Every four years of election circle, it is especially important to do a self-check by asking oneself a sim-ple question “Am I Better Today Than I Was Four Years Ago? ”. For the first time in the history of Nige-rian political transformation I chanced up a dynamic social contract choreographed by a no less an in-digenous political personage who painstakingly outlined his contractual manifesto for the governance of my home state in Nigeria, entitled: SIMPLE Agenda!
I found it pretty prestigious that social contract theory which is nearly as old as democratic philosophy itself, which designates that persons’ moral and/or political obligations must be dependent upon a contract or agreement among the people to form the society in which we live.
This is the missing link. Several years down the tumultuous political trajectory Nigeria and its ancillary constituencies in form of state and local lacks two basic issues: absence of concise agenda, as basic and realistic as the SIMPLE Agenda as much as the political will to pilot same to fruition.
Now, Edo people have been given something to remember and something to hold Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to account if he abdicate like his predecessor, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who belatedly — out frenzy and slumber — as a copycat, juggled up what he called “MEGA Agenda’, an acronym for “Make Edo Grate Again”, a replica of Donald Trump’s MAGA: ‘Make America Great Again’. This is part of his many PowerPoint deceit he presented to the Edo people in 2016, this time around, it will not work.
Our people now know better between Obaseki’s PowerPoint Presentations and Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s SIMPLE agenda. The fact that Governor Obaseki have been running Edo State on amnesiac impulses, archaic whims and caprices without specific blueprints simply accounted for the disjointed governance approach in the last four years of the locust. My dear people of Edo State, the PowerPoint presenta-tion is empty just as his mentor’s agenda in America is also. It’s very dangerous to trust this man for another 4 years with the destinies of my dear people of Edo State. The stakes are too high this time around for Edo people to allow a child that fail so woefully to repeat. He should be asked to look for another trade and learn apart from governance.
Browsing through the documented SIMPLE agenda of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu on job creation; health care delivery reformation, agropreneurship, education revamp, urban development, security reorgan-ization, suggests reassuringly of a civil space that abhors the rule of the thumb and brigandage.
Studying the SIMPLE Agenda curiously, the blueprint for governance which he had been working on since 2013 rekindled hope for a people that have been groping in the wilderness of exploitative and directionless government. The sum total of the objectives of the SIMPLE agenda is the underlying dec-laration which he made thus: “Edo State, by population, 4.2 million people, land size, 18,600 sq. km, is bigger than over 54 countries around the world. Let us run it as if it is a country. Let it be our aim to build Edo as an Oasis in Nigeria, a State in which every Nigerian would love to reside and do business and prosper.” Edo people deserve a better governance than what we have presently; we just cannot continue in this trajectory.
On Agriculture: POI plan is to take one product and milk it to the moon. He plans to make Edo State the primary supplier of Sugar to the whole of Nigeria and West Africa. Edo State have the best ecology to grow the best sugarcane to produce the best quality of sugar to the entire sub region. To do this, he said that he intends to enter the bush and prepare 240,000 acres of land to grow sugarcane in the three Senatorial zones. As a farmer myself, I know this is very possible in the 3 Senatorial zones of the State and I intend to contribute my quota in this regard.
Each young man and woman will get 6 acres each. We will have tractors in each farm zone for commu-nal use. By this action alone, we will directly empower 40,000 young farmers who will deliver a value chain of 30 new jobs each to create 1.2 million jobs in Edo State. All the sugar cane will be purchased by a Commodity Marketing Board which will be private sector driven and the factories will turn out Sugar and Ethanol. The waste from the sugarcane will be used to generate electricity and we will partner with BEDC to add this to their electricity stock to light up the entire Edo State and turn the State into a 24-hour a day machine to give expression to the creative energy of our youth.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu ignites hope on the repositioning of the comatose health care delivery system under the manifesto of his social welfare policy where he documented how he hopes to prioritize healthcare for all citizens but particularly women under antenatal and infants by providing free medical services to them. Delving also into the infrastructural development and urban renewal, Pastor Ize-Iyamu explains his plans in detail on his agenda to “massively transform our medical facilities across the state by mak-ing them not only functional but attractive, so that doctors and nurses and even patients can have a conducive environment all together”.
On Leadership responsibility, the SIMPLE Agenda intend to also ensure transparency and accountabil-ity in government, respect the rule of law and equally be interested in the funding our hospitals as the current state of our hospitals are unacceptable”. “In a place like Central Hospital for example, you will be shocked to hear that the Internally generated revenue on a monthly basis is close to N40million but the government gives the management a paltry some of N4 million, which is barely 10% of what they generate. Government must have a deliberate policy to ensure that funds are available, at least a rea-sonable amount for running of our healthcare system”.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s detailed explanation of the SIMPLE Agenda policy on employment and social empowerment means that more doctors must be engaged while the State School of nursing which has been under lock and key for more than three years by outgoing Governor Obaseki will be reopened within his first three months in office. “With such a school, Edo State cannot be looking for nurses out-side the state to work in its hospitals. We will be engaging more specialist doctors and nurses, especial-ly for the healthcare centers in the 19 local government areas of the state.
The SIMPLE Agenda did not leave out the fact that an all-encompassing audit must be carried out in most hospitals facing huge shortage of medical personnel. Such analysis is urgently needed to take stock of healthcare facilities across the state, identify the challenges, and overhaul the system”. There are some hospitals already built which are yet to be opened, for example in Otuo, Owan East LGA, this means that doctors and nurses will be needed to reopen and operate the hospitals”.
The SIMPLE Agenda on education spelt out the need to ensure that no Edo child is left behind. Edo State Government under our leadership promise to provide free and compulsory education from pri-mary school to junior secondary school. “The Edo State education program will be driven by a determi-nation to train Edo people to be skilled and competitive both nationally and globally through the adop-tion of the use of modern pedagogical methods including ICT and multi-media platforms”.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s education policy thrust includes “to train the youths in science, engineering, fi-nance, commerce, entrepreneurship, management information and communication technology that will lead the state’s drive for prosperity and economic development; to make every citizen a literate that is able to communicate in our lingua franca as well as in their mother tongue. To go beyond the cosmetic painting of classroom blocks and ensure adequate provision of chairs and tables and relevant learning materials in both primary and secondary schools. To encourage the development of sports and libraries, to motivate teachers through proper remuneration, prompt payment of salaries and emoluments and continued training and re-training.
The SIMPLE Agenda manifesto deal extensively on the re-activate and provision of contemporary facil-ities, equipment, and teaching aids to all existing Technical Schools in the state, Construct modern toi-let facilities in public schools. The agenda is to improve on the technical training centers; integrated with skill acquisition, cottage agro-processing and other related small-scale production outfits in each of the senatorial districts for the training of the relevant technical and skilled manpower, to drive all aspects of our economic policies.
Part of it is to make ICT and entrepreneurship compulsory components of the government policy at all levels of educational system and to provide all government secondary schools with computer labora-tories. From JSS 1, every child would be exposed to skill acquisition as part of the school system. The SIMPLE Agenda stated that the students would pick 4 different skills from a wide range of skills that may include Carpentry, Catering, Fashion design, Painting as well as Digital skills, Music, Healthcare, Tiling, etc. From SSI, they would then be required to pick only one and specialize in it. Pastor Ize-Iyamu is poised to create an education and business partnership framework to give students the opportunity to develop the skills and qualities needed for work. In their last year of SS3, these students will under-go a compulsory four weeks work experience placement.
I have long drawn the conclusion that the difference between world best run countries like the Unit-ed States of America and war-tuned countries like Somalia and Nigeria with its debilitating insecurity challenges is lack of well-thought policy, coupled with the will to implement same and the absence of institutions. A vote for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is a vote for Edo and Nigeria’s collective destiny.
– Akhabue writes from Washington, D.C. USA.