Coming on the heels of his reconciliation with his estranged deputy, Philip Shaibu, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Monday, swore in 34 Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and 152 Special Assistants (SAs) in five local government areas in Edo South Senatorial District of the State, with a charge to be the bearers of truth and complement the government’s efforts at driving development in the grassroots.
Obaseki said the appointees were selected from Ikpoba-Okha, Oredo, Ovia South West, Ovia North East, and Orhionmwon local government councils in Edo South Senatorial District, noting that appointees from other two local government areas that make up the senatorial district will be announced soon as the party finalizes on the selection of credible members that are worthy of the appointments.
Prime Business Africa reports that after several months of public spat which included the ejection of his deputy from the Government House, Governor Godwin Obaseki on Friday reconciled with the Deputy Governor, as they both met and shook hands at the Holy Family Catholic Church, Agenebode, Etsako East LG of the State.
Obaseki had accepted the public apology tendered by his estranged deputy, but not without saying the following: To name a few, the Deputy Governor needlessly filed unfounded petitions in the Nigerian courts restraining me, the State House of Assembly and Security agencies from a non-existent impeachment process, followed by repeated breaches of protocol; unwarranted and unprovoked attacks in the media on my person and the State Government.
“The media frenzy as a result of the above and more provided an impression of crises that have been precarious and distasteful to Edo people in the State and across the world. Although these unwarranted provocations caused me severe personal discomfort, as a person of faith, I am under obligation to accept this apology because as they say, “to err is human, to forgive is divine”, he had said.
The Governor, according to a statement sent to our correspondent yesterday by his media aide, Crusoe Osagie, has now gone ahead to appoint a total of 186 special assistants from five of the seven local government areas in Edo South, basing it on the need to foster unity and inclusiveness in our party so that all are given the opportunity to participate in governance.
He assured that it is still a work in progress for the local governments whose list of persons to be nominated is yet to be accepted, pointing out that leaders must agree and confirm that the people who are nominated are people who are faithful, worked for the party, and have the capacity to work for the governor.
“One of the key criteria for appointment is that you must be resident in that local government as you can’t be a political appointee in absentia. Gone are the days when you get an appointment and go abroad, it can’t happen again. You have to be a resident of your local government. You need to be there to know what is going on so as to help us develop the local government and State.”
Obaseki further noted, “You all are my appointees, you work for me not the local government. We are working in all the wards in Edo State; we have teachers, health workers, and many others as we work together to develop the State. We want people on the ground to communicate to the people what we are doing and also want feedback from them.
“This is not a fancy appointment but involves real work this time around. You have SSAs who you work with and will coordinate your activities and give me a monthly report of what is going on. You must show me your contacts and relationship with the people and show me the medium of communication to ensure a real impact in all the wards.
“You all belong to our party as your appointment is based on the fact that you belong to our party and must show commitment towards that. You must promote the interest of the party. The people have decided to follow our party and it showed at the last local government election in the State.”
According to him, “I am passionate about the poorest of the poor in the State, let me know those who can’t feed and eat in your various local governments to enable the government to send palliative measures to them as we must care for our people. We must know those children that can’t go to school. We must know the state of our schools. We pay civil servants to work and want you to be our eyes to know those who are really working.”
The governor added, “We want unity in our party because we are in charge and the party to beat. Election is coming and politicians will throw all sorts of lies to discredit our party. Your role is to put things in the right perspective as you are the bearers of the truth of what the government is doing and make sure you are there to correct any lies they put out there. You must counter all the lies they put out on social media. I have faith in you to do well and accomplish the goal set out for you.”
On his part, the Edo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Anthony Aziegbemi, while congratulating the newly inaugurated appointees, charged, “You have been appointed at a very crucial time as we head into critical and serious political times starting from next month. It’s not a mistake that you are inaugurated at this time from five local government areas as you have your work cut out for you.
“If you were SSAs or SAs in the last dispensation, the work is different this time around because there is a lot of work to do for the party. We know that you are ready to help the party to win the governorship election next year. The interest of the party is towards the 21st of September next year.”
Other guests at the inauguration ceremony include Secretary to Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha; Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), Hon. Blessing Agbebaku, and other party leaders and members across the State’s 18 local government areas.