By Godwin Obaseki, Governor Edo State
As we usher in 2022, let us thank God Almighty that we are able to witness the beginning of another year.
In spite of the challenges and uncertainties experienced in 2021, there is a lot which we should be grateful to God Almighty for.
Despite witnessing two waves of COVID-19 in 2021, the mortality rate which we recorded in Edo State was far less than was projected.
This persisting COVID pandemic is a clarion call for us to pay more attention to our environment and also strengthen our healthcare system.
Consequently, the reform of our healthcare system is now a very high priority in our ongoing transformation of the entire governance structure of Edo State.
Confident that Edo citizens will continue to subscribe to the Edo Health Insurance Scheme which will provide the long-term funds to sustain our new healthcare system, we are now revamping 100 additional primary healthcare facilities while building our network of specialist hospitals in the three senatorial districts.
Our healthcare reform in Edo will also include encouragement of the private sector to invest in providing quality healthcare.
We are encouraged with the progress in our transformation of the public service and we are confident that with the ongoing recruitments, introduction of technology and the emphasis on training, our citizens will begin to receive better quality services from their government.
The construction and rehabilitation of roads are currently going on across the state. Even though the extended rainy season delayed the commencement of work, we are optimistic that significant portions of work will be completed before the next rainy season.
We are also focusing on other infrastructure such as electricity and fibre connection. Our operation Light Up Edo is in full gear with the streetlighting project being rolled out in Benin City, Ekpoma and Auchi.
We are working with a private provider to connect all our 18 local government areas with fibre optic connection to enhance access to the internet and expand the digital economy across the state.
The physical and digital infrastructure we are laying across the state, including the proposed Airport in Edo North, will position Edo State as a major commercial hub in Nigeria and West Africa.
Investing in our people will continue to be a priority in 2022 as we rollout the EdoBEST framework to all tiers of education in the state.
We are building shared production facilities in 6 technical colleges across the state to support the technical training of our youths while promoting technical entrepreneurship in these communities.
The successful take-off of the Edo Tech Park with the graduation of the first set of highly-trained software engineers and developers has spurred us to commence the construction of the permanent site for the Edo Tech Park.
We hope the first phase will be ready for use in 2022, thus ensuring Edo’s position as a tech hub on the African continent.
In addition to exposing them to technology, we are supporting our youths in entrepreneurship and innovation to seize the moment and build top-of-the-range capacity to compete with their peers globally.
We are expending resources to boost opportunities in the creative industry with the establishment of the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Soundstage.
As a government, we will continue to deepen our development strides following from the gains made in the last five years. Our emphasis will continue to remain on building capacity, deploying technology, promoting innovation, enhancing growth of the productive sector and leveraging our Diaspora population to drive sustainable development.
In the new year, we are recommitting ourselves to deepen growth across all sectors of the state and providing more opportunity for our people to realise their full potential. These we will do by leveraging the innate abilities of our people and providing them with the tools and enablement to dominate and conquer the world.
Let me appreciate and commend the effort and services of all our security agencies particularly our vigilante network who continue to work and sacrifice to keep us safe.
Our relative success in securing Edo particularly in the last few months is the result of the collaborative effort of these agencies. Our support will be extended in the new year to training of our vigilante network in the Nigeria Police Force training facilities in Ogida Barracks which has been refurbished by the Edo State Government.
In the areas of agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, energy, electricity, healthcare, education and security, we are changing the way government works and delivers services to Edo people.
As we fulfil this mandate to you, we urge you all to live up to your own civic responsibility by paying your taxes. We are revamping our tax administration system to make it easy for you to pay your taxes with the use of technology.
We urge all Edo people to approach the new year with renewed hope in our political system. Our goal is to make sure that in Edo, democracy has full expression and we only vote for candidates with demonstrated evidence to add value to our society.
I reassure the good people of Edo State that I will continue to strive to do only that which is in the best interest of Edo State and Edo people.
I wish you all a happy and safe 2022.