Edo Artefacts: No One Should Engage In ‘Disrespectful Exchange’ With Oba Of Benin, Says Obaseki

File photo of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki

 

The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has ordered that no one, whether in government or acting independently should engage in “disrespectful exchanges” with the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, over stolen artefacts.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by the Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie.

Obaseki was reacting to a statement issued by the Oba of Benin asking the Federal Government to temporarily take custody of 1,130 stolen Benin artefacts that are about to be repatriated from Europe.

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The monarch had earlier said, following a statement issued by the Edo State Government which revealed that a “transformational” museum would be built in Benin to house the artefacts upon their return, the rightful destination of the artefacts should be the Benin Royal Museum.

Edo government in the statement issued on Monday allayed fears of a conflict between the state government and the Oba of Benin, adding that Governor Obaseki will maintain his immense respect for the monarch.

“The attention of the Edo State Government (EDSG) has been drawn to the widely publicised media statement issued by the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.

“The Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has displayed and will continue to display immense respect for our traditional institutions and therefore will continue to make effort to secure a private audience with His Royal Majesty to discuss his concerns.

“The Governor has consequently ordered that on no account should anyone, whether in government or acting independently, engage in disrespectful exchanges and/or altercation with our revered Royal Majesty and the Benin Royal Palace,” the statement read in part.

The Edo State government added that its earlier statement appears to have created the impression that there is a major conflict between its interests and His Royal Majesty with regards to the laudable national milestone of having our highly valued artefacts returned home to Nigeria.

“The Government of Edo State and the Governor have always acted transparently and in consonance with existing Federal and State laws in all matters relating to the proposed return of the artefacts and monuments.

“The actions of the government thus far on this issue have been driven by selfless, patriotic considerations and in the best interest of Edo State and Edo people,” the statement added.

Governor Obaseki also expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed and other officials of the federal government “for their patriotic and tireless efforts that have brought us to the verge of this eagerly anticipated achievement which has remained elusive for over a century.”

Obaseki Asks LGs To Submit Nominees To Join Cabinet

Governor Godwin Obaseki

 

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, has directed wards and local government areas in the state to submit names to be nominated as members of his cabinet, seven months after his inauguration.

Addressing state house correspondents on Wednesday after a meeting with the chief of staff to the president, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Governor Obaseki explained that he delayed in naming members of his cabinet because of the restructuring of the state civil service in order to make it more efficient.

He said having restructured the civil service and introduced technology, he is now ready for the political class to give the needed political direction to the administration.

Meanwhile, the governor also discussed the return of the stolen Benin artifacts with the Chief of Staff.

He revealed plans to set up a Museum in the state, which according to him, after completion would be a major tourist attraction and revenue spinner.

Edo Govt Begins Digital Registration Of Workers

A file photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

The Edo State government has commenced the digital registration of all workers across the 18 local government areas of the state.

Governor Godwin Obaseki confirmed this on Saturday when he received members of Edo State Civil Service Commission led by the chairman, Mrs Ekiuwa Inneh, at the Government House in Benin City, the state capital.

“We have sent Information Communications Technology (ICT) experts to scan all your documents into a digital format.

“We have started the process of digitally registering every staff member in public and civil service in Edo,” he told his visitors.

The governor added, “With this, every civil servant will have a unique e-identity stored digitally for ease of identification. Beyond accountability to the people, we want to now account for productivity in their various workplaces.”

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According to him, he won the governorship election held in September 2020 because of the hope that the government would deliver services to the people.

Governor Obaseki, therefore, stressed that the priority of his administration was to deliver good services to the people.

“I don’t see any politician going back to campaign to the people of Esan in Edo without evidence to show that you have made provision for water to the people; we have no place anymore, the civil service just has to deliver good services to the public,” he said.

In her remarks, Mrs Inneh promised the governor that the civil service commission would contribute its quota in transforming the state’s public and civil service.

“I want to assure you that we will key into your transformation agenda for the civil service; you have recognised the fact that the civil service has to be empowered,” she said.

Edo Govt Suspends Bendel Insurance’ League Participation After Attack

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, says the Bendel Insurance Football Club may not be participating in the Nigerian National League again until the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) takes appropriate action over the attack on the team in Ogun State.

Bendel Insurance players and match officials were attacked by fans after the full-time whistle in the NNL match on June 6, which ended goalless in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State.

While condemning the incident, Governor Obaseki said the matter will be taken to court to seek legal redress, and the Nigerian football authorities will have to bear the costs of treatment.

He said this on Saturday after visiting the wounded members of the team currently receiving treatment at the Central Hospital in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Obaseki noted he was appalled by the delayed reaction from the NFF in meting out punishment to the perpetrators of what he described as a dastardly act on Bendel Insurance Players.

“This is very barbaric and not in the spirit of sportsmanship. You can’t injure your colleagues like this in a tournament the way Bendel Insurance players were wounded because they went to play a league match with Remo football club in Ogun State.

“I am really shocked and very disappointed that more than a week since the incident happened, the managers of the league, have not come out to punish those that perpetrated this dastardly act with the appropriate sanction on the horrific behaviour from the other side,” the governor said.

Obaseki Flags Off COVID-19 Second Dose Vaccination In Edo

A file photo showing a Nigerian taking the COVID-19 jab.

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday flagged off his state’s second dose vaccination exercise against coronavirus disease, urging those who took the first dose to make themselves available for the booster dose meant to provide full protection against the virus.

Governor Obaseki flagged off the exercise at the State Secretariat Complex, along Sapele Road, Benin City.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of our campaign to rid our state of the dreaded coronavirus. The virus has changed the way we live and interact with one another globally,” he said.

“It is heartwarming today that we continue with our gradual return to our normal lives with the commencement of the second dose coronavirus vaccination. With this, we hope for brighter days ahead as we collectively fight to defeat the virus.

“The second dose vaccination exercise commences today, June 1, and will last for 40 days, during which period we intend to get the vaccines to our people, including frontline workers who are 18 years and above across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.”

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Obaseki said the second dose is a booster dose which will provide full protection against the coronavirus disease, adding: “The flag off is important to create awareness in the state and boost public confidence in the safety and efficiency of the vaccines.”

“I took the first dose. Despite all the fears expressed, nothing happened. I am here today to flag off the second dose vaccination. Unfortunately, I can’t take my second dose today because the time scheduled for me is not due. I will be due for the second dose on the 12th of June. However, some people have earlier dates. That is why the programme is launched today. I will take my second dose on the 12th of June and you will be invited to know the importance of the vaccination.”

Noting that the vaccines will be rolled out in phases, the governor said the first phase is being administered to frontline workers, strategic leaders and the elderly.

He explained that the second and third phases will follow and the rest of the eligible population will take turns to be vaccinated, adding that the goal of his administration is to vaccinate about 70 percent of the population.

Obaseki added, “For those who have not been vaccinated, it is important to take the vaccine because, by the end of June, it might be almost impossible to travel around the world without a vaccination certificate.

“Government alone can’t fix this pandemic. We must all play our part by adhering to COVID 19 protocol to enable us to protect our loved ones, even after taking the second dose of the vaccines.”

Governor Obaseki seized the opportunity to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and role played in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that different stakeholders, particularly development partners, worked in synergy with the Edo State Government in ridding the state of the virus.

He stated further, “We have vaccinated 38,500 people in the first phase of the first dose vaccination exercise. We are expecting that 38,500 people will come forward for their second dose. It is only then that you will have full immunization.”

Obaseki’s Victory At Supreme Court Is Triumph Of Edo People’s Will – PDP

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday lauded the judgement of the Supreme Court on the case involving Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, describing the verdict as a triumph of the people’s will.

The apex court had on Friday dismissed the certificate forgery suit filed against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for lacking in merit and awarded a punitive fine of N100 million against the APC and its co-appellant.

Reacting to the verdict via a statement, PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan hailed the decision of the Supreme Court.

READ ALSO: Supreme Court Dismisses APC Forgery Suit Against Obaseki

“The PDP asserts that the verdict of the apex court in throwing out the petition of All Progressives Congress (APC), is a resounding reinforcement of the popularity of the PDP and Governor Obaseki in Edo state, as firmly established in the election,” the statement partly read.

“The party urged Governor Obaseki to continue in his commitment towards the development of the state and the wellbeing of his people in line with the manifesto and ideology of the PDP; the very reason he was overwhelmingly re-elected as governor of the state.

“The PDP is proud of Governor Obaseki for the empowerment of the people as well as massive infrastructural development of Edo state in critical areas of healthcare, education, agriculture and food production, oil and gas, industrialization among others.

“The party also commended the judiciary for its courage in upholding justice and the will of the people in the Edo governorship election.”

Supreme Court Dismisses APC Forgery Suit Against Obaseki

A photo combination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a court gavel.

 

The Supreme Court has dismissed the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) forgery suit against the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The court dismissed the suit for lack of merit.

It was filed against Governor Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The apex court’s judgement comes two days after the Court of Appeal in Benin upheld the victory of Governor Obaseki of Edo at the 2020 governorship election.

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The judgement was delivered barely two months after the Elections Petitions Tribunal struck out the petition by the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and its governorship candidate, Iboi Lucky.

ADP had challenged the outcome of the September 19, 2020, governorship election, which returned Mr Obaseki of the PDP as governor of Edo.

In its ruling, the appellate court held that Obaseki did not forge his certificates with which he contested the 2020 governorship election.

The court, therefore, dismissed the appeal filed by the ADP and its candidate.

Constitutional Amendment Must Reflect Edo People’s Interest – Obaseki

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki during a meeting at the Government House in Benin City on April 7, 2021.

 

Governor Godwin Obaseki on Tuesday called for an amendment of the 1999 Constitution that will reflect the interest of the Edo people.

He stated this during the Edo State Summit on the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on the 1999 Constitution Review, held at the Government House in Benin City.

Others present at the summit are Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie,  Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun; community, religious and traditional leaders and heads of civil society groups, among others.

The governor, represented by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu noted that the Constitution review was an opportunity for the people to own the process of making a true Nigerian Constitution, rather than delegating it to a section of the people.

He said, “Edo’s position in the constitutional amendment is that it must represent Edo people; the Government represents the people and our contribution is needed.

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“I am appealing to the National Assembly to separate the clauses of all the deeds to be canvassed for if truly the amended constitution will be a product of Nigeria. This will enable us to have a choice when it’s brought back for adoption at the State House of Assembly so that our representatives will choose in line with our presentation today.”

The governor noted that “From today’s presentation, some are clamouring for a one-term of six years for a President and Governors, while others say a term of four years for Chairmen of Local Government Councils.

“Others say the bicameral legislature should be replaced by the unicameral legislature. The National Assembly should look at the issues as it comes and not join all these issues together. If the Constitution is to be amended, it should be done within the next three months.”

Obaseki’s ₦60bn Claim Can’t Be Misleading, Says Wike

A photo combination showing Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said that the claim by his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, that ₦60 billion was printed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fund the government should not be ignored, noting it cannot be misleading.

Obaseki had on April 7 raised an alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, saying the situation is more critical now because of the huge amount borrowed to service the ailing economy.

He expressed worry that Nigeria is in huge financial trouble, adding that the Federal Government printed ₦60 billion to augment the federal allocation for March.

The claim has been generating various reactions from Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed among several others.

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But Wike, according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Kelvin Ebiri, challenged the CBN to unequivocally declare if money was printed or not.

“Obaseki was in APC, so he understands them. So, Obaseki couldn’t have come from the blues to say they printed ₦60 billion. He knows them,” Wike said.

“Instead of answering the question, he (Emefiele) said governors have to pay back the bailout loan. The bailout is a loan, if you want to take it, go and take it. But answer the question whether money was printed or not printed.”

The Finance Minister had described the claim by Obaseki as false, saying Nigeria’s debt is still within sustainable limits and efforts are on to improve the revenue generation capacity.

However, Obaseki stood his ground and asked the Federal Government to end the current monetary rascality and stop “playing the ostrich” to prevent the economy from further degenerating.

Obaseki’s Claim On Printing Of N60bn Is Untrue, Says Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has debunked claims by Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki that the Central Bank of Nigeria printed an additional N50billion to N60billion to make up for state allocations.

The Minister said this on Wednesday at a briefing after the 41st virtual Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo at the State House.

She described the governor’s claim as very sad and untrue.

According to her, monies distributed at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) are revenues generated from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), etc adding that revenue distribution is information that can be publicly accessed.

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“The issue that was raised by the Edo State Governor, for me, is very sad because it is not a fact.

“What we distribute at FAAC is revenue that is generated and in fact, distribution revenue is public information. We publish revenue generated by FIRS, the Customs, and the NNPC and we distribute at FAAC.

“So, it is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC. It is not true,” she said.

On the question of Nigeria’s debt profile pegged at N15-16 trillion, the Finance Minister insists that the nation’s debt profile is still at sustainable limits.

Ahmed advised that what the nation needs to critically do instead is improve revenue to enhance capacity to service Nigeria’s debt obligations and fulfill the quotidian needs of running the government.

She maintained that the nation’s debt profile which currently stands at 23percent of the total GDP is at sustainable levels.

Obaseki last week raised an alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, saying the situation is more critical now because of the huge amount borrowed to service the ailing economy.

He also claimed that the Federal Government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for FAAC.

Nigeria Could Be Owing ₦16trn By End Of 2021 – Obaseki

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has raised an alarm over the country’s rising debt profile, saying the situation is more critical now because of the huge amount borrowed to service the ailing economy.

Obaseki raised the alarm on Wednesday during a meeting with the Transition Committee members at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

He noted that the major oil giants like Chevron and Shell no longer invest so much oil as was obtainable in the past.

The governor, being an investment banker, explained that Chevron is now one of the world’s investors in alternative fuel, adding that Shell intends to pull out of Nigeria.

“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March. The Federal Government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.

“We say remove subsidy, they say no. This April, next week again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, the total borrowing is going to be in excess of ₦15 to ₦16 trillion.

“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in. You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back.”

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, speaks during a meeting with members of the Transition Committee at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital on April 7, 2021.

 

Obaseki also spoke about the 2023 general elections, noting that politicians whose aim is to buy votes during the polls might find it tough doing so.

He backed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the deployment of technology to track and monitor elections in the country.

“INEC itself had also begun its own process of change. They have been worried, scandalised by what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa and were trying to redeem themselves.

“So using technology, they made sure that as soon as you finish voting in the polling unit, that result was uploaded straight into a portal so they can see the pattern which makes it difficult to change results at the collation centers.

“That was what helped us. So any candidate or political party that does not see this and expects that we will do business as we used to do before, we are taking a huge risk.”

Edo Election: Tribunal Dismisses ADP’s Petition, Two Others Challenging Obaseki’s Victory

A photo combination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a court gavel.

 

The Edo Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Benin City has dismissed the petition of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and two others against Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The ADP and its governorship candidate, Iboi Emmanuel had filed a petition before the Tribunal challenging the election victory of Governor Obaseki.

Other petitions dismissed by the Tribunal included the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against INEC, PDP, Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Yunusa Musa said the petition was lacking in merit.

Also, the Tribunal dismissed ADP’s petition against INEC, PDP, Obaseki, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Osagie Ize-Iyamu holding that the petitioners, 4th and 5th respondents have not proved that at the time of contesting the election, Obaseki was not qualified to participate in the election

The tribunal held that Obaseki was qualified to contest the September 19 governorship election in the state.

READ ALSO: Edo Governorship Tribunal To Deliver Judgement In Four Petitions

Delivering judgement on the petition of the Action Democratic Party and Emmanuel Iboi, the tribunal held that the third respondent, Godwin Obaseki did not submit a forged certificate or false information to INEC for the purpose of qualifying for the election.

As to the issue of whether the third respondent was educated up to school certificate level having filled in-dash in the column for primary education in the form, the Tribunal held that that dash was reflected in the column is of no moment as it was evident that he is educated beyond school certificate level.

Reacting to the allegation of the double nomination of the third respondent, the tribunal held that the petitioners did not establish a case of double nomination against the 3rd respondent.

The tribunal had dismissed the petition, affirmed the election of Godwin Obaseki as the Governor of Edo State in the September 19 governorship election

Justice Suleiman Yahaha Abubakar, member 1 read the judgement. There was no dissenting view.

The tribunal also ruled on a preliminary objection and some applications. Ruling on the application seeking the striking out of the fourth respondent, the APC and the fifth respondent, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for not being statutory respondents, the tribunal struck out the fourth and fifth respondents and all processes filed for and by them in relation to the petition.