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I‘II reverse Akoko-Edo’s underdevelopment if elected governor—Asue Ighodalo, PDP candidate

Ighodalo hinted that some missionary schools may be returned to their original owners to free the government from the resources voted for such schools and ensure adequate funding management by the new owners.

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Worried by the neglect and deprivation that the Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo State has suffered, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the forthcoming election, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, has promised to address Akoko-Edo’s marginalization in terms of development.

If elected, he stated that his administration would prioritize security, infrastructure, and industrialization, particularly in Akoko-Edo, as its marginalization has become the central theme of his campaign.

Ighodalo made the commitment at the second stakeholders’ interactive session with the governorship candidates, christened the “Meet the Candidates” series, which is a platform for candidates seeking elective offices to lay out their plans for Akoko-Edo LGA.

It was hosted by the Akoko-Edo Development Association (also known as Akoko-Edo Forum), according to a statement by Barr. (Mrs.) Mary Opii on behalf of AEDA given to Persecondnews.

Ighodalo’s profile and achievements in the private sector show that he was a member of Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s economic team and later, current Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Alegodaro economic team.

Stakeholders highlighted a number of instances of the area’s marginalization, such as the LGA’s undivided status since 1962, the lack of higher education institutions and infrastructure, the discrepancy in appointments, and the fact that the LGA has only produced three judges since the state’s founding.

Responding, Ighodalo said: “I agree that Akoko-Edo has been treated unfairly, and I will address it under my watch. I will bend over backward to ensure no part of the state is left behind. I will make the creation of LCDA from the present LGA happen; take this as a promise that must be done under my watch.”

He pointed out the constitutional challenges of creating a new LGA, but said that he would look at Lagos State’s model and those that have found creative ways to address LGA creation using LCDAs (local council development areas).

He added: “We will work with the State Assembly to sort this out,” but he said he is not unmindful of the likelihood of other parts of the state agitating when the issue of Akoko-Edo LCDA creation comes up. He was reminded that Akoko-Edo is a peculiar case that cannot be compared with other parts of the state.

“In my first anniversary as governor, Akoko-Edo will have (i) a functional university, (ii) the LGA will be fully represented at the highest level by running an inclusive government, (iii) he will put in place a constructive way to create LCDAs from the current LGA while being an advocate for Akoko-Edo, and (iv) specific attention will be given to providing quality teachers to schools.’’

He also announced that the breaking of ground for a University of Mining and Geosciences will be done in the next few weeks, and he will make sure the school kicks off without delay if elected.

Ighodalo hinted that some missionary schools may be returned to their original owners to free the government from the resources voted for such schools and ensure adequate funding management by the new owners.

According to him, EDOBEST will be improved upon and spread across the state.

The candidate was reminded that the LGA lacks any functional government hospital and that there is only one medical doctor in the General Hospital at Igarra.

On how he will achieve his lofty plans for Akoko-Edo and the rest of the state, Ighodalo said his government will build “trust in governance” that will help in accessing funds readily available around the world for developmental projects; these funds have low interest rates and favorable repayment plans.

“These projects will lead to economic activities with a cascading impact. Take it that I will create an enabling and friendly environment for businesses to thrive in urban and rural areas. The era of multiple taxations will soon be over because my team will create a one-stop tax processing program.”

On power, Ighodalo announced plans to establish three power generation centres in each senatorial zone to reduce the challenges associated with transmission and distribution.

“I know for sure that Akoko-Edo is rich in mineral resources and has fantastic tourist sites in Somorika, Ososo, Igarra, Ojah, and many more that will be pivotal to the industrialization agenda for the area.”

He compared the topography of this area to the tourist sites in South Africa and Spain that he will use to create economic activity in the areas.

“To attract tourists to those areas, security is critical. I know that Akoko-Edo people, who are very proud of their area, making an impact nationally and globally, and are highly industrious, are very concerned about the rife insecurity in that part of the state that has affected every aspect of life there.’’

He noted the unique security challenges faced by Akoko-Edo people as the local government shares boundaries with Ondo and Kogi States, as well as Owan East and Etsako West LGAs, and spoke of his plan to adequately fund and equip state security outfits to curb the menace of criminal marauders preventing people from moving about freely.

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