The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu, on Thursday, affirmed their commitment to the continued development of the state and the protection of the common interest of the people.
Specifically, Mr Obaseki said he will explore the state’s huge potentials by growing its digital economy to pave the way for a digital government before 2025.
He made these promises shortly after he was administered the oath of office for another four years by the Chief Judge of Edo State, Esther Edigin, at a colourful ceremony held at the Tennis Court section of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Two security officials including Mr Obaseki’s aide-de-camp collapsed at the event.
The colourful event, which was held in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, had in attendance, Ifeanyi Okowa, Aminu Tambuwal, and Douye Diri – governors of Delta, Sokoto, and Bayelsa respectively – while Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was represented by his deputy, Ipalibo Harry.
Others include the vice-chairperson of the Peoples Democratic Party South-South, Dan Orbih; Chief of Staff to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mike Ogiadomhe; a former PDP governorship aspirant, Ken Imansuagbon; and Edobor Iyamu, a senior aide in the office of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented the vice-president.
Mr Obaseki said, “Together, as a people propelled by a common zeal in pursuit of progress and advancement, there is nothing that we cannot overcome if we have a consensus on how to move our state forward. What we need is what I call a unity template, with which to overcome our challenges.
“The unity template can help us respond to the economic consequences of the pandemic, to deal with our challenges of insecurity and underdevelopment, and to put us on a path to Making Edo Great Again (MEGA).
“This social contract between the government and the people, which you redefined in the last election, calls for trust and reciprocity. We do not claim to have the solutions to all our problems”.
“Before 2025, Edo State will develop and grow its digital economy and operate a digital government. The digital government we are building will plug into the new digital age and would ensure we deliver better and efficient services to all our citizens.
“In realising our vision as reflected in the MEGA manifesto, we will focus on the following priorities areas; grow our social sector by constantly improving our education, healthcare system, provision of social security and safety nets, caring for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged in our state.
“Rapidly develop our critical energy, housing, digital, and road Infrastructure, which provides a framework to drive inclusive growth.
“Build the economy and drive Industrialisation, trade, and Investment, to solidify our state’s status as the choice investment destination in the country.”
Mr Obaseki said his re-election represented a new hope for the people of the state, adding that the period would be the time to heal.
“What you, my dear people of Edo State, achieved with the September 19 governorship election is the restoration of confidence in democracy and its institutions, and we have become a point of reference on how the will of the people can triumph in a democracy that functions properly.”
“My re-election represents a new hope and I see myself as a vessel in the redefinition of democracy in Nigeria and I am not unaware that this places enormous responsibility on me.
“It is pertinent to state that there are many sides to the victory we are relishing today. Aside from the fact that it restores hope in democracy as a form of participatory government, our victory also offers an opportunity for us to bridge the gap between a challenging past and a promising future.
“The unfortunate crisis we have had to endure as a people over the decades has led to deep divisions, which has resulted in inequality, injustice, underdevelopment, poverty, insecurity, and unequal distribution of opportunities.
“However, this is the time to heal. We are kith and kin with a common destiny. Let us now stop dwelling in the past. It is now time to take our collective destinies in our own hands as Edo people and commence the arduous task of Making Edo Great Again (MEGA),” Mr Obaseki said.
Meanwhile, the aide-de-camp (ADC) to Mr Obaseki, (name withheld), collapsed while the governor was delivering his speech.
Decked in the police ceremonial regalia, the superintendent of police, who stood directly behind the newly sworn-in governor, started wobbling on his feet before he slumped.
While the drama was ongoing, Mr Obaseki was oblivious of what was happening behind him.
As the police officer slumped, two Department of State Services (DSS) personnel calmly came to the rescue of the police officer and escorted him to the sitting arena.
Patrick Okundia, the immediate-past commissioner for health, rushed to give the officer first case assessment and aid.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the Superintendent of Police was immediately rushed into the waiting ambulance stationed at the stadium.
When contacted on the state of health of the ailing ADC, a senior police officer in Edo State Police Command, who asked not to be named, said, “The officer is in stable condition”.
“We do not doubt the state of health of the concerned officer. People do fall and with the stress of rehearsals, movement, and other activities, the officer’s principal in preparation for the ceremony, such an incident can happen.
“That shows our humanity and there is no cause for alarm. All our officers and men are in good shape and nobody should use an isolated case like that to judge how healthy the men and officers of the command are.”
Before Mr Obaseki’s ADC’s collapse, a lady, who was one of the paramilitary guards of honour, had also slumped and was quietly taken out of the parade as the governor made to inspect the guard of honour mounted in his honour.
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