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Edo will witness significant changes when I’m elected governor – Ohiowele

As the countdown to the 2024 off-season governorship election in Edo State continues , concerted efforts have been revved up across the top political parties…

As the countdown to the 2024 off-season governorship election in Edo State continues , concerted efforts have been revved up across the top political parties to present formidable candidates with genuine plans for the state. In this interview, Dr. Ehizojie Imafidon Ohiowele, who is a governorship aspirant of the Labour Party, narrates his trajectory so far and why he desires to be flagbearer of party in his bid to offer selfless service to Edo people as Governor.

What informed your pursuit of advanced education in renowned universities, and could you share the institutions you attended?

My personal aspiration has always been to contribute to nation building. Therefore, I felt that I had to get a global perspective from top universities in the world in order to equip myself with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to be an effective leader and advocate for my constituents. After I bagged my first degree at the University of Benin, I have attended the following foreign renowned universities in my quest for more knowledge: Harvard Business School, Boston, USA. (Alumnus), Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK (Alumnus), International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland (Alumnus) ,INSEAD University, France. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA, Cardiff University, Wales, UK (Alumnus), University of Azteca, Mexico (Alumnus), International School of Management, Paris, France. (Alumnus)

Do you hold a Ph.D., and if so, is it an honorary degree or one earned through study?

I hold a Ph.D. in Business administration from the University of Azteca, Mexico and I was also bestowed with an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) specializing in Banking & Finance from the London Graduate School in England, UK.

We’ve heard Peter Obi was your classmate at Harvard. Does this imply his support, or have you received an endorsement from him? 

Ans: I was privileged to meet and spend some time with H.E. Mr. Peter Obi at the University of Oxford. As you very well know, he is a core proponent of the rule of law and the will of the people. He will never endorse a candidate prior to the primaries. However, he will work closely with anyone that emerges as the party’s flagbearer. I was present at the airport to welcome him to our great state as a governorship aspirant.

You’ve excelled in banking and recently co-founded a fintech company. Considering your success, what drives your decision to seek the role of governor in Edo State

Indeed, you are correct. Further to my personal mission to drive change in our nation, I recently co-founded a fintech company duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria that makes financial services more accessible, affordable and fulfilling for the unbanked, under banked & banked in the communities we serve by giving them a better alternative to traditional finance as we leverage technology and data.

My decision to aspire to the role of governor is twofold. Firstly, it is in response to various calls by my constituents to serve the state and I decided to accede based on my high sense of duty. Secondly, my decision is also motivated by a passion to drive change and a genuine desire to serve the Edo people. I have the leadership qualities, skills, and vision needed to lead our dear state and make a positive impact in the lives of the Edo people. I have a track record of successful leadership in other roles and will apply my expertise to the governance of the state. I will leverage my background in business to promote economic growth and job creation in the state amongst other development initiatives.

Why Governorship of Edo State

My passion for service and desire to bring about substantive improvements within the state drive me to seek this position. Edo State has both unique opportunities and challenges that require strong and focused leadership. With no prior baggage of political office, I bring a fresh, untainted perspective to governance. I am not encumbered by traditional constraints and can introduce innovative solutions that will make real and lasting difference. It is important to reiterate that the governor’s office holds the capacity to effect significant change which is my goal.

Outside of politics, I have held leadership roles that equipped me with the requisite tactical and strategic capabilities necessary for high-office governance. These real-life experiences, coupled with my awareness of the state’s issues, position me favorably for the Governorship. Engaging with the citizens of Edo has revealed a common desire for fresh faces in our leadership, with new ideas unblemished by the usual political maneuverings.

This contest is not about personal ambition. I am responding to the overwhelming public call for change. It stems from a belief that the citizens of Edo deserve better, and I am prepared to offer them better, right from the top.

What are you going to do differently as the Governor of Edo State? 

I will provide leadership that is inspiring, progressive, and inclusive. A leadership that creates opportunities for all, regardless of tribe, religion, or political affiliation. A leadership that prioritizes education, healthcare, infrastructure, and the economy, ensuring the continued growth and development of our beloved state. I will do this by:

Engaging in community outreach to understand the concerns and aspirations of the people.
Developing a comprehensive plan to address key issues such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and job creation.
Promoting transparency and accountability in governance to foster public trust.
Encouraging public-private partnerships to attract investment and spur economic growth.
Prioritizing youth empowerment and skills development through education and vocational training.
Promoting sustainable development and environmental conservation.
Establishing effective communication channels to keep citizens informed and engaged.

Ques: What are your expectations from the Edo people?

I expect the Edo people to be supportive and cooperative, demand accountability and transparency, be involved in governance and continue to keep the flame of hope for a better Edo state burning.

Ques: What’s you take with the state government embarking on repairs of federal roads, within Edo jurisdiction?

Ans: It is a welcome and necessary development. No responsible state government watches how the deplorable condition of our roads affects their people without intervening. I would like to see the state government undertake some of the repairs and reconstruction works, after which they can seek for a refund from the federal government. In addition, they should begin conversations with the private sector and the federal government with a view to forming a Public Private Partnership that will put paid to this constant debacle.

Edo state has one of the highest diasporans remitting hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions of dollars on a yearly basis- how are you going to harness this advantage to the economy of Edo state?

As at the last estimate, Edo state receives close to $6 billion annually from diasporans which truly positions our state as a major contributor to diasporan remittance pot in Nigeria. The key to harnessing the advantage we have as a state in this area is centered around building trust, ensuring transparency, and maintaining consistent communication with our citizens all over the world.

As the Governor of Edo state, I will engage with the diaspora in several productive ways to boost remittance. My administration will organize diaspora events like conferences, workshops, or cultural celebrations to engage with Edo citizens abroad. During these events, we will highlight the potential opportunities and benefits of investing in Edo state. We will promote local businesses and projects that diaspora members can invest in. This will include sectors such as real estate, agriculture, technology, and manufacturing.

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