Focus On Women Behind Governor Godwin Obaseki Success Story


Jun 19, 2024

By Mercy Onyenweli

As posited by a popular Television Host, Tian Wei, “Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity of its women is highly disadvantaged.” For the People of Edo State, women have never had it so good as it is presently under Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The Governor of Edo State is one of the Governor’s in Nigeria who have maximized potentials of women. His administration has been able to change the narrative as women are seen heading major agencies that have contributed immensely to his eight years success story.

His strong belief in women’s creative ability is demonstrated by the level of freedom provided for the Office of the First Lady, Betsy Obaseki to function. As the First Lady of Edo State, Betsy Obaseki has changed the narrative of the office from a ceremonial position to a functional and vibrant office.

This could be seen from her love for Sports that raised the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament ( BOWFT). This football club has been able to redirect the energy of young vibrant Edo girls to sporting activities, thereby helping them to realize their creative potentials.

Working hard in line with the Governor’s mandate to boost the ego of Edo women and girl child, Betsy Obaseki has maximized all opportunities trying to see how women and the girl child could be empowered to contribute their quota in the scheme of development.

Betsy Obaseki has not just only motivated and inspired women in Sports but has also shown strong commitment in the fight against Gender-Base Violence. Her desire to see women flourish, both in soul and in body has contributed to the establishment of a robust Gender-Based Violence Committee and the creation of a-State –of –the Art Sexual Assault Referral.

This milestone has also helped to remind men that as head of homes, it is not a ticket to abuse women because the consequences are weighty .Women and girl-child in Edo State have continued to experience tremendous transformation through skills acquisition and mentoring at the various Centres created by the Governor, Godwin Obaseki’s administration. Some of these centres are burdened to train the girl-child and prepare them for leadership positions. This, Betsy Obaseki has consistently stood out for , using every opportunity to inspire and encourage competent and enlightened women to actively participate in elective positions to enable them bring to bear their God given talent in lasting development.

Taking a look at the Transport Sector in Edo State, it is very glaring that a lot has been achieved by Governor Godwin Obaseki. The Transport Sector which is a major driver of the social economic development of the state is led by a beautiful , humble, easygoing but very sophisticated woman. Dr Edugie Agbonlahor, a diligent and intelligent woman whose passion for her Job knows no limit.

Edo State Transport Authority was established in 2018 but commenced operations in November, 2022. Dr. Agbonlahor has been able to revolutionize the transport system in Edo State despite its many challenges of organizing the informal sector.

Historically, transportation initiatives in the state prioritize road network expansion and capital expenditure over comprehensive sector planning , neglecting holistic approaches. To address urban transport challenges, recognizing the imperative to change this narrative, His Excellency, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki approved a need assessment to be carried out in 2017 under the supervision of Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor, who was then the Managing Director of Edo City Transport Ltd, (ECTS).

The major outcome of the need assessment report was the re-organization and re-branding of Edo State Traffic Management, the construction of the ultra modern Central Bus Terminal at Obakhavbaye as a pilot model for transit infrastructure enhancement and the establishment law of Edo State Transport Authority 2018.

In November 2022, Edo State Transport Authority commenced operations with Mrs. Edugie Agbonlahor as the Pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, to spear-head the regulation, planning and implementation of Public transport initiative in the state. To enhance inclusiveness and collaborative efforts, Mrs. Agbonlahor , with the approval of the Governor, immediately constituted the first ever inclusive transport think-tank in the state,otherwise, known as the “Edo State Transport Working Group” made up of representatives from the 18 Local Government Councils of the state, Edo State Traffic Management and Control Agency (EDSTMA), Edo City Transport Ltd, (ECTS), and Edo State Transport Authority being the co-ordinating agency.

The priority project of the Authority, which is ongoing, such as to develop a comprehensive transport master plan that will guide the development and integration of all modes of transportation in the state (air, rail, road, water and non motorized projects) from date to year 2040.

However, within the two years of its operation, the Transport Authority under Mrs. Agbonlahor’s leadership, the agency has commenced rehabilitation of junctions within the state, procurement of environmental friendly and high capacity buses for the state-owned transport organization, introduction of intelligence transport systems in public transportation and the procurement of 40-seater water buses to commence water transportation in the state, others include the construction of automated vehicle inspection and drivers theory testing centres (CPPP) in the 18 Local Government Councils under a Public-Private Partnership, the profiling and issuance of security code stickers to over 8,000 commercial vehicles, drafting of regulation to guide intra-city bus operations, amongst others.

Finally, most worthy of note, is the compassionate intervention transport policy of the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki to offer free rides to all commuters in the State- owned buses in response to the economic challenges faced by the citizens as a result of removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

This free bus ride which commenced on September, 11, 2023 has been adjudged the most effective and impactful intervention in addressing the fuel subsidy removal by any state government across the country.

The Edo State Transport sector is not complete without mentioning the ever vibrant, dogged and passionate, Mrs Hauwa Dupe Ohikhuai is the Face of the efficient and re-branded Edo City Transport Service.

Mrs Hauwa Dupe Ohikhuai undoubtedly is one of the most prominent and beloved women in Edo State today. Her leadership in Edo State Transport Services, (ECTS) in local language, has thrust her into the public spot light.

Dupe Hauwa’s aura, as well as her sterling performance, even when not much was expected from her by some male chauvinists, has significantly increased the public ratings of ECTS in recent times.

Established in May 1999, ECTS was created as a response to the need for affordable transport services to compete with existing private transport companies.

Over the years, ECTS has succeeded in building on the success story of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the transport sector. It has undergone massive turn-around, especially in the areas of coverage and range of service it provides to the Edo traveling public. It is worth mentioning also that the transport outfit has not departed from its core mandate of providing world-class transport services to the Edo people in style and comfort.

Over the years, ECTS has become the preferred choice of travelers in Edo. Management has continued to strengthen itself, enabling it to withstand the economic challenges faced by the country .It is also important to note that ECTS has remained committed to its core mission of providing affordable, high quality transportation services to the people of Edo State. The arrival of Mrs. Dupe Hauwa has allowed the company to expand its coverage area and the range of services.

As the new leader, ECTS is experiencing a transformation through her active administrative prowes, addressing the company’s challenges. Her primary goal appears to be stabilizing ECTS and ensuring that it becomes financially sustainable, as profit was not the primary motivation behind its establishment.

The ECTS has demonstrated remarkable versatility and adaptability under the leadership of Mrs. Hauwa. Today, the outfit is solely responsible for implementing the state government’s policy of providing free ride to Edo citizens across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.

Over 1.5 million citizens have benefited from the free rides which were initiated by the State Government to protect them from the adverse effects of the Federal Government’s removal of fuel subsidies.

Edo State is known as the sporting Mecca of Nigeria. The state has produced sportsmen and women who have done the state and country proud in various sporting fields .Given the high stakes of sports involvement by its citizenry, they are willing to go the extra mile in supporting their favourite teams and this is where the ECTS has capitalized on the power of supporting sports fans with free transportation to Samuel Ogbemudia’s Stadium to win the hearts and souls of Edo people, thereby making the administration of Godwin Obaseki very popular.

On the day of any major sporting event, especially football, the ECTS busses provides free transport buses to transport fans to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin city.

The transport outfit also renders free rides for school children on uniform and for all transport service interventions. ECTS is the preferred choice for charter services with low accident rates.

Hauwa’s penchant for new frontiers is also evident in the decision of the ECTS management to recruit and train female drivers and mechanics.

This is not only forward looking but also gender sensitive. The workforces of tomorrow that Hauwa is building are proving their mettle in the field.

In the Education sector, Godwin Obaseki led administration has indeed re-branded mode of teaching and learning in Edo State through the wisdom and expertise of another great woman, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe. As the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Dr Joan Oviawe came on board in 2018 taking major steps in re-positioning the Ministry of Education and addressing the rot that bedeviled the sector before her appointment.

Dr. Oviawe, a seasoned educationist and master strategist on resumption of office, has put on her thinking cap. adopted a holistic approach to place education in the front burner.

In 2018 ,the transformative programme, EdoBest was introduced to ensure that every Edo child has access to qualitative education through EdoBest has provided improved teaching skills for teachers and their students, created conducive atmosphere in schools, fostered teachers-learners relationship and trained teachers with modern technology output, basic education, while the Junior and Senior Secondary Schools were also strengthened through the strategic efforts and visionary focus of Dr. Oviawe.

Stakeholders in the Education sector unanimously submitted and agreed without ambiguity that the appointment of Dr. Joan Oviawe as the Honourable Commissioner for Education was the road map to develop Educational pediagogy and revitalized the dwindling fortunes of education in Edo State.

In 2022, Edo Best was also introduced which focused on the training of teachers with 1,446 teachers trained in the use of modern technology. The unbundling of the entire Ministry Agencies into directorate, for effective co-ordination and supervision of primary, basic, junior and senior secondary schools, as well as tertiary institutions, were the brain child of Dr. Joan Oviawe, today. We have the Directorate of Educational Quality and Accountability in charge of private schools headed by Dr. Roseline Okosun.

Over 12,000 books were distributed to government-owned primary and secondary schools in the state as recommended by the Commissioner. There are 848 public schools running on Edo Best while 11,000 computers and tablets were distributed to students and teachers to enhance their technology drive. A total of 365 Edo State teachers were recruited and trained for onward distribution to schools. Teacher’s Management Information System was established to enhance training, promotion, discipline and effective management of teachers.

Championing the construction of Education hub to house all agencies in the Education ecosystem at the former Ministry of Education premises at Iyaro led the Consula General of China to donate tablets to students of Imaguero College and Edo State Polytechnic Usen. Her proactive sense of duty made her to organize the Nine Lessons and Carols for all the Ministries in Edo State which was attended by the Governor.

By the time Governor Godwin Obaseki leaves office, his impact on governance will be evident to all, even to those who are not observant.



He has made significant improvements in various aspects of Edo State.
Governor Obaseki has shown great skill in identifying problems and taking proactive measures to address them.

One of the noticeable changes is Governor Obaseki’s direct approach to reforming the state bureaucracy, particularly in land administration. To streamline the land administration process, he has been keen on recruiting talented individuals capable of solving problems

One notable figure is Mrs. Grace Aihie Osaro, who was appointed as the Head of the Edo Geographical Information Services (EdoGIS). Her arrival has brought about a transformation in land administration in Edo State.

Previously, land matters were plagued by various malpractices. It was a breeding ground for unscrupulous individuals.

The process of acquiring or inquiring about land or property was arduous, and government-acquired lands did not deter fraudsters from selling and re-selling them to the highest bidders.

The principle of “caveat emptor” was often disregarded. Buyers would construct buildings, claiming ignorance, only for those buildings to be demolished later on.

EdoGIS has come to the rescue of land and property developers in the state. With just a click, all the information about lands or property can be accessed. Acquiring a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which used to be a lengthy process involving substantial sums of money changing hands, is now a thing of the past. One can now obtain a C of O swiftly without having to engage in corrupt practices.

Furthermore, data on Edo lands are readily available upon request. The system has been restructured and is now functioning efficiently, thanks to Grace Osaro’s exceptional touch.

Her appointment in 2022 signaled the beginning of reforms and the restoration of hope.

A summary of her accomplishments are as follows:
Reduction in the cost of processing of Certificate of Occupancy

* Introduction of E-payment digital receipt, increased digitalization, improved customer services and introduction of effective workflow

*Successfully completed digitization of old files into database.

*Secured database of files, quick service delivery.

*Scanning and indexing of files and documents in land and survey. State maps produced, State forestry maps produced.
*Collaborated with other MDAs on enumeration exercise of the State through the data to MEGA initiative in 2021.

*Storage of data that MDA can access for use, first time of having storage data.

*Enforcing the policy that permitted only Estate Surveyors and Valuers to carry out property valuation for compensation purposes.

*Redefining the land use charge bills to integrate a scan code to enhance location and distribution.

*Easy identification of properties.

*Over 280, 761 properties enumerated, provision and deployment of Q-GIS and for data collection with over 8.2billon naira generated.

*Strengthening the online presence of the office, making it convenient for people to register their properties from the comfort of their homes and anywhere in the world.

*Deepening the issuance of C of O by taking the registration process to the various communities as against them visiting the head office for C of O registration.

*Registration of layout after approval by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development.

On the target of the Academy over the next decade? She has this to say: As a pioneer Managing Director, the first thing I want to see happen is to have a law establishing this academy. We have a draft bill towards the law and we expect by the next quarter, around April , it should have gone through the Governor to cabinet members and then the House of Assembly.

Another thing is capacity, if you look at our size, at full capacity, we can only handle 1,000 people taking training at the same time. We have a work force of over 30,000 people, and it means that we are already space constrained. So, we want to be able to expand in five years so that we can cater for more people and other sub-nationals, we want people to come from elsewhere to learn in Edo.

Governor Godwin Obaseki has never minced words on how he wants to leave behind a re-branded Civil Service in Edo State. He has provided infrastructures such as erecting new buildings, refurbishishing old ones where necessary to create a friendly working environment for workers in the state. To enhance the output of Civil Servants, he had created a Public Service Academy where they can receive training and re-training.
To achieve its desired results, he appointed a young, vibrant Edo woman, Dr. Precious Imuwahen Ajoonu to head John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy.
Appointment of Dr. Imuwahen no doubt, has proven that Governor Godwin Obaseki has made the right choice by appointing her as the General Manager of JOOPSA.This centre under the leadership of Imuwahen has trained over 7,000 Civil Servants in the state with the necessary skills to provide effective services.
Despite being faced with the constraints of space, JOOPSA manages to train at least 1,000 people at a stretch but hopes to expand due to increasing number of trainees who are yearning to receive training in to positions of their careers in Public Service.
Taking a Look at the way things are going, the academy may soon be admitting people from other states and sub nationals for training.
A lot has been achieved since the creation of JOOPSA in 2023 through implementation support, continuous improvement, recruitment and unboarding of new staff.
JOOPSA strategic partnership with leading global organizations like ALX, Nexford and UNIcaf has significantly contributed to the expansion of several courses being offered in the academy.. It has created a wider range of programmes, catering for diverse needs and interests through the power of partnership. But it doesn’t stop there. The partners bring a wealth of experience to the table, ensuring the quality of education received remains unparalleled.

In 2024, through this collaboration, over 10,000 civil and public servants as well as Edo residents were trained for free. Additionally over 2,000 civil and public servants were equipped with the knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, completely free of charge. Expanding the online course catalog is another dimension JOOPSA has focus to bring to bear its expertise.

All these outstanding Edo Women have not just proven their worth but have shown that women can do more if given the enabling environment and the platform to thrive. Based on these their sterling contributions to the administration of Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, it is imperative for the incoming government that will succeed the present administration to create more space for women to function in key positions.

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