THE present government in Edo under theleadership of Mr. Godwin Obaseki came to power under no illusion that it will not be business as usual. His approach to political campaign was uncommonly frank and techically detailled, completely devoid of the usual highfalutin and bombastic promises of Eldorado. He told his audience at Irrua, Esan Central for instance, that he will not speak to them like a typical politician who will promise what was impracticable and dull their criticality by large sums of monetary gift.
He said, he would like them to listen and understand the real issues; that to rebuild Edo State’s economy was doable due to the availability of abundant resources in the State, but it would require the effort and cooperation of everyone, assuring them that government under his watch will not be found wanting in providing the needed leadership. From the onset, he braced up his mind not to deal with the routine but the extra- ordinary and hydra-headed contradictions in the society!
It is against this background that the new approach to governance should be understood and appreciated. There have been some apprehensions apparently due to the slight deviation from the usual. It is unconcealed that the government has developed technocratic approach to resolving the daunting challenges of the time. It is an approach that is innoculated from extraneous influences and strictly designed to revitalise and strenghten institutions, processes and procedures in order to prime them for effective execution of policies, programmes and projects of government. Conscious of the herculean task ahead of it, the government took party members by surprise by sacrificing celebratory activities and symbolisms which often usher in new governments in the state. The action has further underlined the desperate economic situation and the dire criticality of the time which is by no means comparable to anytime past! The prevalent mood is a call on all to rethink and abandon old habits that are antithetical to developmental initiatives.
As a consequence, an administrative surgical operation became a desideratum in order to create an e-government in the state which will be process and data driven. The system envisioned is one that should be supported by a bureaucracy run by well trained and smart personnel whose performance will be assessed on the basis of milestones achieved. Thus far, several training workshops and roundtable conferences have been held to produce a template towards achieving the goal. At the end of the day, the entire machinery of government would have been retuned and retooled to deliver on the promises of the administration. For those who have keenly followed Governor Obaseki’s speeches and statements, they encapsulate a performance chatter that offers clear vision, boost morale, increase capacity of the work force and promote innovation and creativity. It is a governance philosophy that will fire the passion and energies of public servants to excel. It is transformational and capable of breaking through development barriers!
While the capacity of the bureaucracy and public servants are upgraded to deliver results optimally in the new governance philosophy, the political class must not be left behind. It is absolutely necessary to re- orientate the political class to buy into the system. As they say, old habits die hard. The political class has long been perceived as a parasitic, lazy and unproductive group of primary actors in the polity. While this may not be the truth, it is needful for some political actors with this thought line to think differently. Those who parade the streets with gorgeous floating robes from the proceeds of handouts must rethink. The source of handsome handouts has been dried up by economic recession! Any political leader who visits his ward and community like a feudal potentate to exhibit nauscious gaudiness must now return to them as an agricultural enterpreneaur or an industrial leading light. The new approach will not only confer more respect and dignity on such a leader but it will cascade down the line and fire the populace to embrace production and thereby have spiral effect on economic activities in the area. The new governance philosophy demands no more than enlisting and engaging all able hands in the production process in order to engender a vibrant and prosperous economy for Edo State.
Once upon a time, Edo State was manacled under the oppressive political incubus of a deaf and dumb leadership. In the immediate past, Edo people celebrated the sharp reflexes and the superlative achievements of an athletic and oratorial leader. Today, we are on the verge of technocratic unleashing of an avalanche of economic opportunities and activism on the anvil of a new governance philosophy. The activities and programmes of government so far, are not only bold and far reaching but they inspire hope and confidence in the people! In a society that went beserk with corruption, this is a huge effort to recover our collective moral responsibility and divest the state from the decrepit structures of the past.
Our polity is reeling from the devious antics of the political elite which is allergic to truth and progress. All stakeholders, including members of the opposition party would most certainly excel in an environment where one’s talents and resources are put to more productive and profitable use. There is nothing more secure to all than an accountable and participatory government where opportunities for upward mobility are open. Edo people must endeavour to understand the new prism and ramifications of the programmes and key in.
Mr. Aiyevbekpen Osakue, is the State Coordinator of Godwin Obaseki Campaign Organisation.
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