Today, the die is cast and it is no more news that the indifference of elected representatives to the welfare of the people they represent often take a sad toll their people thus finding expression in a dearth of service infrastructures. Edo Central Senatorial District is a case in point. The engine house of Edo politics like a motorboat engine in the deep blue sea has abruptly cut out and eventually run aground. Poverty is on the rise and this tells disastrously on the constituents with Hon. Clifford Odia representing the senatorial zone watching without rising to the occasion.
He was elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose presence in the National Assembly one had thought would help address the myriad of problems plaguing the region but from far it, his presence there has brought nothing but woe, misery to the Esan people whose interests he supposedly represents in the National Assembly.
Although it is largely the responsibility of the state and federal governments to formulate policies that positively impact on the lives of the citizenry, an elected representative has an important role to play by making the needs of the constituents known to the government. There is no gainsaying the fact that Hon Clifford Odia has failed in this regard because the level of infrastructural decay in Esan land has actually assumed an alarming crescendo.
Sometimes, I wonder why we often fail to retain the services of Nigerians who would render selfless service in a country that abounds in genuine patriots to reposition the country on the path of development and economic prosperity. The sorry state of infrastructures in Esanland speaks volumes for this piece against Hon Clifford Odia who has not been able to aggressively present our case to the central government which has fundamental roles to play on the economic lives of his constituents.
Leaders who have the interests of their constituents at heart ought to be attuned politically, then fashion out the quality of basic inputs such as human resources, physical infrastructures, and capital, create rules, regulations, and incentives that encourage innovation and upgrading through anti-trust enforcement of government policies, encourage local firms and citizens to choose and compete.
I am sure who we stand in need of is an outspoken and vibrant representative who by all means should be capable of advancing our collective will as a people by speaking to promote central economic goal for our region, attain and sustain a high and rising standard of living for the inhabitants of our senatorial zone, a region whose standard of living would be determined by the productivity of its economy, value creation, measured by the value of goods and services produced per unit of labour and capital.
Again, I am not only sure but doubly sure that no sane mind would like to offer power again those who continually abort the dreams of our region and people to excel by creating and maintaining conditions favourable to fundamental influence on productivity policies that encourage investment and foster productivity growth in rural regions which is a critical priority for economic development.
Under Senator Odia’s very watch, our agrarian zone has experienced less prosperity, huge unemployment which has by extension retarded national productivity and prosperity. It is very unfortunate that no major Bill has been sponsored by Odia in the Senate to drive growth and activities that could stop rural-urban drift.
Therefore, there is no gainsaying the fact that this lackluster performance by our men at the helm often creates demands from rural regions for interventions. We need key drivers of rural productivity to develop policy recommendations, engage in economic development efforts that will improve the performance of rural regions and by extension our country as a whole.
The Green Party of Nigeria on whose platform Hon Folorunsho Perkins Ojeaga contests the Senate has everything put in place to address these problems which keep coming like a recurring decimal. His wealth of experience I am sure will help immeasurably to assess the real prosperity of our rural populace, taking into account the differences in cost levels across our land, analyzing the linkages between rural and metropolitan regions and their impact on economic performance.
With the above-mentioned serving as a guiding light, there is no denying the fact that Edo Central Senatorial zone will do much better to salvage our region which has suffered decades of failed and visionless leadership.
I say yet again that with Hon. Folorunsho Perkins Ojeaga, a highly competent hand in the Senate the current status quo will change for good.
Edo Central Senatorial Zone will bring together the relevant stakeholders – industry, academia, governments – to collaborate in the development of a shared economic strategy for the pauperized Esan people in the north-central parts of Edo State.
I make bold to say here based on the assurances I have gotten that Edo Central Senatorial district under Hon Ojeaga will identify key strengths, challenges, and new strategic directions, develop organizing structures to implement proposed strategies with specific action steps and metrics to uplift the economic and social welfare of our people.
His ability to identify competitive structures of rural regions with insights on improving innovation and economic competitiveness is not in dispute. In his capacity as a better policymaker, I am supremely confident that his tenure in the Senate will support rural regions not only in Edo Central but across the country in their efforts to develop and implement effective strategies for raising prosperity.
What our senatorial zone urgently stands in need of under the existing circumstances is nothing short of a long-term strategy that develops additional engines of growth. To do this, there is every compelling need to reinvigorate the business environment our land has to offer to become a magnet for entrepreneurs, to develop a vibrant, well-connected community that would turn our agrarian communities to a nexus of a variety of firms which will in no small measure impact on the economic lives of our people.
In one of my discussions with His Excellency, Hon Folorunsho Ojeaga, he did say he will do everything humanly possible while in the Senate to kick start a mechanism that will allow for education and training programmes, upgrade the quality of workforce training and development programmes so that these become a competitive advantage for our agrarian economy, ensure investment in high-quality infrastructure, educational facilities, expand access to residential and commercial real estate, upgrade communication capabilities, and improve transportation infrastructure, support collaboration programmes, regional cluster activation, build networking organizations and assist in addressing funding needs.
As if that would not be enough, he did say his presence in the Senate would also support entrepreneurship and innovation, create a premier location for innovation by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation from local residents and attracting aspiring entrepreneurs from outside Esan land.
All in all, I have no doubt whatsoever that Hon Folorunsho’s presence in the Senate will mark the dawn of a new era and a secured commitment to the future of our people who have groaned and writhed in excruciating pains from years of visionless leadership and neglect.
Honourable Folorunsho Perkins Ojeaga, doubtless, is not only an ultimate positive driver but a game changer by all standards, of whom the totality of the broad spectrum of our people urgently stands in need.
*Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, political, public affair analyst, and public commentator on national and global issues wrote from Turin, Italy.