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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Edo guber: Okpebholo, the political Machiavellian – By Fred Itua

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Edo State is at a crossroads. A simple task awaits every son and daughter of Edo extraction and residents in the State- to vote for a credible governor that will fix the mess of Governor Godwin Obaseki. The task and choices before the people are simple, yet some folks have elected themselves to make the process different and impossible. On the 21st of September 2024, the people of Edo State will choose between realism and empty promises; an assured future and a rehearsed selfish capitalism. Whoever the people chose to pitch their interests with, there will be consequences.

Monday Okpebholo, a senator, entrepreneur, philanthropist, politician, a home boy, and the presumptive governor of Edo State, stands tall among other candidates. Beside their verbosity and empty rhetorics, no candidate stands close to Senator Monday Okpebholo.

Rather than dwell on the inadequacies of other infant politicians, who neither understand the peculiar needs of Edo people, or appreciate the enormous tasks at hand, I will expouse Okpebholo’s remarkable prospects and why he needs the vote of Edo people and residents.

The current governor of the State, Godwin Obaseki, has made the choices before us easy. His abysmal failure and his failed inability to rise above pettiness have made the job of electing Okpebholo as the next governor of Edo easy. His Greek gift notwithstanding to civil servants, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will suffer a resounding defeat that even the deaf will hear.

Okpebholo was born and raised in Edo State. Though this is not a yardstick to measure possible performance, it is, however, necessary to establish certain facts. As a homegrown politician, he understands the people, their needs, and their expectations. He is not a stranger to the realities on the ground.

Okpebholo has intervened in key areas, and he is not an accidental philanthropist whose only footprints are found in loud promises and empty substances. Okpebholo has brought reprieve to needy families in Edo, provided jobs, funded community infrastructure, awarded scholarships, provided free internet services, supported security architecture of the State, and brought Federal presence to the three senatorial districts of Edo State.

There are five critical areas in Edo State that need urgent intervention. Interestingly, Okpebholo has zeroed in on these cardinal areas that will fastrack development in Edo, create jobs and prosperity, quality health and education, ICT development, agriculture and creation of new smart cities and towns. They are not rocket science. Okpebholo already has proven track records in these key areas.

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Edo State has a vibrant and educated youth population. Unfortunately, the Obaseki administration has failed to harness these talents in developing Edo State. Instead, he is notorious for signing MoUs that are gathering dusts in some archives somewhere. On the other hand, Okpebholo belongs to the youth generation. He understands their needs and aspirations, and he is ready to harness these youngsters.

Okpebholo, as a man with street credibility and a practical entrepreneur, he will create jobs through friendly policies that will attract the right investors to the State. He is not a portfolio businessman who relies cunningly on his adulterated fine tenses to deceive the gullible public. With Okpebholo, job and wealth creation are assured.

In Obaseki’s Edo State, all the tertiary institutions have progressed backward. He has stiffled growth and has suffocated parents and students with unrealistic fees. For the PDP administration in Edo, the people don’t matter. Secondary schools are understaffed, and the motivation is low. Obaseki behaves like an emperor who can not be questioned.

With Okpebholo as governor, a new deal is sure. Okpebholo, as a grassroot man, understands the people. He will prioritise education and make fees affordable to all. For him, he understands the imperativeness of quality education, and he will not fail to deliver that dividend to the people.

Healthcare centres and hospitals in Edo State are glorified chemist shops. There are no trained medical professionals, and the buildings are in their worst forms. No medical equipment and the administration of the PDP fiddles while Rome burns.

With Okpebholo as governor, primary healthcare and the resuscitation of the State’s health architecture will be revived. Critical medical staff and professionals will be hired to attend to the health needs of Edo people. Okpebholo wI’ll not fiddle while Edo people suffer. Never!

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Besides being a major tourism hub, which Okpebholo has revealed that he will prioritise, Edo State is a major agricultural hub. It has one of the biggest rainforests in West Africa. It prides itself as the home of timber and agricultural products. In the eight years of the PDP administration in Edo State, it has failed abysmally to harness this goldmine and add to the economy of the State.

Okpebholo understands the importance of food security and how it can add to the economy of Edo State. Hence, he has prioritised it as a key component of his manifesto. The three senatorial districts of Edo State have unique agricultural products, and Okpebholo plans to drive agricultural revolution in the Heartbeat State.

In terms of road infrastructure, Edo State is a failed State. The few miserable roads constructed by Obaseki are so substandard that heavy rains can wash them away. If you are in doubt, visit Edo State. For Okpebholo, this is the number one priority- road construction across the three senatorial districts. Okpebholo will not embrace excuses and fail to deliver. He will Renew the Hope of Edo people. As a senator, he has influenced road projects to the three senatorial districts of Edo State. Imagine what he will do as governor.

Edo State has played the role of the opposition for too long, and this is beginning to mess up the State. There is no federal presence. Obaseki, who should ordinarily embrace the government at the centre, has continued to be at loggerheads with the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration. Okpebholo as governor will unify Edo with the federal government. This will definitely bring dividends of democracy to the people.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that the choices before Edo people are clear. We must choose to form a new government that puts the people first and not encumber them with more than they can bear. Edo people have a unique chance to choose a new path that will usher in prosperity, jobs, food security, quality education, and healthcare, among others.

Itua is a media practitioner, scholar, and writer. He sent in this piece from Abuja

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