He never left any one in doubt about his ability to deliver when he assumed the mantle of leadership as the Governor of Edo State on November 12, 2016, after a grueling campaign which saw his immediate predecessor in office, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, sell his candidacy across the nook and cranny of the state.
To Oshimhole, Obaseki was not only the best among the caliber of persons that indicated interest to govern the state, his background and training had prepared for the task to continue from where he (Oshiomhole) will stop.
It is worthy to note that Oshiomhole confidence in Obaseki was borne out of the fact that the later had been part and parcel of the successes recorded by the government of the former number one labour leader in the country.
However, after the election he emerged victorious in the September 28, 2016 poll; Obaseki, in his inauguration address, promised that his government would be meticulous and prudent with every kobo generated by the people of Edo State and promised to continue to work for the people.
According to him, “I wish to reiterate and reaffirm these pledges and promises before you this morning not only in faithfulness to the promises I made during the campaign, but, more importantly, as a statement of the agenda we have crafted to fulfill our mission.
“In the same vein, those who competed against us for the privilege of guiding the destiny of this great state also articulated ideas and programmes genuinely intended to transform the state and the conditions of our people.
“We do not have, do not claim to have, and, for that matter, do not wish to have, a monopoly on what is good for Edo State and its people. Edo State belongs to all of us, wherever you hail from, whatever your pedigree, whatever your ideology, or, for that matter, whatever your political affiliation.
“Our destiny is defined by our common purpose and any good leadership will, after a hard-fought campaign, take the trouble to gather all the ideas that have been articulated by all parties, crystallize them and integrate them into the Grand Agenda for the transformation of our common good and well-being.
“We have studied and will continue to study these ideas and seek with diligence to select what holds promise for our people and our State and seek to integrate them into our agenda for our common good.”
However, less than three years of his administration, the questions expected is to ascertain if Obaseki has failed in any of the numerous promises made during his campaign and in his inauguration speech.
While, he needs not sing his praises that his administration had achieved a lot of transformation and reforms in many sectors of governance; like they say, “The eye can see.”
His administration had holistically transformed the education sector, putting in place a framework that had brought about institutional transformation in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
According to the governor, “we are improving infrastructure in our schools, trained over 7,000 teachers on digital learning in our basic education sector, completed the revamping of Benin Technical College, as well as consolidation of our College of Education.’’
In the heath sector, Obaseki’s administration had strengthened all aspects of the health value chain, including that of the Primary Health Centres, which were ongoing.
The government has rolled out the remodeling of 20 PHCs across the state and say it intends to do 200. The government has also initiated the Edo Healthcare Improvement Programme to achieve improved health structure and the well-being of the citizens.
To achieve this laudable programme in the sector, the state and local governments saved one per cent of their federal allocation to make investment in the health sector.
On assumption of office, the governor had promised the creation of 200, 000 jobs, and as at November 12, 2018, just two years of the administration, 77, 200 jobs had been created in both private and public sectors in the state.
He has also kept his promises of reforming the State Civil Service with the massive construction work at the state secretariat, civil service training school as well as numerous training and retraining programme that several of the state civil servants have went through.
Obaseki has virtually turned the state into massive construction site with bulldozers breakdancing, constructing and rehabilitating many roads across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
The judiciary and other sectors, especially sports, have not be left unattended to by the governor who has been dubbed “Wake and See Governor” owing to his knack to fix things before people complain about it.
It must be noted that industrial drive of the governor had started yielding positive results as construction work will anytime from now, kick off in the Benin Industrial Park and the Benin River Port; two flagship projects that will see the state competing with states like Lagos, in terms of revenue generation and jobs opportunities,
In spite of this monumental achievements, however, while the generality of the people rejoice with the Wake and See Governor, some few persons that have always placed their personal interest before that of the populace, have seen reasons to heat up the polity and distract the hard-working governor.
Unfortunately, these people, who have turned themselves to Landlords of the State, were frontrunners in the fight against Godfatherism and have also campaigned vigorously that the people must be allowed to lead.
These people who have sponsored and still sponsoring various campaigns against the government of Obaseki, have openly told the world that their grievances are the governor’s refusal to share the peoples common patrimony with them.
These few who now distant themselves from the people by orchestrating their evil plans from Abuja, their new base, aside sponsoring campaign of calumny against Obaseki and his government, also have as part of their plans, to use the State House of Assembly, not only to unsettle the administration, but possibly impeach the governor as a last resort.
While these few who are unfortunately members of the same party with the governor have continued to be indifferent towards his government, other segment of the society; market women, industrial unions such as the NLC,TUC and NULGE, NUT, NURTW, RTEAN, NANS, and various other bodies have openly lent their support to Obaseki to continue with his laudable projects across the state.
The governor have also at various times, recently received in solidarity, chieftains of the opposition party in the state, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chief Tom Ikimi, among others, who praised Obaseki for the good job he is doing in Edo State.
While the governor has continued to enjoy goodwill from majority of the people, it is wise to counsel these few dissenting voices to retrace their steps and join hands in moving the state forward because just like he said in his inauguration address, “We do not have, do not claim to have, and, for that matter, do not wish to have, a monopoly on what is good for Edo State and its people.
“Edo State belongs to all of us, wherever you hail from, whatever your pedigree, whatever your ideology, or for that matter, your political affiliation, our destiny is defined by our common purpose and any good leadership will after a hard- fought campaign, take the trouble to gather all the ideas that have been articulated by all parties l crystalize them and integrate them into the grand agenda for the transformation of our common good and well-being.
“The task is not government alone, we are in this together to bring enviable change to Edo State devoid of political, religious and ethnic differences.”
• Useni writes from Benin.