Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has described the September 19 governorship election in the state as a restoration of confidence in democracy and its institutions.
He said the state had become a point of reference on how the will of the people could triumph in a democracy that functions properly.
Obaseki, who made the declaration in his second term inaugural address on Thursday, said his re-election represented fresh hope for the people of the state.
According to him, “I see myself as a vessel in the redefinition of democracy in Nigeria and I am not unaware that this places enormous responsibility on my shoulders.
It is pertinent to state that there are many sides to the victory we are relishing today.
“Aside from the fact that it restores hope in democracy as a form of participatory government, our victory also offers an opportunity for us to bridge the gap between a challenged past and a promising future.
“The unfortunate crisis we have had to endure as a people over the decades has led to deep divisions, which has resulted in inequality, injustice, underdevelopment, poverty, insecurity and unequal distribution of opportunities.
However, this is the time to heal. We are kith and kin with a common destiny. Let us now stop dwelling on the past.
“It is now time to take our collective destinies in our own hands as Edo people and commence the arduous task of Making Edo Great Again (MEGA).
“As a people, our history is replete with evidence of greatness, courage, innovation, and creativity.
“For centuries, as Edo people, we trod on uncharted paths, built empires, conquered territories far and near and deployed a rare knack for creativity, innovation, and enterprise to attain global prominence.
Together, as a people propelled by a common zeal in pursuit of progress and advancement, there is nothing that we cannot overcome if we have a consensus on how to move our state forward.
“What we need is what I call a unity template, with which to overcome our challenges.
“The unity template has the ability to help the state respond to the economic consequences of the pandemic, to deal with our challenges of insecurity and underdevelopment, and to put us on a path to Making Edo Great Again (MEGA).”
Obaseki recalled that in the last four years, his administration had shown that there were superior ways of running government.
We have utilised core values such as transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, prudence and co-governance, and today, we are acclaimed to be a success story in good governance in Nigeria.
“Because of our antecedents in managing resources and redefining and deepening the social contract between government and the Edo people, we believe that despite the problems and challenges we currently face, we shall overcome.
“This social contract between government and the people, which you redefined in the last election, calls for trust and reciprocity. We do not claim to have the solutions to all our problems.
“And this brings me to the point of the need to deal with the false dichotomy between what belongs to the people and what belongs to government.
“We must realise that what belongs to government belongs to the people and vice versa.
“It is the bridging of this dichotomy that would help us to deal with the realities and challenges that we face in our society today.
“This gulf also manifests in the apathy towards taxation, which is the core duty of citizenship.
“Why should we have problems getting our people to pay taxes to a government who they voted for?
“Government does not have money of its own. The money government utilises to provide service for its people is actually the people’s money.