The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Phillip Shaibu, on Thursday, affirmed their commitment to the continued development of the state and the protection of the common interest of the people.
Specifically, Mr Obaseki said he will explore the state’s huge potentials by growing its digital economy to pave the way for a digital government before 2025.
He made these promises shortly after he was administered the oath of office for another four years by the Chief Judge of Edo State, Esther Edigin, at a colourful ceremony held at the Tennis Court section of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Two security officials including Mr Obaseki’s aide-de-camp collapsed at the event.
The colourful event, which was held in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols, had in attendance, Ifeanyi Okowa, Aminu Tambuwal, and Douye Diri – governors of Delta, Sokoto, and Bayelsa respectively – while Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State was represented by his deputy, Ipalibo Harry.
Others include the vice-chairperson of the Peoples Democratic Party South-South, Dan Orbih; Chief of Staff to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mike Ogiadomhe; a former PDP governorship aspirant, Ken Imansuagbon; and Edobor Iyamu, a senior aide in the office of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented the vice-president.
Mr Obaseki said, “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 can help us 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).
“This social contract between the 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”.
“Before 2025, Edo State will develop and grow its digital economy and operate a digital government. The digital government we are building will plug into the new digital age and would ensure we deliver better and efficient services to all our citizens.
“In realising our vision as reflected in the MEGA manifesto, we will focus on the following priorities areas; grow our social sector by constantly improving our education, healthcare system, provision of social security and safety nets, caring for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged in our state.
“Rapidly develop our critical energy, housing, digital, and road Infrastructure, which provides a framework to drive inclusive growth.
“Build the economy and drive Industrialisation, trade, and Investment, to solidify our state’s status as the choice investment destination in the country.”
Mr Obaseki said his re-election represented a new hope for the people of the state, adding that the period would be the time to heal.
“What you, my dear people of Edo State, achieved with the September 19 governorship election is the restoration of confidence in democracy and its institutions, and we have become a point of reference on how the will of the people can triumph in a democracy that functions properly.”
“My re-election represents a new hope and I see myself as a vessel in the redefinition of democracy in Nigeria and I am not unaware that this places enormous responsibility on me.
“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 challenging 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 in 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),” Mr Obaseki said.
Meghan Alleges Royal Racism, Says She Contemplated Suicide
Prince Harry’s wife Meghan Markle on Sunday said she contemplated taking her own life after joining the royal family, and raised allegations of racism in the monarchy during an explosive television interview.
Explaining the couple’s dramatic exit from royal life, Meghan said she was denied help during her mental health crisis, was targeted by lies, and that there was official concern about the skin color of her unborn son.
Meghan, whose father is white and mother is Black, spoke out in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that immediately became one of the most extraordinary chapters in recent royal history and was set to rock the British institution.
“I… just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she told Winfrey, describing the impact of a torrent of vitriol from hostile tabloids and social media.
Asked if she had had suicidal thoughts while pregnant, Meghan replied “Yes. This was very, very clear.”
Recalling how she felt at the time, she said that “I’m scared, because this is very real.”
Meghan, 39, also told of royal “concerns” about “how dark” her son’s skin would be, saying Harry revealed to her official conversations over Archie’s appearance, as well as the security he would be entitled to, ahead of his birth on May 6, 2019.
– ‘How dark his skin might be’ –
“In those months when I was pregnant… we have in tandem the conversation of ‘he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan said.
“That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him,” she said.
After the couple’s surprise decision to move to North America, the former television actress has been portrayed in some British newspapers as headstrong, calculating and spoiled, and the couple reckless and selfish for quitting royal life.
The two-hour interview with the queen of US television was the biggest royal tell-all since Harry’s mother princess Diana detailed her crumbling marriage to his father Prince Charles in 1995.
Harry, 36, revealed the deep divisions within his family, saying he felt “really let down” by how his father had handled the situation.
But he also said Charles — the heir to the throne — and Harry’s older brother William were “trapped” by the conventions of the monarchy.
“They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that,” he said.
Winfrey reportedly sold the interview to US broadcaster CBS for $7-9 million, and retained international rights to the footage, which will feed an appetite of interest about Britain’s centuries-old monarchy — and their troubles — across the globe.
Royal fans were offered a treat when the couple revealed the gender of their second child. “It’s a girl!” Harry and Meghan chimed in tandem.
But it was a rare light-hearted moment in the drawn-out interview — and viewers who tuned in to see if the pair had scores to settle with Buckingham Palace were likely left shocked at how far they went.
– Knives out –
Taking aim squarely at senior royals, Markle flatly denied reports — feasted on by the gossip press — that she made Prince William’s wife Kate cry before her wedding to Harry, saying the reality was the opposite.
“Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true,” Meghan told Winfrey.
“The reverse happened,” Meghan added, saying that Kate “was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized.”
“A few days before the wedding, she was upset about something pertaining — yes, the issue was correct — about flower girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings.”
Meghan called the claims “the beginning of a real character assassination” and “a turning point” in her relations with the royal family.
“I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” she said.
Ahead of Sunday’s broadcast, it emerged Meghan was facing an investigation into claims that she bullied royal household staff — a revelation seen as a counter-offensive in a bitter battle for public support.
Last month, when Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple would not return to their senior roles, it said they would not “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”
Harry said the pair, who have secured lucrative deals with Netflix and other streaming services, had to find a way to make money as “my family literally cut me off financially.”
“I’m sad that what’s happened has happened, but… we did everything that we could to make it work,” he said as the interview wrapped up.
Afterwards, tennis star Serena Williams hailed her “selfless” friend Meghan and said on Instagram that “her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced.”
The Sunday Times reported Queen Elizabeth II, 94, would not be watching the program and quoted unnamed courtiers as calling the situation a “circus.”
Bandits Attack Military Base in Katsina, Soldiers Feared
An unspecified number of soldiers are feared killed in an attack on a military outpost in Marina, Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State.
It is not clear the casualties suffered on either side, but some soldiers were feared killed.
The soldiers were said to be returning from an operation in a nearby forest when they were ambushed.
A resident of the area, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told DailyTrust, “Unknown to the soldiers, the bandits had laid an ambush in their outpost. The bandits opened fire immediately the soldiers returned to the posts.
“It is unfortunate because the soldiers were just returning from another operation, where they made tremendous success, combing the forests for the bandits, only to be waylaid in their base,” he said.
Another resident, however, said two of the bandits were killed during the gun duel.
Attempts to confirm the incident from the military or the police authorities proved abortive.
Matawalle Accuses Jangebe School Watchman of Complicity in Schoolgirls’ Abduction
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has fingered the watchman of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, where about 300 students were abducted last week, of being complicit in the incident.
He also said repentant bandits held talks with their unrepentant counterparts and were able to secure the release of the schoolgirls.
Matawalle spoke on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
The governor had said Nigerians will be shocked if they know the identities of those behind the mass abduction.
When asked to reveal the identities of masterminds of the abduction, Matawalle said, “The security agents in the state are aware that when we were trying to rescue these children without paying ransom, other people were behind talking to them that money will be given to them that they shouldn’t release them to the state government.
“This is a complete sabotage for my government and we have a lot of intelligence on this and I am going to inform the relevant authorities.
“The children have mentioned the watchman of the school, that after releasing them, the bandits were telling them that they should greet the watchman for them, they even mentioned his name that he was the one who gave them the go-ahead to come, he was involved.
“They (the schoolgirls) have said this before the commissioner of police in Zamfara State.
“I assure Nigerians that investigation will be carried out and all the people involved will be known.”