Defection Rumours: I Won’t Return To Where I Was Pushed Out – Obaseki

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has again said that he has no intention of returning to the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he was pushed out.

Governor Obaseki gave the reassurance on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The governor stated that as a politician of repute, his conscience would not allow him betray those who gave him shelter when there was a political storm.

He explained that he did not leave the APC on his own terms, but was forced out, an action which he says will not allow him to leave the People’s Democratic Party where he got support in his time of need.

“I think I’ve shown that I’m a politician with integrity and I have made it very clear that I didn’t leave the other party on my own, I was pushed out of the party, and someone else gave me cover, gave me an opportunity.

“It will not be the right thing to do to now leave who helped you, who gave you the umbrella in your storm, and then go back to the person who pushed you out.”

Reacting to the Senate’s decision to reverse its earlier resolution on electronic transmission of election results, Governor Obaseki said he remains a proponent of the course.

According to Obaseki, PDP would not have won the last election in Edo State, but for the deployment of technology by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“If not for the technology utilised by INEC, and God, I may not be governor today. So, I am one of those people who believe that we cannot and should not have elections in this country, going into the future, without transmitting results electronically from the polling units, because for elections to be credible, they have to be seen as transparent and once you have voted, you should be assured that your vote will count.

“With technology today, it is possible and INEC has shown it from my elections, that as soon as you voted, and the results have been counted in the polling units, then that result should be made available, such that you already know what you expect to be collated at the ward collation points.

“What has happened in many cases in the past is that people go and vote, the votes are counted in the polling units, they know, but by the time it gets to the collation point, it changes.

“But this time around, because of the transparency, everybody will see and know what they are expecting to be collated from the polling units. That is what happened in my election.

“So, I am a very strong advocate for electronic transmission of results from elections and I want to also note that from my personal experience, INEC has the capacity, INEC has the technology, and also the understanding of how these things should work. So, they should be encouraged. I hope and pray that the President will assent to that bill,” the governor declared

Obaseki Swears In 11 Commissioners, Two Special Advisers

Governor Godwin Obaseki in a group photograph with the newly inaugurated commissioners and special advisers at the Edo State Government House, Benin on October 6, 2021.

 

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has sworn-in 11 commissioners and two special advisers as members of the Edo State Executive Council (EXCO).

They include Joseph Eboigbe, the Commissioner for Finance; Prof. Obehi Akoria, Health; Mrs. Otse Momoh-Omorogbe, Budget and Planning; Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, Education; Isoken Omo, Physical Planning and Urban Development.

Others are Moses Agbukor, Water Resources; Ethan Uzamere, Mining, Gas and Oil; Maria Edeko, Social Development and Gender; Monday Osaigbovo, Local Government; Andrew Emwanta, Communication and Orientation, while Oluwole Iyamu is the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.

The two special advisers are Crusoe Osagie, who was appointed as Special Adviser, Media Projects and Sarah Esangbedo Ajose-Adeogun, appointed as Special Adviser, Strategy, Policy, Projects and Performance Management.

The inaugural EXCO meeting was held after the commissioners and special advisers were sworn-in.

“We must advocate transparency and uphold accountability in all we do in our respective portfolios. In enthroning a high-performance culture, an organizational performance scorecard has been developed for each ministry,” Governor Obaseki said.

“The scorecard will be deployed in tracking key performance targets and deliverables of each Ministry and reports will be demanded on a quarterly basis. A formal assessment of performance targets and results achieved by each Ministry shall be conducted. These shall form the basis of further review and linkages to other key human resource processes.”

He continued: “On our part, we have articulated, in the MEGA Agenda, a vision of where we want Edo State to be before 2050. Making Edo Great Again and Edo becoming the best state to live and prosper in Nigeria are promises we have made to the good people of Edo State who massively turned out to vote for this government in September 2020.

“As commissioners and special advisers, the height of people’s expectations of you and the government you represent are unprecedented. We have no choice but to meet and deliver on the expectations of the people. As we serve the people, we must become champions of high performance, disciplined in execution and results-oriented.”

“Timely response to the needs and requests from our people must become rooted in our DNA. We must demonstrate and demand ‘value for money’, a commercial mindset not previously associated with the Public Service,” he added.

He noted that the new members of the State Executive Council must embrace the Six Pillars of the MEGA Agenda and ensure it constitutes a rallying platform that shall generate an irreversible momentum that will industrialize, transform and build the capacity required to take advantage of the state natural endowments.

People Are Making COVID-19 Vaccination A Political Issue, Obaseki Laments

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has lamented that people were making the COVID-19 vaccination a political issue.

Speaking when he received the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki, at the Government House in Benin City, the governor asked the residents to get vaccinated and ensure compliance with preventive protocols against the spread of the virus.

“I am saddened when I see people not protecting themselves against COVID-19. We are not making vaccination compulsory, but for now, it is the best way to protect yourselves and protect the people around you. It is so sad to see people making it a political issue,” he added.

“Go to any of our isolation centers and see what is happening to people.”

READ ALSO: Bandits Write Sokoto Community, Demand N20m Ransom For 20 Abductees

Obaseki reassured that his government will sustain reforms in the healthcare system to reposition the state as the country’s medical hub.

According to the governor, the state government outbreak has drawn lessons on how to improve the healthcare delivery system following the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added, “God forbid you to fall ill or you have an emergency, it won’t matter where you are treated. At that point, you don’t care if it is a federal, state, or religious institution, as long as you get cured.”

 

I Remain Loyal To My Governor, Shaibu Denies Rift With Obaseki

A file photo of Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.

 

Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, has denied having any rift with his principal, Governor Godwin Obaseki.

While featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, he denied any disagreement between him and the governor and restated his unalloyed loyalty to the latter.

“I am happy with my governor; I don’t have any problem with my governor,” said the deputy governor who is rumoured of planning to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“So, the issue of not being happy with my governor is not there. I remain absolutely loyal to my governor.”

When asked what went wrong with the PDP on whose platform he was re-elected into office, Shaibu admitted there were some issues within the ruling party in the state.

“There are issues we need to resolve over PDP,” he said, although he did not categorically state whether he would leave the party or not.

The deputy governor’s remarks come amid reports that he had purportedly concluded arrangements to dump the PDP for an undisclosed party, as a result of a rift over matters bothering on the running of the state.

He was said to have held a series of meetings with some party bigwigs outside the country last week where the supposed plans were finalised.

But the Chief Press Secretary of the deputy governor, Ebomhiana Musa, denied the reports in a statement on Monday, saying they were mere speculations.

According to Musa, claims that Shaibu plans to leave the PDP are complete falsehood and the figment of the authors’ imagination.

Governor Obaseki, with Shaibu as the running mate, first contested the governorship election in the state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and won, defeating Mr Osagia Ize-Iyamu who was the PDP candidate at the time.

Four years into office, the governor and his deputy sought to be re-elected in the September 2020 election and won again.

In what can be described as a dramatic turn, they defeated Ize-Iyamu who had later joined the APC while they ran on the PDP platform, following a disagreement with the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

Olajide Sowore’s Killers Will Be Brought To Book – Obaseki

A photo combination of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and a slain student, Olajide Sowore.

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has mourned Olajide Sowore, assuring that the state government will bring his killers to book.

Obaseki gave the assurance on Saturday while commiserating with a former presidential candidate and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, over the killing of his brother.

Olajide, a student of Pharmacy at the Igbinedion University Okada, was killed by kidnappers on Saturday in the Okada area of Edo State.

The Edo State Police Command had earlier confirmed his death via a statement issued by its spokesman, Kontongs Bello, noting that the remains of the deceased had been deposited at IUTH Mortuary, Okada.

READ ALSO: Police Confirm Killing Of Sowore’s Brother By Kidnappers

But Governor Obaseki assured that the state government will work with relevant security agencies to investigate the unfortunate incident.

“I commiserate with the Sowore family and the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, over the death of his brother, Olajide Sowore,” the governor said.

“The news of Olajide’s death is heartbreaking and we will make all efforts to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice.

“On behalf of the people and Government of Edo State, I condole with the Sowore family and pray that God will grant all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

COVID-19: Edo Govt Imposes Restriction On Mass Gathering

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

The Edo State Government has restricted mass gatherings across the state in a bid to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Godwin Obaseki disclosed this while flagging off the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise on Monday.

“Beginning from the second week of September 2021, large gatherings, as well as high traffic public and private places will only be accessed by persons who have proof of taking at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination. People who have not yet been vaccinated at all will depend on remote access to these gatherings,” he said during the event held at the Government House in Benin City.

“From the second week of September people may not be allowed to worship in churches and mosques without showing proof of their vaccination cards at the gates. Similarly, people will not be allowed to event centers, receptions or parties, without showing proof of their vaccination cards.

“People will not be allowed to access banking services from the middle of September 2021, if they are not vaccinated.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigeria Records 388 New Cases, Eight Deaths

He said the government will work with security agencies to ensure full enforcement of the measure, adding that activities to mark Edo’s 30th year anniversary have been significantly scaled-down in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

“We are doing this to protect our citizens and all these measures will remain until the pandemic passes away,” Obaseki said.

While noting that the pandemic is in its third wave in Nigeria, with the Delta variant having devastating effects around the world, the governor reiterated the government’s commitment to the well-being and safety of the Edo people.

“We will not abandon you at this time of the pandemic,” he said, urging “all to embrace vaccination as a way of surviving this pandemic.”

“For us in the state, we have decided to push for vaccination, and within the next one year, we are focusing on vaccinating 60 percent of our citizens to enable us to build herd immunity against this pandemic,” he explained.

Ooni Of Ife Visits Obaseki, Asks Political Leaders To Uphold Cultural Heritage

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, speaks to Governor Godwin Obaseki during a visit to the Edo State Government House Benin on August 23, 2021.

 

 

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has called on political office holders to uphold the country’s cultural heritage at all times as they lead the nation.

Oba Ogunwusi said this during a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki at the Government House in Benin City on Monday.

According to him, the traditional institutions in the country would be willing to lend a helping hand to the government when called upon.

“We traditional rulers will continue to work with constituted authorities [and] you are one of them. And I can assure you that I am speaking on behalf of all our traditional members, we are not fighting with any constituted authority,” he said.

“We are not fighting and we will continue to work with you to make sure that things are right. What is key for us is for you, our political leaders, to uphold our heritage.

“I believe strongly that you stand for that too; that you will continue to uphold our heritage because you believe in the traditional institution of this country.”

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On his part, Governor Obaseki reiterated the importance of traditional institutions, saying the country’s security challenges can be tackled effectively if the government carries traditional rulers along in their programmes.

“One of the biggest challenges that we have today is security. These challenges occur in specific domains. As they say, these bandits, criminals are not spirits,” he said.

“When people are kidnapped, they are taken to specific locations. Our people know them, they pass on the information to the authorities that is closest to them – traditional authorities.

“If we are going to tackle the security challenges that we have, the government must now work very closely with the traditional authorities. We are already doing that in Edo State and I can confirm that the results are bountiful.”

 

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.”