It is an abject failure today that Edo State’s narrative in 2020 is pensioners, market women, politicians or political thugs, it ought not to be. it should be Edo youths (boys and girls), It is their time. In an era where youths drive the social change like we see in Lagos, London and the USA. Edo youths are 20 years plus behind and still being deprived of their opportunity of driving change in or to their state.
Edo Election is here again, and we have another chance to do many things positive things based on where you are located, how involved you are or simply an interested bystander. I agree with you, being objective in Edo politics right now is the scarcest commodity for many reasons but my advice is do your utmost to be just that, and I will continue explaining why. Why the main problem with successive Edo Governments is complicated promises. Why we should score Edo Manifestos on literally “immediate effect solutions” rather than wasting time and billions of Naira to find out after 8 years those projects were unnecessary, and why we have a solution we should look at. May I proceed.
At this same stage in 2012 in Benin city- The Oshiomhole water fountain in ring road was sprinkling. The red roof primary schools were increasing, clappers everywhere, Edo men wearing khakis, govt personnel jogging, inspecting gutters, changing their names to comrades and so much show. Keep up, we had “one man one vote”.
8 years on, 2020 and reality hits home, almost all the above-mentioned things are not working today. All Oshiomhole’s 8 years as Governor of Edo State transformed to be a non-functional water fountain, broken streetlights in Akpakpava and Oba market road, some worn down tarred roads, some renovated classrooms and billions spent (I will exclude everything in Iyahmo). None of these things have been able to translate into impact in the lives of Edo people and Edo State.
Another example under “one man one vote” is Airport road. Adams Oshiomhole spent 5 years, 3 different contractors and billions to complete Airport road. I was in Benin-city at the time, when I inquired why it is taking so long and so expensive, they said it was raining season in Benin and rain disrupted the work. The point is if you tried to ask about any questions about Oshiomhole’s projects not adding up, you were bullied by his supporters with singing, dancing and a very long list of Oshiomhole’s achievements in Edo State. None of most things Oshiomhole spent 8 years and billions of Naira on has changed much today. Verdict: He was loved by most and left office with a nickname to show approval, Oshobaba.
In elections you compare two administrations, The past and the present. You make references to prior administrations when discussing the lessons learnt collectively, as a people, as a city, a country or a nation.
4 years ago, 2016, we moved into a new administration under Godwin Obaseki. The promise of delivering Gele-gele seaport to me made GO an untouchable. But if after 4 years and spending billions, GO delivers Tony Kabaka or somewhat, we will ask questions. Surprisingly, the same people have started again, brought out a long list of GO’s achievements, another slogan and attempting to suppress any form of questioning. This did not help us Edo 8 years ago; proof and we should simply accept it.
Godwin Obaseki is doing many good things just like Oshiomhole was. EdoBest does exist, sanity in ring road, renovated buildings and some other good things, the list is full, just like Oshiomhole’s. But most of these things will probably not be continued in a new administration? Can Edobest continue in another administration even if Godwin wins now, what about when he finishes? What is certain is that Edo children will continue learning, somehow. Farming, Health insurance and many other brilliant initiatives being pursued did not happen in the first 4 years, what are the guarantees they will happen, finish and be structurally solid in the second term? And carried on by the next administration? The final verdict on this administration is too early to predict. However, let me tell you what experience showed us, Central hospital was abandoned in political disagreements, nobody suffered except Edo people. Another thing experience has shown us is, no matter what happens in September, whether we get it wrong or right, all the politicians, GO, POI and whoever will become friends and whatever brunt is left will be felt by the Edo people.
The above examples illustrate how our leaders have not figured out what is wrong in Edo State. What do the Edo people want? Where do we start? How can we make the best of what we have right now and move forward? They are trying but they are spending billions, time and time again and just not getting it. The problem in Edo State is “Neglecting Edo Youths”.
How can we get them interested again?
How can we get Edo youths back to Edo state? make them care about their state, believe in the state and see their futures in Edo state. None of these complicated ideas including surveillance camera installations, spending hundreds of millions buying armoured trucks, arresting young boys and girls, graduates, driving them to cultism, killing them, and deploying more police to maim them, none of these options have provided employment for Edo youths or prevented them from wanting to leave Edo state? These ideas have failed to engage or give Edo youths something to do or look forward to? Let me tell you what would, Edo Entertainment would.
Today Edo entertainment, the creative industry of music, film, fashion, combined with our rich cultural history will not only bring our indigenous Edo youths back to Edo State from Lagos, Abuja, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Kuwait and many other places where they are struggling, it has the capacity to bring our modern Edo diaspora children from London and USA who are trying to catch their essence, back home to Edo State. Does the Edo Government have any idea how much resource this is? Currently Edo diaspora generations are travelling, investing time and resource in Lagos, Ghana, Sierra Leone and many other African destinations, trying to engage in their heritage, propel it, invest in it and pass it down to generations. Surely the Edo Govt must know this!
Edo entertainment will reduce crime at home, give hope, keep Edo youths active, keep Edo youths in Edo State, create employment, give Government leverage to engage with the youths and sell them options rather than force them to be farmers, cleaners and other low morale employment which are honestly described as “only available on audio”. Let us give Edo youths a lift! They can do better if they are helped. I am not saying crime or attempting to travel is better, I will leave you to decide that choice. I am stating what is clear, Edo has not used or exhausted any of its strong options to find ourselves in our current state. The options we have used up that has gotten us in this mess is our Governments. We need to activate them with our ideas. There is a disconnect.
Oshiomhole is reputed to have given someone N60m during his reign to kick start Edo entertainment, but it was the wrong person.
The argument of Government not funding entertainment is pale in comparison to the amounts spent by government in failed attempts over the last 12 years to kick start Edo state. Edo is full of Hausas, Edo youths are running away, going into crime, crossing the desert etc is because they do not see their futures in Edo state and you are failing to make them see it. The actions of the Government want them to leave. Let us make change now. This is what Edo Connect wants to achieve with any candidate that wins. Give us the opportunity to help our youths immediately. You can get on with Governance but include Edo Entertainment in your priority options. We are tired of watching, we do not have 4 years to waste, we want to help. All the Edo diaspora wants to help because Edo Governments are missing in action and the effects are too costly.