Edo Poll: Five Candidates Make Their Case In Debate
Five candidates vying for the Edo Governorship seat on Friday pitched their plans for the state in a debate organised by Channels Television.
The candidates were Iboi Emmanuel of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Igbineweka Osamuede of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM), Agol Tracy of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Jones Osajiobare of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Bishop Akhalame of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
The debate was held in Benin-city ahead of the election, which is scheduled to hold on September 19.
The candidate of the NNPP, Agol said her administration will not borrow money.
“Edo state is blessed and very rich,” she said. “What we need to do is to look inward. There are natural resources that are yet unharnessed; why are we not going to look that way.
“We have coconut farming and with all its by-products, we can harness them for exports. Those are ways to generate funds. We don’t need money from outside this country. There is money in this country and there is money in this state.
“My government, the government of NNPP, the government of Ambassador Ebunoluwa Tracy Agor will not borrow money. We will look inward on how to promote Edo people.”
Agol, the only female candidate among the five who debated on Friday, also said she will create a joint task force to secure the state.
She said her administration will ensure the task force work round the clock to curb crime.
“And for those of our youths that are involved in different vices here and there, we are going to make sure that we will rehabilitate them when they are apprehended,” she said. “Some of them need to see the psychiatrist.”
Health Sector Revamp
Osamuede, the APM candidate, promised to revamp the healthcare system in the state if he is elected governor.
“With my government, the problems in healthcare will be a thing of the past. I don’t think anybody will leave Edo State to go outside the country for any treatment,” he said.
Speaking further, Osamuede said he will look into the establishment of technical schools, grant loans for small scale businesses and explore the cultural heritage of the Edo people.
However, to deliver those projects, the AMP candidate said the state needs to generate more money.
According to him, the previous governments have borrowed so much money, now leaving the state in debt.
“Edo State is owing a lot of money right now because the government has been borrowing. The past administration and this present one have borrowed a lot and what they have been using it for is just infrastructure and in my own time, if I come in, with a very good understanding of the House of Assembly members, we can raise funds outside the country. We are only going into the trading platforms and we will generate funds from there,” he said.
“Also, allocation is coming from the Federal Government, when it comes, we can be able to invest in all the projects we are taking about.
“One of them will be technical schools for each of the three geopolitical zones. We can build it and educate these youths.
“Secondly, cultural heritage; Edo state has a whole lot of cultural heritage. We have a whole lot of stories to tell and we can go into this industry.
“We will invest in small scale businesses by granting loans”.
Candidate of the YPP, Osagiobare said he will employ 1,800 people within three months if elected leader of the South-South State.
“When the YPP is voted into government, for the first three months, we shall give jobs to 1,800 people,” Osagiobare said.
“From every local government, we will select able-bodied people; 100, to form the security outfit of this state.”
The YPP candidate explained that those who will be employed will be absorbed into the local vigilante groups in existence across the state.
He equally gave an insight into how the said persons will be recruited and disclosed that 100 persons will be employed from each of the eighteen local governments in the state and will be trained by the Police.
“We will pay them from security votes that is given to the government on a monthly basis,” the 52-year-old businessman added.
To further manage the activities of vigilante groups, Mr Osagiobare said he will set up the Edo State Security Management Agency if elected as governor.
“I will, immediately within the first 30 days, set up the Edo State Security Management Agency,” Osagiobare who hails from Ikpoba Okha said.
“This agency will be responsible for the activities of vigilantes within the state under one platform.”
Dubai Of Nigeria
The ZLP, Akhalame bemoaned the bane of what he described as bad leadership in the state.
Akhalame said if elected as the governor of the state come September 19, he will turn around the economic fortunes of the state thus making it the Dubai of Nigeria.
“As I am offering myself to the good people of this state, the problem of bad leadership in the state is solved already because I have all it takes to drive the economy of this state and make it the Dubai of Nigeria,” he said.
The 40-year-old Akhalama, an accountant by training, said the people of the state need a governor who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and accountable.
He claims to possess all it takes to take the state to greater heights, adding that his administration will address the unemployment of youths.
When asked how his party intends tackling the unemployment scourge that makes the state lead in the south-south region, Akhalame said the ZLP has the solution to the menace.
“That is why the Zenith Labour Party and Bishop Akhalame is the solution. You cannot be a good governor if you don’t have the database of your people.”
“The first thing I will do to curb the issue of unemployment is to create a database for my people. I want to know my people because I am not going to be a governor for myself,” he said.
Speaking further, the governorship hopeful said his administration will revive the dead industries in the state in order to keep the people gainfully employed.
In addition, he promised to establish Edo bakery in the three senatorial districts of the state, adding that bread is the food of the common man.
According to him, agriculture can fix unemployment in the state and also feed the people, pledging to engage the youth in agricultural activities by providing them with fertile land.
Focus On Education
Candidate of the ADP, Oboi Emmanuel promised to bring “change” to the education sector.
“When the electorate decides to vote for the ADP come September 11th, we would bring change to the educational sector,” the 36-year-old explained.
“We are going to revamp the educational sector.”
The ADP candidate claimed that many “government schools do not have labs. I can tell you that if you go to government schools, you would see bushes and grasses everywhere.”
He equally lamented that the educational legacy of the immediate past government of Adams Oshiomhole has been abandoned and decried the dearth of infrastructure in public schools in the south-south state.
“The red roof revolution by the previous government is decaying,” the youngest candidate in the election noted even as he questioned “the importance of building structures without intellectual structures?”
To create employment for the teeming masses, Oboi disclosed that he will partner with the private sector and revamp agriculture in the state.
He accused politicians in the state of not being sincere to the people over the years, vowing to correct that if he becomes the governor.
“Let me tell you the truth, the government have not been sincere,” he claimed, disclosing that he will also eradicate erosion in Edo.