Tony Osauzo, Benin
The governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) for the September 19 Edo State gubernatorial election, Mr Stevie Ozono, has observed that it is difficult to align development in the state with its status as an oil-producing state.
The candidate stated in his manifesto that his mission is to make the state ‘an ocean of prosperity in Nigeria, a model of good governance for other states.’
Ozono, who said that Edo contributes about 2.06 per cent of the total crude oil output in the country, regretted that the state has not been able to maximize its federal account allocation and internally generated revenues.
‘In 2019 alone, our state received from the federal account allocation a total sum of N66.5 billion. However, it is becoming very difficult to align the state’s development to her status as an oil-producing state.
‘We are strongly determined to put the interest of the state first in all our thinking and actions. We will put the interest of the people first, not my party or anyone else.
‘Resources and revenues of the state shall be used to improve lives and livelihood of the people of the state,’ the candidate promised.
The NRM governorship candidate stated that the drive of his government would be people-friendly, adding that he would reduce the debt burden of the state significantly by running a cost-efficient government.
In this regard, he promised that security vote and needless allowances of the executive arm of his government will be curtailed and used for the development of the state.
‘As at year-end 2018, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) annual report states that the debt to revenue ratio of Edo State stands at 248.1 per cent, which obviously is over the limit of the FRC by 198.1 per cent,’ he stated.
Ozono also decried the unemployment rate in the state and said his government would change the narrative.
‘We are not comfortable with the 25.1 per cent unemployment rate (1,250,000 people) and 18.4 per cent underemployment rate (900,000 people) of the state.
‘We are worried but determined to reduce this to single-digit via our various developmental agenda, using the SDGs as our measurement tool.’