Good governance is a democratic idea and process that is animated and activated through the actions of altruistic leaders committed to the provision of the greatest happiness for the greatest possible number; a utilitarian approach to administration that is premised on the thinking that it is the duty of those in the mansions of power to provide those they govern with the basic necessities of life. The mantra of the disciples of this school of political thought is: “action speaks louder than words”.
Governor Godwin Obaseki, a passionate acolyte of the Utilitarian school of politics believes in the aforementioned mantra as demonstrated by his result-oriented leadership style. Very early in his four years tenure as the substantive, popularly elected Governor of Edo State, he has given the good people of Edo State cause to believe in the possibility of a greater future. The governor’s action-packed approach to governance is reminiscent of the no-nonsense, purpose driven leadership style of the phenomenal Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole years when the state was administered like a fluid working machine that magically turned around the waning fortunes of a state that was once in freefall due to the evil machinations of a brigade of brigands and demented demagogues who had been mischievously misdirecting the state’s ship of administration for several years prior to the catalytic deluge of 2007 that threw them out of Dennis Osadebey Avenue for good.
Godwin Obaseki has left no one in doubt on the destination he wants to captain the state’s ship of governance. The first indication of his readiness to take Edo State to newer heights was the convening of a three-day Strategy Dialogue to set agenda for the new administration – a ground-breaking event – where ideas were generated, cross-fertilized, gauged, sieved and consensus reached on how best to move the state forward. The forum had in attendance: captains of industry, members of the academia, cultural icons, senior civil servants, organized labour, civil society groups, professional groups, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders, consultants and top players from other sectors – a simulacrum of over 150 participants drawn from diverse backgrounds.
Another very striking expression of the governor’s commitment to bettering the lot of Edos is the bold move to plug all the financial leakages in the system, that had hitherto created room for a few to parasitically feed fat on the finances of the state at the expense of the larger body politic. Aware of the state’s financial limitations, consequent to the cyclical economic recession currently plaguing the entire country, the governor has set about revamping, re-engineering and re-directing the state’s moribund revenue mobilization and generation regime in order to supplement the state’s revenue from other sources and its monthly allotment from the federation account, a move that is geared towards generating enough revenue to fund the implementation of his administration’s economic master plan.
The recent blanket proscription placed on all private revenue collection agencies in the state is a long overdue, widely applauded move that is in the right direction; a timely initiative that would no doubt bring a high level of transparency, accountability and sanity to bear on the revenue collection drive of the state. Apart from the fact that the worrying economic realities in the country make it pertinent, the governor has further endeared himself to the people who now see in him a selfless leader prepared to arrowhead the fight for their complete emancipation from all forms of exploitation in the system; a long awaited messiah who will finally lead them into Canaan land.
Prior to the Christmas and New Year festivities, the government of Godwin Obaseki embarked on the rehabilitation of some dilapidated roads across Benin City, the state capital, and environs, to ensure free-flow of traffic during the Yuletide under the State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR). 30 roads were earmarked for repairs, with massive restoration work commencing on the most critical ones to enable traffic decongestion during the celebrations. Further earthmoving operations, as well as asphalting, have since commenced on other roads and work is progressing speedily. Some of the roads in advanced stages of rehabilitation include: Evbiemwen street, Ogbelaka street, Jemide, Akhionbare, Ugbor, Cooke Road, James Watt, Okhoro-Aghahowa street, Reuben Agho street, Aigalegbe street-Isihor from New Lagos and roads linking Oko Central and Upper Adesuwa et al.
With the presentation of the 2017 budget, which illustrated the governor’s holistic approach to governance, which is hinged on the vision of his administration’s six thematic pillars comprising economic revolution, environmental sustainability, institutional reforms, culture and tourism, socio-welfare enhancement, and infrastructural development, Godwin Obaseki and his able team of Galacticos are obviously set for the gargantuan tasks at hand. He is obviously unfazed by the herculean nature of the challenges ahead, judging by his undaunted dedication to duty, ready to meet them head-on. His optimism can be summed up in these stirring words: “The journey is long, but we will get there faster than expected”. Can I hear an “Amen” to that?
Like the servant-leader he is, Godwin Obaseki has quietly jumpstarted his development drive without much ado. Without resorting to sensationalism or any form of propaganda he has purposefully hit the ground running, determined to prove the naysayers wrong. Buoyed by the maxim “more action, less talk” he is set to further astound his critics. What we are witnessing in these early days are just tips of the iceberg, compared to what is yet to come from this champion of the popular will. All he needs is the collective, unalloyed support of the progressive section of the populace, who vociferously gave him the mandate to run their affairs through the ballot on 28th September, 2016.