Billionaire businessman and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote at the weekend urged the newly sworn-in Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to replicate the leadership template of former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to transform Edo and make it a reference point for commerce and development.
Dangote, who spoke at the inaugural dinner held in Benin to usher in the new Governor, said Tinubu laid a solid foundation for development of Lagos which his successors keyed into and even scaled up to bring about massive transformation and development.
He said just like Tinubu, former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has also placed Edo on sound footing for development urging the new Governor to also follow the path of continuity for progress.
The businessman, who said he had lived in Lagos for about thirty seven years, said Lagos had indeed progressed following the leadership template of the former Governor.
On his part, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode urged the new Edo Governor to properly plan his policies and programmes and carefully implement them with the view to building on the solid foundation laid by the Comrade Oshiomhole.
He specifically admonished Obaseki to properly think, plan and implement his policies.
While emphasizing that there is a great wall of difference between electioneering and actual governance, as well as between being a member of a team and leading a team, Governor Ambode said it was important for Obaseki to prepare his mind for backlash from people who would want him to be in a hurry to take decisions, but that he must be ready to meticulously plan and implement policies that would be in the interest of the people.
Governor Ambode, who was the Chairman, APC National Campaign Committee for the Edo Governorship election, said Obaseki being a financial savvy individual and an intellectual, would perform creditably well, adding that such was part of the reasons why he worked for his victory at the polls.
“But I like to borrow you (Obaseki) the Lagos template. What is it that the people of Edo State will be expecting from you? You are likely to be silent for the very first few weeks and they will say you are not performing but you have to think it, plant it and then you act it. That is the Lagos template.
“So, obviously you could be quite for the first few weeks, but I want to implore all the people of Edo State to bear with him during the period of the thinking process. When you are an outsider and you come inside, the kind of financial numbers that you get or the kind of dynamics that you see, they are not like what you were doing when you were campaigning. So, obviously it allows you to draw back and then think through the process, plan it and then act it and gain your momentum.
“The important thing is that you must stay focused and I assure you, you can never get it wrong,” Governor Ambode counseled.
Besides, Governor Ambode expressed optimism that Obaseki and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu would make a good team and build on the solid footing laid by Comrade Oshiomhole, thereby transforming Edo to another Lagos, adding that he would be ever ready to support the new government.
While recalling the campaign that brought in the new government, Governor Ambode said he was particularly happy that Edo is on the path of continuity of good governance, but urged Obaseki and Shaibu to be prepared for the tough journey ahead.
According to the Governor, “After the primary election, we started the campaign; we went into the election proper; we won and here tonight, we are having an inaugural ball for Governor Obaseki and so all our efforts were not in vain. To the glory of God, we have the continuity that we have always wanted for Edo State.
“I remember during the campaigns, we promised that we would like to make Edo State to be like Lagos State and from what I see here tonight, I believe strongly that Edo is the heart beat of Nigeria. Yes, Lagos is the centre of excellence, but we can make Edo the heart beat of this great nation and the historical linkage between Lagos and Edo is what I cherish a lot,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier, Obaseki appreciated all the people that worked for his victory at the poll, especially Governor Ambode, and promised not to let them down.
He said Edo had always copied the template upon which Lagos is being administered, assuring that he would work assiduously to make the State great.