There is the saying that when good things are happening, one will hardly take notice of the time. This is true to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s 100 days in office. I remember when I was chatting to a friend who asked me if it’s already 100 days that Obaseki assumed Office. The 100 days has flown by with remarkable landmarks in the various sectors of Edo State economy.
I remember my very first encounter with Obaseki Campaign Organization. I had come in from Abuja, having arrived from London. I had previously established lines of communication before I came to join the campaign. I was so much interested in him becoming the governor of Edo State after appraising his track record and the need to have a capable hand manage Edo’s economy in the wake of the financial crisis. More importantly, I knew what a Continuity Government meant for our people and what would have befallen the State if power shifted to the People Democratic Party (PDP). So, I literally co-opted myself into the Team Godwin Obaseki called TeamGO. We campaigned hard and literally engaged in fierce online battles. The rest they say is history and Obaseki emerged victorious.
So what has Obaseki achieved in his 100 days in office?
Governor Godwin Obaseki immediately after assuming office embarked on a series of inspections to get firsthand assessment and take stock of what and where should get his urgent attention. In 100 days, Governor Obaseki has done a marathon but with methodical steps to prepare the structure and portfolios for his incoming cabinet and here are some of his landmarks achievements.
1. The inspection visit to Benin Technical College to find out its current situation and what should be done. Since the inspection of Benin Technical College, Obaseki has put the machinery in motion to ensure the College is revived.
2. The Inspection to the Secretariat, the home of Edo civil service, where he read the riot act to civil servants to shape up in performance, cleanliness of their work environment and service delivery.
3. The setting up of the Gelegele Seaport Committee to make Gelegele an export processing zone. The export free zone is envisaged to have an airport strip to evacuate processed goods from the zone and road networks. This will lead to the promotion of trade and commerce, and employment not to mention the significant infrastructure development.
4. The setting up of the Committee under the Agriculture Empowerment Initiative to revamp agriculture in the state. The advantages this Agric initiative cannot overemphasised especially as our national vision is on diversifying the economy through agriculture to ensure self sustainability. The target of this Agric Empowerment Initiative is to create about 80,000 jobs.
5. Governor Obaseki organised the agribusiness workshop where stakeholders in the agric sector mapped out strategies to revamp the sector.
6. The policy of involving and encouraging the partnership between the state government and private sectors to drive investment, enlist capacity, expertise and knowledge in executing programs. For example, the partnership with Saro AgroSciences, a leading company in the agribusiness space of Nigeria with expertise in crop production and protection in the Agribusiness initiative.
7. The prohibition of tax collection by non state actors.
8. The cessation on manual collection of taxes and the introduction of a tax waiver system of up to 50 percent for defaulting taxpayers.
9. The commissioning of a committee to look into electronic means as an alternative to the manual system of tax collection.
10. The synergy of purpose with traditional institutions. Obaseki visited the Oba of Benin to seek his support but unsurprisingly, the Oba’s vision correlates with Obaseki plans for Edo. So, there is mutual understanding from the outset.
11. The The Oba of Benin unprecedented and reciprocal visit to Obaseki in which said he would support his administration.
12. The engagement of religious leaders in the state to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence of citizens irrespective of their faith. The fallout of the engagement was the agreement to establish inter religious council, I think the first in Edo to promote harmony, solve the issue of street children and joint partnerships with religious leaders to tackle security problems like the herdsmen menace.
14. The criminalisation of the activities of Community Development Associations in the state.
15. The paradigm shift in education policy – technical and vocational education that will revive the skills gap and improve employability. This will equip citizens with technical skills ready for work and massively improve the quality of human resources to drive the process of industrialization and agriculture.
16. The rebuilding and rehabilitation of schools in some communities in Edo State which undoubtedly will strengthen the facilities for our children and provide a more conducive environment for learning.
17. The major focus on human capacity development to bring out the creativity and entrepreneurship of Edo people.
18. The payment of salary arrears of former lecturers and staff who worked at the College of Education, Ekiadolor, now Tayo Akpata University of Education
19. The commitment to make Tayo Akpata University technologically driven – benchmarked on global standards and the subsequent setting up the Tayo Akpata development team, which he chairs.
20. The smooth passing of the 2017 Budget of Consolidation and Prosperity. This showed the harmonious relationship between the Executive and the Legislature.
21. The Contributory Pension Scheme with the appointments of 15 pension fund administrators to undertake the enrolment of employees in the state public service in accordance with his 2017 budget speech.
22. The passing into law the Pension Bill that will organise the implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Since inauguration, Governor Obaseki has refocused Edo State to dig deep and transform itself to become of the best state to do business in Nigeria. Within 100 Days, we have seen the unprecedented high level of investors queuing up to do business in Edo State.
On the non appointment of commissioners within 100 days, my view is that this is not only strategic but also a determination to do things differently. By working directly with permanent secretaries of government, Obaseki is able to hear directly from civil servants and the several challenges facing their ministries and the ongoing refocused approach to work in the civil service.
In 100 Days, Governor Obaseki has risen to the challenges of the inherent financial crisis in the system. He is steadily streamlining the cost of governance and reducing inefficiencies. Governor Obaseki has proven the confidence reposed in him by Edo people to manage their affairs. His commitment, passion and zeal to place Edo State on the global map has shone through. He has throne himself into the trenches; not afraid to get dirty, he is out and about inspecting roads, carrying personal on-the-spot assessments and working tirelessly to reposition Edo State. Obaseki is on course.
By Gloria Adagbon