation, expansion and modernization of all existing water schemes, such as Ikpoba River Dam, Ugbialo Water Works, Ojirami Dam and others across the state.

*The water problem in most parts of Edo Central will be given top priority and will be vigorously addressed and solved.  He assured he will end the long-standing suffering of the people of Edo Central who have lacked water for several years.

AGRICULTURE

*The centrepiece of Edo State agricultural policy shall be the empowerment of the small-scale farmers.  At the same time, his government shall promote commercial large-scale farming. Both sets of farmers will be supported with high-yield seeds or stocks of live stocks, effective rural development, rural infrastructure, stable energy supply, agricultural credit, marketing and processing arrangements, research and training backup, and quality control.  The agricultural policy will create and expand job opportunities by intervening and facilitating job and wealth creation through the entire agricultural value chain in production of rice, development of poultry, livestock, rehabilitation of government-owned rubber plantation at Urhonigbe, development of large-scale nurseries for the supply of oil palm, cocoa, cashew seedlings and development of homestead and artisanal fisheries at Gelegele areas for export.The policy will also include market-gardening/horticultural crops production, agricultural marketing board/company to bulk purchase from farms and stores to resell, cassava seed farms, cassava processing, medicinal plants production and processing and sugar cane cultivation.

EDUCATION

*In education, no Edo child will be left behind. Edo State government will provide free and compulsory education from primary school up to the end of junior secondary school. The education programme will be driven by a determination to train Edo people to be skilled and competitive both nationally and globally through the adoption of modern pedagogical methods, including ICT and multi-media platforms.  Emphasis will be on science and technology, with particular emphasis on those courses that enable our youths to obtain technological skills that will enhance the development of the state.

*Re-introduction of boarding facilities in public secondary schools across the state as this will inculcate leadership qualities in the youths.  It will encourage students in science and technology education and reward outstanding students with full scholarship.  To emphasize technical and vocational training so as to improve on the skills and entrepreneurial development of school leavers. Incentives will be offered to attract students to technical and vocational training to discourage over-dependence on tertiary education.

*No Edo child shall be denied access to education either at secondary or tertiary level on the grounds of inability to pay tuition fees.  Therefore, we shall embark on a comprehensive census of Edo undergraduates in all higher institutions across the country with a view to determining a reasonable, realistic and sustainable annual bursary award to them.

JOB CREATION

*The plan is to create an enabling business environment in the state, such that can attract honest investors to take advantage of all our PPP initiatives.  Thousands of jobs will be created through various programmes of the SIMPLE agenda.  PPP industrial schemes in each of the senatorial districts will provide employment for 10,000 persons, another 10,000 will be engaged in planned farm settlements. Sanitation and waste management will absorb about 10,000 persons and partnership with financial institutions and banks for SMEDAN will provide new employment for at least 5,000 yearly.  Also, an unquantified number of jobs are expected to be created from Graduate Youth Entrepreneural Scheme, Youth Empowerment through Agricultural and Farmers Support Programme among others.

HEALTH

  *Harmonization of federal, state and local government health care plans and the incorporation of the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), with appropriate costing complemented with robust capacity building, will be carried out with focus on reducing prevalence of communicable and non-communicable diseases and prevalence of child and maternal morbidity and mortality; increasing life expectancy through integrated, reformed, restructured and functional health system; providing adequate personnel and institutions that will promote healthcare delivery and setting up a functional disease control agency for surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of disease.

*Equip all existing primary health centres with adequate qualified personnel, provide continuous education for personnel, free immunization for children ages 0-5 years, free immunization against diseases like yellow fever, meningitis, tetanus, free ante-natal care for pregnant women, free health care for the elderly and children aged 0-5 years, free counselling and treatment of HIV and AIDS, TB and leprosy, among others.

*Provision of 18 mobile health service buses to provide healthcare to people in rural areas and villages and locating of cottage hospitals in all the local government headquarters across the state.

INDUSTRIALIZATION

*Focus will be on re-examining existing public and private industries with a view to resuscitating them and ensuring profitable operations; using their improved operations as a vehicle for providing increased employment opportunities; establishing one Industrial Park in each Senatorial District; establishing an Export Processing Zone as an industrial commercial hub; mentoring the local government councils to establish industrial cluster in their jurisdictions; stimulating the growth and development of a culture of industrial production and entrepreneurship in the state; establishing a refinery in Ikpoba-Okha and a gas plant at Oben in Orhiomwon local government area.

*A furniture manufacturing cluster will be established in Egor/Ikpoba-Okha axis; a garment manufacturing cluster will be established to supply the clothing need of school children uniforms; turn Edo to a major exporter of well-designed African clothes; establish a solid minerals cluster in Edo North to cater for those in the chemical and allied industry and establish grain cluster for rice in Edo Central, etc.

TRANSPORT

* To liaise with the federal government in partnership with private investors to expand or relocate the Benin Airport in order to meet the demands of the imminent industrial revolution in the state; to facilitate and improve water transportation by forming a consortium with the federal government to dredge the Gelegele River and make it a modern seaport; seek technical partners and investors to develop and extend railway lines to the three senatorial districts; engage the federal government to complete the Benin bypass and Okene-Auchi-Benin highway without further delay and establish two modern trailer parks for articulated vehicles – one at Oluku-Ore road and the other at Aviele along Benin-Auchi road.

*Provide free public transportation (via public buses) for children at primary and secondary schools who must wear their school uniforms; subsidize by 50% the transportation fares via public bus of students in higher and tertiary education in the state.

*Edo line will be revived and made fully operational while Edo City Transport Service will be strengthened to cover more communities.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

*The “SIMPLE” Agenda will treat youths, sports, recreation and cultural activities as a business model for job and wealth creation.  Special funding will be allocated to improve facilities, hire coaches and motivate sports men and women to attain national and international excellence. Government will re-introduce schools sports in in all public and private primary and secondary schools in the state; Insurance Football Club and other sports clubs and associations will be given special consideration and government will partner with reputable stakeholders to sponsor and promote the clubs; re-introduce the Ogbe Hard-Court Tennis Championship; reclaim the state leading role in boxing; resuscitate and refurbish the games village in Afuze and promote equality in sports, including encouraging gender parity and disabled equality in participation across a range of sports.

TAXATION

*To review the present tax policy, which is harsh, punitive and discriminatory and stop unnecessary duplication of taxes as simpler tax regime will encourage compliance.

*To abolish all illegal tax and levy collectors, including ticketing officers and “Agberos” in public places such as markets, parks, roads and stores, etc.  To employ local tax enforcement officers equipped with distinctive uniforms and hand-held billing machines for collecting taxes, various charges and rents at peoples’ doorstep in a humane and professional manner.  These policies would create approximately 9,000 jobs across the state, increase efficiency gain and save Edo State government over N3 billion in unaccounted-for or missing IGR.

TOURISM

*The ultimate goal of our tourism economic programme will be to capitalize on the centrality of the state to develop ‘BRAND EDO’ which will be built around entertainment, historical and cultural heritage.  The focus will be in the development of Edo Tourism Master plan; organization of an annual Benin carnival; creation of Tourism Development Zones; Convocation of Edo State Tourism Summit; Creation of Tourism Clusters; Identification of Tourist Destinations across the state; reclamation and development of Tourism Assets; convocation of Annual Bronze Festival in Benin City, etc.

HOUSING

*Government will supply quality housing through a policy of social housing for the poor and the vulnerable, and develop affordable houses for workers in the state; access to affordable mortgages at single-digit interest rates will be pursued; create new Government Reservation Areas (GRA) by allocating land, providing infrastructure (including road networks) and inviting reputable developers to take over such areas at reasonable cost to government and the affected communities.

 

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