By ISAAC ASABOR
In view of the fact that Edo’s economy would, in the next political dispensation, be seen to have being mismanaged, and that the envisaged dispensation would fall within the Post COVID-19, there is no denying the fact that the prediction of any economist would not be needed as the economy would be characterized by social economic cataclysm.
The fact cannot be denied that when the economy manifest itself in the way it is being speculated in this context that it would be easy for Edolites; both at home and in diaspora, to feel alarmed and frazzled. The reason that would spur their collective feeling cannot be farfetched when seen from the perspective of the fact that with the gravity of damage the economy might have being subjected to through inept governance, and the negative impact that may likely arise from Post COVID-19, that the task in governance for the new leadership would unavoidably be daunting.
However, not a few political observers and economists have assured that if a political leader in the ilk of Dr. Pius Egberanmwen Odubu would be in the saddle of leadership at Osadebey Avenue at the time, addressing the leadership lag or rather fixing Edo’s economy would be a piece of cake.
Against the foregoing backdrop, not a few political observers have pontificated that Edolites should count themselves lucky to have an experienced, highly educated and virtuous leader in the ongoing race to Osadebey house. In the same vein, not a few political observers and pundits have observed that it would be beneficial for all and the State to rally round Odubu in his race to become the State governor in the next political dispensation.
When political observers resort to tell Edolites that they’re lucky enough to have a leader in the ilk of Odubu in the race to Osadebey Avenue, everything they need to make their observations become believable come from the promises he has been making in respect to the policy and aims he intend initiating and executing.
For instance, Odubu’s mission in transforming Edo is to harness, organize and renovate the enormous human and natural resources of the State, leveraging on its vast arable land and excellent climatic conditions which is enhanced by a rich culture. That said, interpreting his mission for the betterment of Edolites is not going to be a daunting task as he is poised to vigorously explore every opportunity to create wealth, economic development and growth even as he understands the unique and strategic position of the State as a gateway to different parts of the country.
Ostensibly keying into Anthony Robbins’ proverb that says “Create a vision and never let the environment, other people’s beliefs, or the limits of what has been done in the past shape your decisions. Ignore conventional wisdom”, Odubu in his vision will create a business and industrial hub that will make Edo State the preferred destination for investors.
He is ready to transform the state to the benefits of the spectrum of the population of energetic youth and women. In the same vein, Odubu is readily committed to create a physical and intellectual base for a service-driven government where individual and community development will be encouraged, thus engendering a favourable economic environment that will generate jobs and wealth for Edo people.
Being cognizant of the fact that Nigeria continues to face unemployment and under employment challenges, as he was not unmindful of recent statistics that put the unemployment rate at 23.1% and under-employment at 20.21% with youth unemployment and under-employment standing at 55.4%, Odubu has assured Edolites that when he assumed office at Osadebey Avenue that he will create jobs for the youths and other categories of the unemployed in the State.
He is confident in his resolve as he is poised to tackle headlong the rising incidences of insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities that have exacerbated the extant situation in the State. Odubu has kept reiterating his commitment to see that jobs will be created for the restive youths in order to engender a secure and peaceful environment across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of the state.
At this juncture, not few readers of this piece would ask, “How will he do it?” In response to the foregoing interrogation, permit me to proverbially say that “a good hunter is not taught about the terrain of the forest”.
Added to the foregoing transformational steps that Odubu has promised to take in ensuring that Edo is taken to the next level come the next political dispensation, he has also planned to embark on massive investment in agriculture as well as training young graduates in the State in new skills that will make them employers of labour, rather than job seekers.
Closely related to the creation of jobs is his plan to assist young entrepreneurs to access loans at single digit interest rates. Of more promising in his determination to transform the State is that he is readily disposed to widen the window of opportunity in agriculture. He believes agriculture represents a large proportion of the total economy of any nation, and that demand for agro products is on the rise due to demographic and improved income from farming.
It is against the backdrop of the fact that Edo State is essentially an agrarian society, and agriculture was the main-stay of the defunct Mid-West Region that made him to be strongly resolved to re-engineer the agro sector when the people give him the opportunity to govern the state, even as he is ready to eradicate poverty by creating wealth and increasing food production.
He is equally ready to encourage small scale farmers to maintain and, perhaps, increase their holdings, while government will support them with critical farming inputs. The foregoing are collectively a tip of the iceberg on what Odubu has promised to deliver for virtually all Edolites when massively supported by the good people of Edo State in the next political dispensation.
At this juncture, permit me to opine that since political activities in the state are gathering momentum ahead of the September 19 governorship election, that the dramatis personae in the guber race across party divides have resorted to engaging in cut-throat rivalry and employing the instruments of propaganda, intrigues, gimmicks, antics, calumny, among others in the bid to become the governor of the state.
However,one thing which they don’t have which Odubu has is EXPERIENCE (Emphasis mine). Without sounding hyperbolical in this context, Odubu’s contributions to the socio-economic, political and infrastructural development of the state, amongst others in his time as the deputy governor cannot be overemphasized.
I must confess that an exercise of retrospection taken by this writer to dig into Odubu’s political experience revealed that, “Between 2003 and 2007, he was a member of House Committee on Works, Marine Transport, Commerce, Navy, Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts. He was also deputy chairman of the Commerce Committee as well as the only National Assembly member from Edo State in the Appropriation Committee between 1999 and 2003. He contributed immensely in the provision of funds for the expeditious execution of projects in his constituency and Edo State at large, such as the by-pass (outer Ring Road) in Benin City, Benin-Warri road, among others”.
In the same vein, while in the National Assembly, he was credited to have provided employment to several persons from his constituency; financial assistance to Law students of Edo origin at the Nigeria Law School, Abuja; graded several earth roads; facilitated different erosion control projects in Abudu and Urhonigbe; built health care centres; rural electricity and water boreholes in several communities as well as facilitated the rehabilitation of Benin-Abraka road.
It suffices to say at this nexus that his training as a Political Scientist and a Lawyer has uniquely equipped him to embrace modern leadership techniques and organizational skills. This has provided him distinctive opportunity to achieve set goals and offer true leadership.
In summation, the experiences he has garnered over the years as a lawyer, a legislator and a Deputy Governor of Edo State has put him in good stead to do the greatest good to the greatest number of persons within the shortest possible time.