2018 budget realistic, designed to propel economic growth – Obaseki’s aide
· APC still fixing the damage caused by PDP’s decades of misrule
The Edo State Government has flayed allegations by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state discrediting its 2018 budget, noting that the PDP couldn’t appreciate the plans and initiatives contained in the budget because it was still stuck in primitive politics and a system that glorifies avarice.
The state said that the 2018 budget, and many others before it, are fixing the damage caused by decades of misrule by the PDP.
The Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, in a statement, said that the budget has been hailed by experts in the development circles, academia and civil society for its focus on fortifying growth enabling sectors of the economy and forthrightness.
According to him, “Our attention has been drawn to a press conference held by the ailing People’s Democratic Party in the state where they made a feeble attempt at discrediting Edo State’s 2018 budget, which has received commendation from a wide range of experts, especially on its focus on growth enabling sectors, forthrightness and realism.”
He added, “Specifically, some roads that will be constructed this year were budgeted for by the PDP in the past and money was released that ended up in their private safes. These roads were not constructed. We have the same issues in the education sector where money was released to build schools, only to be stolen. But under Governor Obaseki, we are seeing roads being fixed everywhere and this will continue in the years to come. The PDP is bitter because there is no more money to share for birthday parties and ego trips. This budget will address the needs of ordinary Edo people.”
He stressed that the PDP rushed to speak to the press because they were intimidated not just by the impressive development trajectory the budget proposes, but also by the harmony which birthed the budget in record time.
“Hard as they tried, they cannot say that Governor Obaseki allocated any sum to himself, his family or his political party, as is the stock in trade of the PDP. The budget is clear in its purpose.”
Noting that the allocations in the budget are targeted and strategic, he said, “Specifically, given the need to fast-track development, the 2018 budget is focused on key areas that can easily spur growth. Over 60 percent of the budget went to infrastructure; around 20 percent to growth enablers, such as job creation and agriculture. Law and order got 10 percent because the PDP bastardised the state when it held the helm of affairs and almost succeeded in turning the state to a place without order.
“The state government is going to be partnering with international development partners and this is made possible because Edo State has initiated reforms that have made it attractive to foreign investors and donors.
“But we understand why the PDP would come out to make these spurious allegations. In their heydays, they built roads on paper; the budgets were for the fun of it. Roads were budgeted for but no one could see where they were built. These, for them, were their hallmarks of governance. The culture of stealing and greed, of appropriating to themselves the Commonwealth of the state still runs fresh in their veins. So, it is not a surprise that they are stuck in primitive politics and expect that others would wallow in such lows with them. This is just to let them know that the 2018 budget is for the people and for the growth of the state.
On allegations that the governor imported foreigners to eat from Edo people’s till, he said, “This notion is wrong. I, as the special adviser, would easily fall into the category of those the PDP call foreigners. But, I am a Benin man, who was working in Lagos, and was called to serve here after acquiring almost 20 years’ experience as a communications expert. I am from Uzebu, I went to Primary School here; attended Immaculate Conception College (ICC) and University in this state. The same can be said of the many other appointees of the governor. So, where are the foreigners?”
He said Governor Obaseki only picked Edo indigenes who have excelled in their various areas of experts and got them to contribute to developing the state, noting, “Governor Obaseki cannot walk to the streets and pick up people. He knows what he wants to achieve his developmental goals and picked people to help him drive his vision.