His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, the Governor of Edo State was born on 1st July, 1957 to the famous and industrious Obaseki family of Edo State He was a businessman before venturing into politics. The first political appointment held by him was the chairmanship of Edo State Economic and Strategy team put together by former Governor of Edo State, comrade Adams Oshiomhole in 2009. He held this post until he showed interest in contesting for gubernatorial position in the State.
After the tenure of Governor Adam Oshiomhole in Edo State in 2015 the former Governor stood solidly behind him and ensured that Governor Obaseki won election and became the Governor among other contestants. In less than 3 years as the Governor of Edo State, indigenes of the State claimed that the Governor has not only repositioned the economy of the State, but has also been able to set a pace for the future growth and industrialization of the State.
Towards putting in place those to work in these industries that their foundations are being laid, he raised and re-energized the former Benin Technical College to become Government Science and Technical College. This upgrading project was funded by the world Bank. This institution is today the leading institution for Technical and vocational training in Edo State. The institution was opened in the 2019/2020 academic session. The institution boasts of world class and up to date laboratory and workshop equipment, and has started the production of chairs for other schools in the State. All these had led to increase in students enrolment in the school while many individuals are happy with the administration in this area. Electricity is not a problem in the institution as a 33kv line is dedicated to the school from Benin North Electrical sub-station. The institution also has a backup Generator to rely on, whenever there is occasional electricity failure. All these had endeared the Obaseki administration to all and sundry in the State.
Apart from the above, the State Government has finalized arrangement with foreign technical partners for exchange programmes, for the students of the institution to be trained by foreign technical experts. New members of staff were also employed to strengthen the staff of the institution. When officials of National Board for Technical Education [NBTE] visited the institution for the purpose of accreditation, the officials advised other State Governments to emulate the Obaseki led administration in this area of technical education. Governor Obaseki re-enacted public education in Edo State. He trained public school teachers and gave them digital platform. From this platform, he knows whether a teacher is in school doing his job or not. The governor and his team also introduced many things in other areas of the economy to strengthen and energise the technological development of the State. When this technological transformation begins, thousands of jobs will be created for the Youths in Edo State.
Mr. Godwin Obaseki is a man of vision who has achieved the above and so many others in Edo State. In terms of internally Generated Revenue, when Godwin Obaseki assumed office, Oredo Local Government was generating N110 million, immediately Governor Obaseki came in, the I.G.R of this Local Government became N700 million. However, those benefitting from the earlier arrangement, did not welcome this improvement in revenue generation. They wanted the amount that was going into their private pocket before the new arrangement to continue.
Unlike what is happening in other States, where workers are being owed salaries, workers in Edo State are being paid their salaries as and when due. While campaigning in 2016, Godwin Obaseki promised the electorates the creation of 200,000 jobs at the end of his first term. Recently while being interviewed by pressmen, the Governor said he had created 157,000 jobs till date. He would have fulfilled his promise if not for Covid 19 that slowed down all activities in the Country.
Unarguably, former Governor Oshiomhole has put in position a visionary Governor in Edo State. Somehow problem arose between the two of them to the extent that the incumbent Governor told the APC chairman to inform him in advance and obtain his approval before entering Edo State. Later, because of the chairman’s will that is said to be opposed to the party constitution at State level, Adams Oshiomhole was suspended from the party at the State level.
Supporters of Adams Oshiomhole on the other hand, are of the opinion that Governor Obaseki is high handed and arrogant. For instance, he banned all politicians in the State from organizing rallies. Governance is supposed to be a continuum. But the Benin Specialist Hospital that former Governor Oshiomhole put in place and was commissioned by the President of the federation was simply put under lock and key for the four years that Governor Obaseki has been on the saddle. These people, feel that the Governor should have continued with this project and complete it, but due to his high handedness, he just left the Hospital unattended to claiming that there are some elements of fraud in the construction of the Hospital which is yet to be investigated and established. The Hospital it is leant, is 100% ready in terms of structure and 75% ready in terms of equipment.
Political “Godfatherism” is an important aspect of politics in Nigeria. As pointed out in previous paragraph, former Governor Adams Oshiomhole was the political Godfather of incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki who ensured that Obaseki became the Governor of Edo State after him. In African culture, one is not expected to oppose his boss, most especially, that boss that put you in your present position. Such a person that is opposing his boss will be seen as bitting the fingers that are feeding him. Hence, expectedly comrade Oshiomhole may show Governor Godwin Obaseki the stuff he’s made of, on June 22, 2020 when APC carries out his primary election in Edo State.
As pointed out in an earlier article, the APC national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu is a highly intelligent person. Of all Governors that ruled in the thirty six States of the Federation as Governor between 1999 and 2007, he is the only one that is still relevant politically today. He’s the one that is still ruling Lagos State either directly or in directly up till now. This writer believes this is what Comrade Oshiomhole wants to achieve, but it appears he’s yet to receive thorough political education from the man that he wants to emulate.
A careful examination of what is happening in Lagos State will show that the APC National Leader does not appoint a career politician into the office of a Governor. What he does is to appoint a technocrat who is not in any way a politician. It is for this reason, that he found it easy to remove ex-Governor Ambode after his first term in office. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s method is however different from this. His Godson; Godwin Obaseki is a thorough bred politician who after four years in office as Governor would have got his own political structure in Edo State. Unless Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is still more popular than him in Edo State, how comrade Oshiomhole will remove Governor Obaseki with his record in the area of performance and his political machine on ground in Edo State remains to be seen.
I thank you for reading this piece. Please drop your comments to enable this writer to be further educated on this issue.