A leading governorship aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Asue Ighodalo, has said he wants to succeed Governor Godwin Obaseki on November 12 this year, to build on his administration’s solid foundation.
Ighodalo, a Lagos-based lawyer, accompanied by his wife, Ifeyinwa, spoke yesterday at Edo State secretariat of PDP on Airport Road, Benin, during his official declaration to vie during the September 21, 2024 governorship election.
The declaration was witnessed by many leaders of PDP, including Chief Tom Ikimi, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi (Edo Chairman of PDP) and several governorship aspirants from Ighodalo’s Edo Central Senatorial District, who stepped down for him, among other top politicians.
The renowned lawyer said: “Beyond my corporate and non-governmental experience, I have been actively engaged with Edo State for the last 16 years. During the administration of former Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, I served in the Economic Team, providing insights and inputs on the development of key government policies, programmes and initiatives, leading to reforms implemented by the then government.
“Under the leadership of our current governor, Godwin Obaseki, I also served as chairman of Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd, a private sector think-tank that has over the last seven years organised the annual Alaghodaro Summit in this state, and made recommendations that have contributed to attracting substantial investments to Edo State, over the last seven years.
“In the past, I advised our leaders on how to resolve some of the problems. Today, I am here to ask you for the opportunity to act – beyond giving advice – to deliver real solutions that can unleash the promise of a new future for all of us. As governor, by the grace of God, my mission will be to create an Edo where quality education is accessible to all, where hard work is rewarded and where our talented youths can turn their dreams and aspirations into reality. I believe in the promise of an Edo where every person, regardless of their start in life, can write their own story of success, if we take the right steps, together.
“My policies as governor – if you will give me your mandate – will be focused on unlocking this promise, for all of us, in key areas. My ultimate objective is to lead a government that eliminates deprivation in all its forms, and to make Edo the best place to live and work in Nigeria. Our economic policies will uplift the poor, support the hard-working men and women of this state, and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. No part of Edo will be left behind.”
The frontline governorship aspirant, who is an alumnus of University of Ibadan (UI), and hails from Ewohimi in Esan Southeast Local Government, said Edo people’s collective hope for a better future was within their reach.
He said: “My background, spanning the public and private sectors, has shaped my understanding of the systemic challenges our people face in Nigeria today. And through the work of my foundation, the Jeremiah and Folayegbe Ighodalo Foundation, I understand, at a deeply human level, the everyday struggles of our people just to make ends meet, to provide for their families, and to give their children a better life than they have had. These are the yearnings that fuel my commitment to serve Edo State with my whole being.”
“We have all that is needed to make our state a mesmerising destination for progress and wealth. Across each administrative district, in Edo North, Edo Central and Edo South, we will create practical and focused economic development teams that will harness each area’s unique potential to create wealth for all our people.
“I believe strongly that education is the gateway to opportunity. So, we will continue to invest in education as a priority, from primary schools to secondary and tertiary institutions – throughout the state. We will ensure that our educational system becomes a beacon of hope and ladder to opportunities. We will make Edo State’s educational system our key to ending generational poverty, for good, in our great state.
“If, by the grace of God and the will of the people of Edo State, I am given the opportunity to serve, I intend to be the chief welfare officer of the state, providing good and affordable health care, decent living conditions and basic food security for all our people. We will also tackle insecurity in all of its forms. While an improved economy will reduce some types of insecurity, we will work doggedly to stamp out the more stubborn forms of insecurity that continue to deprive our people of their lives and property.”
Ighodalo said his personal experience, local and international networks and decades of negotiating, fundraising and project finance experience were part of what he would bring to bear to achieve his administration’s goals.