Reacting to the ongoing political battle in their state, teachers, market women, pensioners, youths, religious leaders and other groups stormed the Museum Ground, Oba Ovoranmwan Square, in Benin City, on this Thursday to express support for the Godwin Obaseki-led government.
Addressing the crowd, made up of party executives from the 192 wards in the state, Obaseki dared politicians in the state, who now operate from Abuja, to come and take over the activities of Edo State House of Assembly.
The governor, said it was regrettable that some politicians who had in time past joined in the struggle to entrench ‘Let the people lead’ mantra in Edo state now seek to work against the people.
The different groups used the occasion to reject the call for return to dark days of the rule of a godfather. They explained that the solidarity march was embarked upon to tell Nigerians how much impact the Obaseki administration has made in their lives, and he should be given free hands.
They expressed appreciation to the governor and his team for prioritising their wellbeing with the regular payment of workers’ salaries, pension, revamp of public schools, health centres amongst other people-centric programmes and policies.
Speaking at the venue of the rally, Edo State Chairman of the National Youth Council, Mr Osahon Obasuyi, thanked the governor for the work being done in the state as it relates to job creation for youths, noting, “We have Edo-Jobs, Edo Production Centre, Edo Innovative Hub and the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme. The governor is delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of the state and come August 12, the Edo chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria will decorate him as a performing governor.”
The State Market Women leader, Blacky Omorogbe, hailed the former Governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for giving the people of the state a good successor who has continued to transform all sectors of the state.
She said, “Oshiomhole assured us that Obaseki will deliver the dividends of democracy to us, and today, Obaseki has not disappointed us.”
She added that the market women are fully in support of the governor’s second term bid.
The Secretary of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Sir Humphrey Best Iriabe, said Christians in the state are solidly behind the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration and will support his re-election bid in 2020.
The CAN secretary noted, “Obaseki is a man with a knack for excellence and has a consummate passion to work for the people and develop Edo State. We will support him to prevail just as Nehemiah in the bible prevailed. Do not be distracted as the God-servant governor.”
The Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Fatai Enabulele, said since the emergence of Obaseki as governor, he has shown respect for both young and old, adding that the governor has shown commitment to all people regardless of faith and creed.
He stressed that if the All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to give the governor ticket to run for the governorship position in 2020, Edo people will form another party for the governor to contest the election.
A representative of teachers under the Edo-BEST programme, Ehigie Isoken, said: “Before now, we were mourning because of the condition in which we worked. But the governor has trained and groomed us to bring out the best in us. While some people said we were incompetent and good for nothing, the governor trained us to become digital teachers.”
In his remarks, representative of National Union of Pensioners commended the governor for prompt payment of monthly pension, noting, “payment of pension arrears is almost complete. We get our pension before month end. We have never had it so good until when Obaseki came in as governor.”
Meanwhile, the governor assured that Edo is in safe hands with himself, Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq. on the saddle.
He said the political tension was to distract him but he would remain focused on delivery of democracy dividends.
According to him, “We will continue to remain focused. Our focus is to use the money we have in Edo State to build infrastructure, assist our children get the best education and maintain leadership in education in the country and continue to produce the best manpower for our country.
“I will continue to commit to my electoral promises to Edo people to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs in my first term in office. By the grace of God. I have already created over a 100,000 jobs. We are not there yet, but we will get there.”
He added, “What I will not do as a governor and an Edo man, is eat the seed yam which is meant for cultivation so that we can have a bumper harvest. The little money we have today, I will not allow anyone eat it. The money is meant to be invested so that we can have a future for our children in this country. This is the struggle which started 12 years ago and which we must lead. We have not started. This is the beginning.”