Edo State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s governorship election, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, berated his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, over the latter’s speculative answer to a question bordering on the state’s economy during their debate on Sunday night.
Obaseki had asked Ize-Iyamu: “In the light of the post-COVID-19 pandemic economy and going through your SIMPLE Agenda, in the first year alone, you will require about N500b to do all the things you have outlined for the state. How and where do you intend to get the money from?
Responding, Ize-Iyamu said: “With what we have in mind, we are very optimistic that COVID or no COVID, our revenue will improve and we will be able to do most of the things that we plan to do.”
But in a statement issued by Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, he (Obaseki) said the APC candidate failed to understand how economies work.
“You can’t plan any economy or the Edo economy for that matter on optimism and speculations. Governance requires much more than optimism. You must have time-tested solutions well laid out in a development plan, and that is prepared in advance. That is why managers or leaders must have development plans.
“It is a good thing to be optimistic, but Ize-Iyamu needs to understand that there are over four million persons in Edo that must be fed daily through a mix of job creation strategies. This requires hard thinking, planning ahead, and ultimately, effective execution of development plans,” he stated.
Obaseki also stressed that merely hoping that things would go well was not sufficient, adding, “There must be deliberate efforts on the part of the government to attract investments into the state to create jobs for the people.
“We are already doing that with EdoJobs, an agency that is matching job seekers with employers; creating direct and indirect jobs and training thousands of youths on industry skills that are in high demand globally.”
“Ize-Iyamu again missed the point when he dismissed the impact of COVID-19. Dismissing the pandemic and its negative impact on the economy is to live in denial.
No leader who understands current socio-economic trends will say COVID or no COVID, he will do this or do that.”
The governor further explained that the pandemic has altered lives worldwide irrespective of the sectors, pointing out that the aviation sector had witnessed unprecedented job losses, while it had disrupted input, produce supply systems in agriculture and blighted markets.
“In the oil and gas sector, oil-producing countries are grappling with low demand and low prices due to low production levels in the developed and emerging economies that rely on our crude oil for production activities.
“In the health sector, which is the worst hit, the crisis is unprecedented as health facilities and personnel are stretched beyond limit. So, smart leaders must factor the impact of COVID-19 into their development agenda,” he added.