April 17, 2024

It’s Ironic and Almost Comical when We See Some Politicians Badmouthing a Govt that Has Brought Accountability, Transparency – Nehikhare

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Chris Nehikhare

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Excerpts of Interview granted by Chris Osa Nehikhare,  Hon Commissioner, Communication and Orientation, Edo State.

A lot of issues concerning the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Edo State government have gained currency in the public space of recent, especially as it concerns governance, could you put some of these things in perspective?

What floats my boat is knowing that we have a Governor that is passionate about Edo people. Knowledgeable, resourceful and strategic. A Governor that practices Edo first.  Political differences notwithstanding, it is generally acknowledged that Edo has made significant progress in the last seven years. Especially since Governor, Godwin Obaseki, joined PDP.

There is still room for improvement no doubt, but Edo under the PDP has recorded tremendous gains in terms of providing enabling environment for businesses and Edo people to thrive.

It is ironic and almost comical when we see headlines credited to some politicians and political parties “badmouthing” a government that has brought accountability, transparency and financial discipline to Edo State. The first government in decades that has been strategic in its planning and execution of its project! A government that has dared all Edo State citizens not just to dream, but to believe it’s achievable.

In the health sector, for instance, we have sustained the reforms in the healthcare system, ensuring our people have access to quality and affordable health services. The Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) have been renovated while over 2800 persons have been engaged to provide care for our people. In the last two months, 350 people were recruited and an additional 350 more would be brought onboard in the next few months.

We are building a new Stella Obasanjo Hospital in our efforts to drive the needed change in the healthcare system in Edo State. We have introduced the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme (EDOHIS), which has about 200, 000 enrollees, equipped with cutting edge infrastructure of over 248 facilities across private and public hospitals, pharmacies and diagnostic centres. EDOHIS also renders free health coverage for over 62, 000 vulnerable residents.

We have employed more doctors and nurses while we have rebuilt, reset and gotten accreditation for the state School of Nursing and Health Sciences. With the reopening of this world class institution, and graduation of its first set of nurses, the Governor’s dream for Edo to attain the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of one nurse to five patients is set to be realised.

And this is just a slice of what has been baked in one “oven”…health sector.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to further diminish the thought of a rebirthing of the comatose opposition we have in the state.

So please allow me to stop here… as election approaches, we will say more of how we have impacted on the lives and welfare of Edo citizens.

How do you react to the issue of a successor that has now come to the front burner?

Everything we have gained could so easily be lost unless PDP is returned to form the next government. Our duty is to continually remind Edo people of where we were and where we are now, with data and statistics, as well as visual and evidence. The character and antecedents and of course, the capacity of a possible successor, will be under a microscope helping Edo people to make informed decisions on their choice of successor. PDP will give them someone who will get the job done!

People in some quarters believed that PDP and its government performed poorly during the 2023 general elections, how true is that?

No, that’s not true. It’s not true at all that we performed woefully in the last general elections. No, rather on the contrary, for the first time in almost 15 years, PDP has 15 members in the state House of Assembly out of 24, and that is what really matters.

What really matters is that Edo people have quality people representing each and every constituency, and majority of those people, are from the PDP extraction.

For the first time we have members in Edo South that are PDP. Of the 10 constituencies in Edo South we have eight PDP members while in Edo North for the first time, in a very, very long time, maybe three or even four election cycles. We have three out of seven.

I think it’s something we ought to be very proud of. We also have in Edo Central, our regular stronghold, members representing PDP from that stronghold. So when people say Obaseki as the leader of the party has not done well in elections, I think they should actually go and verify these facts!

How about your party?

We know what we can achieve when we speak with one voice and pull from same direction. With Edo First as the watch word, I’m confident that no one within our party will act like one of the mothers in the celebrated Solomonic judgement we read in the Bible over the splitting of a baby into two.

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