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Monday, 29 February 2016

Edo 2016: Ofeimun, Edebiri, Emuan, Esele jostle for space

  • By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, (Benin City) and Debo Oladimeji, (Lagos) on February 29, 2016 

AHEAD of the Edo State governorship elections, aspirants from the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are positioning themselves for relevance to get the electorates’ attention.
But while more aspirants are springing up from the ruling APC, fewer persons appear to be showing interest from the opposition parties including the PDP. Still others like Odia Ofeimun are yet to indicate which platform they want to use to get to the Dennis Osadebey House.
Chief Solomon Edebiri of the PDP believes that human capacity development and a resuscitation of the industrial sector hold the key to the hearts of the Edo people, while Arch Ilenre Austin Emuan and Comrade Peter Esele of the APC are focusing on an economic blueprint anchored on welfarism; and education, agriculture and culture respectively.
Ofeimun on the other hand wants to modernise Edo through cultural civility and technological proficiency within a period of 40 months.
In an interactive session with journalists, in Lagos, Edebiri said that human capacity development and industialisation have been neglected by successive administration in the state noting that the state lacked the required foundation for growth and development.
According to him, the graph of growth and development has been declining since the end of Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia’s administration stressing that economically virtually all the industries that made the state robust have become moribund.
“Delta Line, Bendel Brewery, Bendel Wood Treatment plant, Bendel Printing press, Afuze sports complex, the Agbede Wareke farms, Bendel Insurance, etc. are dead. As the industries get castrated so our people began to loose their jobs. As they loose their jobs, the resultant effect was that the young ones went into crimes and the young ladies started finding their ways out of the country”, he stated.
Edebiri said he was stepping into the gap to provide the foundation for growth and development of the state. He acknowledged that the state governor did well in the construction of some roads, which would be built on.
“We need a man who is liberal who understands the business of the state, who knows how to run the state as a business entity and turn it around for good. That is where I come in,” he disclosed stressing that he would localize crops in their local government area of advantage along with their identified natural resources to grow the state’s economy.
“The principle of one local government one commercial crop syndrome with each local government area concentrating on the area of advantage will be adopted with the attendant agro-industry established,” he said.
Edebiri promised to de-emphasise taxing the citizens, grow the revenue base of the state to make it an export hub as against the current import hub.
Esele of the APC said he would focus on education, agriculture and culture if he becomes governor
On why going into the race despite rumours that the governor has his preferred candidate, he posited,  “I think the governor has every right to support any candidate of his choice. But I also have my right to contest. It doesn’t have to do with whether the governor has a preferred candidate or not. But again, it is the delegates that will determine who bears the party’s flag. I think we should be open to discussion and ideas to broaden the space. And I think that is the biggest problem.”
“The bottom line, which I think, is a matter of ideas, considering what Oshiomhole has done in the last seven years. It is a matter of telling ourselves the truth; moving beyond ethnic politics and not queuing behind somebody that is not going to add value. It is all about building beyond what we have today. That is why I am into the race today,” he added.
Emuan, a development expert explained that his passion for development generally informed him asking why do nations failed and that this stimulated the interest in international relations that eventually prompted him to join politics.
He said he would democratize development and investment process with 25 years solid economic development plan that will enable Edo State become one of the most industrialised economies and investment destination in Nigeria.
According to him, Edo would be modernise and provided with infrastructure that will offer Edo people wherever they are located in the world to grow themselves economically, adding: “The philosophy of this vision is hinged on co-ownership and participatory democracy.”
He said that he belonged to the neo structuralism ideology where credit is given to welfarism of the state in line with the ideology of the APC. “The only way to go about this thing that I am talking about is to create the Economic blue print of Edo State that is quite peculiar to Edo State. It is a very unique model that will be used to develop Edo economy.”
Besides, Emuan promised to introduce a policy he called vernacular education at the formative stage designed to empower the people to study, learn, innovate and communicate in their language.
His words: “We need to develop the next generation such that they can think, write and innovate and communicate in their own language because culturally if we don’t do that we can go extinct. Any people that loses her language loses their identity.”
Ofeimun who said he was interested in only one term in office, promised that in forty months he would have turned Edo around and laid the foundation for a “Singapore” within the Nigerian nation.
“I am determined to prove that within the particularity of one nationality, Edo, and the fold of a multinational state, Nigeria, it is possible to achieve high feats of modernity, cultural civility and technological proficiency comparable to that of any other country in the world,” he stated.
The renowned poet and polemicist said if he makes it to the office of the governor, he would create money, investible and welfare funds, through aggressive solid minerals, gas and agro-allied industries as well as eliminate punitive taxation, waste, and improper expenditures.

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