The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has told a large audience over the week that the present confrontation facing his government is due largely to his decision to disengage thugs and urchins from the running of government agencies and governance who were earlier empowered by the political class in the state. He listed revenue collectors who were intimidating private business men and women in Edo State as those who posed huge challenges to commerce in the past.
Governor Obaseki made the disclosure in Abuja while addressing the press during the Usagbe Club of Nigeria Annual Convention that took place in Jabi District, Abuja. The convention theme; “Guiding the youths towards positive Impact on the Community,” afforded the governor the opportunity to catalog the sociopolitical challenges he met on ground and the actions he has taken to address them.
“If you understand what happened in Edo up to 2006, the non-state actors had become empowered by political class. They were collecting revenues, they were an alternative government and they constituted themselves into an army that was used for political activities.
“It is a kind of a crisis we had to deal with because we had to remove these thugs from the streets, from collecting revenue, from intimidating private businesses and which we have done successfully.”
He recounted that on assumption of office, his government met thugs who masqueraded as role models and took over power, to the extent that they formed an alternative government; “but as responsible administration that is focused on attracting investment,” his government had to bring law and order to bear, and in the process, those who do not want to abide by law and order became unsettled and restless. “Part of the issue you see in Edo today is a fight back by such class of people, but we were very encouraged by the reactions of the citizens. We don’t want thugs on our streets in whatever guise, in whatever cover.
“I don’t have a feud with the national chairman. There are political issues in Edo which have been resolved. And as far as I am concerned, they are not major issues. They have a House of Assembly that has been inaugurated. Few House members have not accepted those that have been inaugurated. But these issues will be settled. What is happening in Edo is not unusual.”
He noted that the intra-party crises that are reported in Edo State APC were being handled in the interest of all stakeholders. Governor Obaseki told reporters that his recent cabinet reshuffle that affected eight commissioners was informed by his desire to move the state to the next level and not informed by any political consideration.