Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has said he was determined to free the state from the grip of a certain individual who believes his stature is weightier than the entire people of the south-south state.
Governor Obaseki made the declaration in Abuja when he played host to a delegation of Benin Community in the Federal Capital Territory.
The state has been embroiled in crisis following the election of a Speaker for the Edo State House of Assembly by 9 members in the 24 member Parliament. The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution that the State Assembly be shut down. The Senate ad-hoc committee on the crisis led by Senator Abdullahi Sabi met with twelve of the aggrieved lawmakers on Thursday.
Giving an insight into the genesis of the crisis, Governor Obaseki said a certain individual from the State who should be using his good offices at the party national secretariat for the good of the state was orchestrating the crisis.
The Edo state governor recalled that his initiative to take the youths of the state from the streets and engage them productively has courted the anger of certain individuals who have been keeping such promising youths as an army of violence to intimidate their political opponents.
He said:” In my electioneering campaigns, I was clear that if God gives me mandate, I will do my beat for the state. I have been doing that silently behind the scene for 8 years before I became governor.
“I was very clear about my focus and I said the youths is my first primary. Goggle human trafficking, the first city you see is Edo. That’s why my first official visit was to our technical college.
The money we are getting from Abuja wasn’t adequate. So, given my background, I sought to bring investors so that they can engage our people.
“We have a lot of boys who aren’t educated and were being recruited to cause violence, few people were given revenue base to maintain an army for violence and I said why should we keep thugs to disturb the peace of the state because, without peace, investors won’t come.
” My first challenge was to take them out and engage them but unknown to me, I was stepping on toes. So, the crisis I was facing today started from there, that’s the genesis. Before, you can’t put a block on your property without being harassed. So when you see development today, it is the result of my bold decisions. I just didn’t throw these boys out, I try to engage them. By the grace of God, those youths will be removed as Agbero! (motor parks touts).”
Governor Obaseki said he would remain focused on his commitment to providing social infrastructures, regain the confidence of the people in public schools and woo investors to the state rather than give out its meagre resources to massage the ego of a certain political godfather. He assured the Edo citizens that the state has been peaceful and further claimed that the reports of apprehension were a mere media creation.
“I appreciate your concern and worries about what is happening at home. But I want to tell you that Edo is peaceful as I speak. The media has been reporting more than what it is happening. If Edo is not peaceful, there would have been protests after the illegality by the House of Representatives.
“Before I assumed office, most of our roads were impassable. The local councils couldn’t pay their workers, but today that has been settled. Before, pensioners wore black to Labour Day parade; this year, they wore white!
“Dedicated Edo people are coming to invest in Edo, but the hoodlums are saying we are bringing people from Lagos, forgetting that they are our people who are resident in Lagos.
“Our teachers are being retrained to give their best to the students. One year after, our educational system is now a model for outsiders. The Ministers of Education of Rwanda was here, one year after to learn our model.
” By the grace of God, when I finish my term, I go back to my business. I can’t be governor and not be a governor. I can’t nominate a minister! It is ironic that we have a one-party state in Edo, all our lawmakers are members of the All Progressives Congress but we are in crisis. But our man at the top can’t resolve the crisis but he is calling on outsiders to come and take over Edo. How can I as governor conduct an election and somebody come and cancel it? I am proud of my performance, even if I spend one term. What have I done wrong? My only offence is that I don’t share Edo money. I am determined to prove that the weight of the people is weightier than that of anybody!”
In his remarks, President, Benin Community in Abuja, Dickson Omoregie, appealed to Governor Obaseki not to surrender his mandate to any godfather while craving for peace.
“Before now, it was said that there was no unity amongst us in Edo. “We are concerned about what is happening. We are known to be peaceful, we are known to be hospitable and we care for one another. We pray that peace shall return and we are joining the voice of the Oba of Benin to call for peace.
“But don’t turn yourself to a puppet, Edo must witness development under you and we are aware of the various developmental strides under you. We appeal to you not to be distracted. Be conscious of your legacy.
“We crave for peace, we want Edo state to be in the good news for things that are good. We don’t want to hear news of rascals parading themselves to cause havoc. That will be good and cheering news for us. “