Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the days are gone in Nigeria when idle funds existed which actors within the polity distributed to persons and groups, without commensurate return of value.
Obaseki made this submission during a New Year Service at the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Eguare-Ekpoma, Edo State, which he attended in company of his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki and some members of the Executive Council.
The Edo State governor explained that Nigeria is more financially constrained today than it was about forty years ago.
According to him, “Between 1979 and 1983 when President Shehu Shagari held the helm of governance in the country, the total earnings of Nigeria amounted to about $100 billion within the four years.
Obaseki said this amounted to about $25 billion annual earning, when the country’s population was less than 100 million people and lamented that today, when the country’s population is about 200 million persons, the country’s annual earnings for 2017 fell under $22 billion, indicating that the country was not as financially buoyant as it used to be four decades earlier.
According to him, “We have to do things differently. If we don’t change our approach to governance urgently, we perish. When people come to political office holders and say give me something without the intention of creating equivalent value, that attitude is a recipe for socio-economic catastrophe. There is no free money anymore in Nigeria today.”
“God will not bless me if I distribute the funds that belong to everybody to just a few people. And I will not do it. The money we earn as government is meant for the service of our people. When I build the market road where this church is located, everybody will use it and benefit from it.
“But if I have to share the fund meant to construct this road for everybody, how much will get to the people. It is therefore the right thing to do before God to deploy the people’s resources towards the development of infrastructure and provision of services for everyone, and not a select few,” he added.
The governor, however, noted that it is not all gloom, stressing that there is hope for Edo state and Nigeria due to the availability of abundant resources, chief among which is human.
He stressed that all that is needed is a government that is committed to channeling the energies of the people and efficiently managing material resources to take the people from where they are to where they ought to be.
Also speaking at the Church Service, Archbishop of Bendel Province, The Most Reverend Dr. Friday John Imaekhai commended the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration for its integrity, noting that the governor is not only sincere, but committed to bettering the condition of the people.
“This is the first time a sitting governor is coming to this church on a New Year Day. We appreciate the governor for his commitment to the people, and how he has kept his promises to the people,” he said.