The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured that no worker in the state will be sacked as a result of ongoing reforms to reposition the civil service for optimal performance and efficient service delivery.

Obaseki gave the assurance during an interactive session with civil servants who are undergoing training at the John Odigie Oyegun Civil Service Training Academy in Benin City, Edo State capital.

The governor noted that the ongoing reform is aimed at strengthening and retooling the civil service, bestowing the workers with tools and skills that stand them out so as to ensure efficiency, productivity and drive sustainable development.

He reassured that no civil servant will lose their job but rather they will be trained and introduced to technology to enable them deliver efficient services to Edo people and contribute their quota to the development of the state.

According to him, “The priority of my administration is re-tooling the Civil Service with the aim of strengthening it to deliver efficient services. If you want government policies to succeed, you must strengthen the people and institutions that have the constitutional responsibility to ensure the delivery of those services.

“We are undertaking reforms to make the public and civil service of the state to be one of the strongest, if not in the sub-continent but in Nigeria.

“We are training our civil servants to enable them to do their job well. We need to bring in more people into the civil service and make sure that they are clear on what they will be doing when hired.”

Obaseki continued: “Government can’t deliver services to its people if the civil servants who are supposed to help the government are not properly trained. These facilities have been built and people brought in to train our workers, making them understand what their challenges are and redesign the system to make it work better”.

“The training will be a continuous one, exposing civil servants to technology and bringing in more people into the service.

“The average age in our civil service is about 45 years. We need to bring in younger people to reduce that because in the next five to seven years, 50 per cent of the people in the service will be retiring and we don’t want to wait till then to bring in these people. Let’s bring in younger people now, who the older workers will pass on some of the experience to”.

On her part, Chairman, Edo State Civil Service Commission, Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, thanked the governor for institutional reforms in the civil service as well as the prompt payment of salaries, which she said, “has become a motivating factor for Edo State Government workers.”

She said the state’s civil service is aging, with many of the workers cropped in the middle and at the top levels, noting, “this is as a result of people exiting through natural processes like death, retirement and upward mobility with no corresponding recruitment over the years.”

“Even if we recruit 1,000 persons to level 8, it will take some time before they mature and grow. We are robbing minds with the governor on how to fill some of these positions.”

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday said that the era of buying government contracts is over in the state, noting that his administration would create a transparent and open contracting system to ensure those who can add value participate in project execution.

Obaseki disclosed this while addressing a group of contractors under the aegis of Edo State Indigenous Contractors Forum, who were on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin City.

According to him, “We guarantee you continuity for you so you can build your businesses. I want to thank you for your kind words and for identifying with what we stand for.

“Clearly, we were not aware of the criticisms that followed our choice of giving work to those who have the capacity to work; you bid for contracts directly with the state and you will get your contracts.

“You don’t have to buy contracts from anybody unlike what obtained in the past. I am glad that you could identify that the phenomenon of godfatherism in politics is what created an impediment for people like you to prosper in your businesses.

“Before now, you had to go through godfathers to get contracts, even if you had competences to do the job.

“That way, you are not able to optimize the value of your investments. I saw the challenge and I resolved that we must break that pattern. I want to thank you for your support in changing the political paradigm.

“That system cannot continue in Edo; we will advertise jobs, as we have always done and those who are qualified will be given the work and contracts directly. We will be going through a verification process of all our indigenous contractors to make sure that they are real contractors and that they have invested in their real businesses.”

He continued: “We will not give contracts to those business names anymore. If you are contractor, you must have your offices and you must have made some real investment in your business. We want to verify all of you to know that you have the capacity to carry out the work and not that you will go and sell it to another person.

“The reason why we are doing this is not farfetched; we want to build a class of local contractors who have the capacity to grow our contracting businesses in Edo.

“There is nothing foreign contractors are doing that you cannot do; the only difference is that they have more investment in their businesses. They are able to buy more equipment and hire more qualified professionals. That is the advantage they have over us.”

Earlier, Acting Chairman of the group, Mr. Henry Okpamen, said that they are proud to be associated with the governor’s rare quality of governance and promised to join his dynamic team in ensuring that his second term is successful.

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… unveils plan for entertainment hub

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has reiterated his administration’s commitment to repositioning the state-owned newspaper, the Nigerian Observer to meet national and international standards.

Obaseki disclosed this on Thursday after inspecting the newly acquired printing press machine at the newspaper’s head office in Benin City.

According to the governor, “You can see that the press machine has now been installed and we are awaiting another one. What we are hoping is to revitalize the state-owned Nigeria Observer Newspaper.

“But more importantly, the plan is to make this place a printing hub for the state. We will ensure that we are able to get constant electricity in this place in the next few days. The State Government Press and the House of Assembly Press will be efficiently run from this place.

“We are also looking at the possibility of setting up another production center here, but in this case, that will support entertainment.”

Obaseki further noted: “Entertainment is a related industry, so this is essentially part of trying to get more young people employed particularly as it relates to the entertainment industry with the cooperation that we are having with the German Government, through GIZ.

“We are hoping that by the first quarter of next year the entertainment hub here would have started, which will be supported by the printing and publishing business.

“This center is going to be more of a production facility because of the constant electricity in the place, but the entertainment village will still have amenities for the entertainers and other participants in the entertainment business.”

“The entertainment village occupies more hectares of land but they will be doing their mixing and post-production work at the Observer printing center,” he added.

The governor assured that all staff of the media outfit would be trained on technology and the use of the modern facilities, adding: “That is why we are having the training center to train people to cope with the new world but those who can’t cope, we will look for alternative engagements for them.”

The engineer in charge of the building work, Pekuric Limited, Mr. Cyril Okpeahior, noted: “We are rebuilding The Observer. We have built some houses where the main Printing Press will be housed. About two of the buildings are ready. The governor has asked us to take on some more buildings.”

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WARRI – Elder statesman and foremost labour unionist, Chief Frank Kokori, has lost his wife of 53 years, Mrs Esther Kokori.

Chief Kokori, a national chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on behalf of his family, officially announced the demise of his wife to journalists at his Ovu country home in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.

Chief Kokori, former secretary-general of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), while paying glowing tributes to his late hearthrobe, said, Mrs Esther Kokori, was as a strong pillar of democracy and a dogged fighter for the actualisation of the June 12 mandate.

“She was my backbone; very supportive to my struggle like Kudirat was to Abiola. She was holding meetings with late Gani Fewehinmi, Femi Falana, Beeko Kuti, Abraham Adesanya and other chieftains of NADECO, Afenifere, civil societies in my absence.

“She was a pillar of democracy during the struggle for the June 12 actualisation She was holding forte for me when late General Sanni Abacha kept me in prison at Bama, Borno State”.

According to Chief Kokori, late Mrs. Esther Kokori started work as a stenographer with the British Paint (now Berger Paints), before she ventured in to business and active unionism with her husband.

Reputed for her doggedness in activism, Mrs. Esther Kokori who hailed from Agbarho in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, died in Lagos on November 10, 2020 after a protracted illness at the age of 73. She left behind her husband, Chief Frank Kokori, five children and six grandchildren.

Meanwhile, sympathizers have continued to pay condolence visit to Chief Kokori .

Dignitaries mong the early callers to the Kokoris, was Deputy President of Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, last weekend, described late Mrs Kokori as a virtuous and forthright woman who was fully involved in democratic struggles behind her husband.

National President of NUPENG, Prince Williams Akporeha, who also led a team of his executive members to commiserate with Chief Kokori, described late Esther as “a time manager and mother of NUPENG” who’s ” remembered for all her struggles with Chief Kokori to emancipate oil and gas workers in the country.”

Her burial arrangements have been tentatively fixed for February ,2021.

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BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday said women will continue to be given priority in his administration, reassuring that the government will sustain reforms and policies to ensure a better deal for women in the state.

The governor also promised durable infrastructure, security and other incentives to ensure the influx of investors to boost economic activity so as to improve the livelihoods of the majority of Edo people.

Obaseki gave the assurance while addressing Edo women under the aegis, ‘Edo Diaspora Women for G.O.,’ who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.

According to the governor, “I want to formally express my most sincere gratitude to you all for your sacrifice and the commitment you took on yourselves as Edo citizens to join in defending democracy in our state and country.

“What does this victory mean? It means that democracy is being entrenched; that we have accepted that we have the power to determine who governs us.

“At least, Nigerians now know that when the people decide that this is the kind of government they want and mobilise and God blesses that effort, it will work.

“For me, it was not a deliberate plan; we were just fighting for what we believed was right. We never realised the power of our Diaspora. At one point, the country used to say you don’t stay at home but we put our foot down and worked with you people.

“Edo people, particularly the women, are the strongest and most resilient Africans, and one of the things we did was to remove the stigmatization and I am so glad.”

Obaseki continued: “We were able to stamp out trafficking or reduce it to the barest minimum within a four years period.

“And we have been able to restore the pride and dignity of Edo women. Talking about the Diaspora, I looked at a database some weeks ago, where one of the cement companies said Edo is now the third largest market for the consumption of cement in this country.”

“How did that come about? Money from our people in the Diaspora is really assisting in the development and reconstruction of our state. It tells us that if we can organise government properly that the funds required to transform Edo already exist among us particularly those in the Diaspora,” he added.

The governor said that the intellectual resources and the experience of the Edo Diaspora Women would further help to transform Edo, adding that his government would collaborate with them in the transformation process.

Earlier, founder of the group, Mrs. Adesuwa Obasohan, noted: “We are here today to congratulate you and appreciate the bold steps that you have taken on behalf of all Edo citizens. We know that there is a lot of work to be done.

“We also know that it wasn’t an easy journey. The journey continues and you need all hands on desk; we will support your administration to make Edo great again.”

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