" ITREALMS: Asue Ighodalo concurs Akoko-Edo's unfair treatment must be reversed - ITREALMS

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Asue Ighodalo concurs Akoko-Edo's unfair treatment must be reversed - ITREALMS

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate for Edo State, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, has concurred that Akoko-Edo's unfair treatment over the years must be reversed, reports 
Asue Ighodalo concurs Akoko-Edo's unfair treatment must be reversed - ITREALMS
Mr. Ighodalo made this assertion at the 'Meet The Candidates' hosted by the Akoko-Edo Development Association, aka 'Akoko-Edo Forum' over the weekend.

The session which lasted for two hours, witnessed discussion with Akoko-Edo stakeholders in their second interactive session with the Edo State governorship candidates christened “Meet the Candidates” series – a platform for candidates seeking elective offices to lay out their plans for Akoko-Edo LGA.

The session commenced with Mr. Ighodalo presenting his profile and achievements in the private sector and being a member of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s economic team and later Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Alegodaro economic team.

He emphasized that his administration will prioritize security, infrastructure, and industrialization.

The issue of Akoko-Edo's marginalization was a central theme throughout the conversation.

Stakeholders brought to light several instances of this, including the LGA's undivided status since 1962, the absence of higher educational institutions and infrastructure, the disparity in appointments, and the fact that only three judges have been appointed from the LGA since the creation of the state. These issues, among others, serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for attention and action.

In response to the question of marginalization, the PDP candidate said, “I agree that Akoko-Edo has been treated unfairly, and I will address it under my watch. I’ll bend over backward to ensure no part of the state is left behind”. To this end, Mr. Ighodalo said, “I will make the creation of LCDA from the present LGA happen; take this as a promise that must be done under my watch.” He pointed out the constitutional challenges of creating a new LGA but will look at the model of Lagos State and those that have found creative ways to address LGA creation using LCDAs. 

As said by him, “We will work with the State Assembly to sort this out,” but he said he is not unmindful of the likelihood of other parts of the state agitating when the issue of Akoko-Edo LCDA creation comes up. He was reminded that Akoko-Edo is a peculiar case that cannot be compared with other parts of the state.

When asked to give specific plans he has for Akoko-Edo rather than the general mantra the people have heard from previous governors during previous campaigns, as the people have lost trust in the government and politicians to help them out of their agony of deprivation and neglect, he paused and pledged that in his first anniversary as governor, Akoko-Edo will have (i) a functional University, (ii) the LGA will be fully represented at the highest level by running an inclusive government, (iii) he will put in place a constructive way to create LCDAs from the current LGA while being an advocate for Akoko-Edo, and (iv) specific attention will be given to providing quality teachers to schools. He announced that the breaking of ground for a University of Mining and Geosciences will be done in the next few weeks, and he will make sure the school kicks off without delay if elected.

On this note, Mr. Ighodalo birthed the idea that some missionary schools may be returned to their original owners to free the government from the resources voted for such schools and adequate funding management by the new owners. He also said that EDOBEST will be improved and spread across the state.

A press statement available to 
ITREALMS by Barr. (Mrs.) Mary Opii, quoted the candidate as being reminded that the LGA lacks any functional government hospital and only one medical doctor in the General Hospital at Igarra.

He lamented the absence of healthcare providers in the state’s rural areas due to the harsh living conditions in those areas. “Making life in rural areas more comfortable and offering healthcare providers incentives like mortgages, tax advantages, special allowances, and provisions of facilities to attract and keep them in rural areas will arrest the trend”.

He committed to looking into tertiary health institutions and enhanced medical laboratories in the LGA to address the shortage of proper treatment of major ailments while focusing on primary health centers as the frontline in healthcare delivery to the people. In addition to this, there will be an intentional effort to make health insurance work.

According to him, the same seriousness will be deployed to arrest the deplorable state of veterinary services in the entire LGA without a resident veterinarian. This downward spiral in the lack of major government services in the state and, particularly in the rural areas, dates back to 1975 when the decapitation of the civil service began and is now manifesting today.

He promised to work tirelessly to reverse the poor picture that Akoko-Edo and the rest of the state were facing.

On how he will achieve his lofty plans for Akoko-Edo and the rest of the state, he said his government will build “trust in governance” that will help in accessing funds readily available around the world for developmental projects; these funds are with low-interest rates and favorable repayment plans.

These projects will lead to economic activities with a cascading impact. However, “take it that I will create an enabling and friendly environment for business to thrive in the urban and rural areas.” The era of multiple taxations will soon be over “because my team will create a one-stop tax processing program.”

With total darkness becoming the norm and no solution in sight, Mr. Ighodalo said he plans to establish three power generation centers in each senatorial zone to reduce the challenges associated with transmission and distribution. Such a station can be located in the LGA to help with employment and promote business activities.

Economic activities in the state are not at their best, and Mr. Ighodalo said he plans to spread industrial development across the state. His tourism agenda centers around the state’s traditional institutions and its beautiful landscape. “I know for sure that Akoko-Edo is rich in mineral resources and has fantastic tourist sites in Somorika, Ososo, Igarra, Ojah, and many more that will be pivotal to the industrialization agenda for the area.”

He compared the topography of this area to the tourist sites in South Africa and Spain that he’ll use to create economic activities in those areas. To attract tourists to those areas, security is critical. I know that Akoko-Edo people who are very proud of their area, making an impact nationally and globally, and are highly industrious are very concerned about the rife insecurity in that part of the state that has affected every aspect of life there.

He noted the peculiar security challenges faced by Akoko-Edo people as the local government shares boundaries with Ondo and Kogi States as well as Owan East and Etsako West LGAs and spoke of his plan to adequately fund and equip state security outfits to curb the menace of criminal marauders preventing our people from moving about freely.

Still, on his industrialization plan, the candidate said he will establish one economic development agency in each of the state’s three senatorial zones, revive moribund companies, prioritize the digital economy, and connect towns to existing rail lines and roads linking villages and rails. He, however, emphasized, “We now need to focus on Akoko-Edo and find a creative way to create LCDAs for development and pour investment in the area.”

His attention was drawn to the fact that Akoko-Edo lacks any sports facility to keep the youths engaged; Mr. Ighodalo acknowledged that sport is a vehicle for development, networking, and keeping youths engaged and away from criminality. He reminisced on the days of Gen. Ogbemudia when the Afuze sports complex was a reference place in Africa. As a sports lover, “School inter-house sports, competition among schools, etc. will be revived,” he said.

He promised to bring the government right to the people by moving the seat of government around wards to feel the pulse and what the people actually want. He reiterated that he would visit all wards in the state and comb most of the towns and villages in those wards.

The session ended with Mr. Ighodalo’s total reassurance to win the trust of Akoko-Edo people if he becomes their governor. He said, “The misgivings you have will be resolved,” and also added, “We must ensure we are secure,” and finally, “By the time I leave office, Akoko-Edo will have LCDAs.”

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