Text of the “Palliative” Broadcast by Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, On Thursday January 19, 2012

Carte de l'état nigérian d'Edo

Edo state

My dear people of Edo State,

In view of the increase in the price of petrol by the Federal Government and the consequential rise in the cost of living, it has become necessary for my Administration to take some crucial measures to cushion the effect on the people of Edo State.

Having followed the debate on the issue of subsidy removal, it is clear to me that the major problem is that the public does not trust that the proceeds will be utilized judiciously.

However, I assure you that in Edo State, this will not be the case. We are determined to ensure that the pains arising from the partial removal of subsidy translate to concrete gains for the generality of our people.

I am convinced that the process of rebuilding this trust between the government and the governed requires that we take concrete, visible and measurable steps aimed at creatively using the accruing revenue to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number of our people in the shortest possible time.

Therefore, although we have not yet ascertained the precise accrual to Edo State from the Federation Accounts as a result of the reduction in the subsidy on petrol, I am conscious of the need for immediate measures to alleviate the effects of the consequential escalation in the cost of living.

Accordingly, we have structured a programme to creatively and judiciously distribute the revenue gains to the generality of Edo People through the following policy measures:

FREE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

My Administration has abolished all fees and levies, including PTA levies, in all public senior secondary schools for both indigenes and residents. We will in addition sustain our existing policy of absolutely free and compulsory education at the primary and junior secondary school levels.

I expect that this new universal free primary and secondary education will benefit the generality of our people.

REDUCTION OF FEES AT THE AMBROSE ALI UNIVERSITY

I have directed the authorities of the Ambrose Ali University to reduce tuition fees payable by each student by N15,000 for regular undergraduate students irrespective of state of origin. In the same vein, I have directed a N5,000 reduction in fees payable by each part-time undergraduate student.

The total value of this reduction will be paid to the University by the Edo State Government en bloc in addition to the current N210 monthly subvention. This effectively means that the AAU will not suffer any loss of revenue.

FREE MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR PENSIONERS AND SENIOR CITIZENS OF AGE 70 AND ABOVE.

In addition to our existing free ante-natal care and delivery and the free treatment for children under the Age of 5, I have decided to introduce free medical treatment for pensioners and senior citizens, indigenes and non-indigenes who are resident in Edo State, who are 70 years and above in all State Government hospitals.

In addition, we have concluded plans for free eye test and free eye glasses for those aged 60 and above in public hospitals.

EDO CITY TRANSPORT SERVICE

Similarly, I have directed the Edo City Transport Services to maintain and not increase the current bus fares.

I have also directed the company to introduce a 50% subsidy on transport fares for public and private primary school pupils and secondary school students in uniform to and from school. This will take effect from the 1st of February
2012, by which time all the ticketing details would have been worked out.

In addition, we have concluded arrangements to double the Comrade Bus Service fleet by acquiring more buses.

CONCLUSION
I wish to again express appreciation to the people of Edo State for their unflinching trust, understanding and support, especially during the challenging events of the past two weeks. In particular, I am deeply gratified by the appreciation of my position and role in the resolution of the crisis arising from the subsidy reduction.

For me, there are no easy solutions to the problems that confront our nation. However, to meet the multi-facetted challenges of good governance, I believe that leaders at all levels need to set aside personal political calculations in the larger interest of the polity.

Therefore, whereas it was convenient for me at this point to exploit the current issue to orchestrate my political interests, especially as elections are around the corner, the overriding interest of our country was utmost in my mind.

Finally, as I have always argued, our problems as a people are not insurmountable. Through constructive dialogue, critical citizen engagement, activism and contestations as well as collective reflection on policy options, which the events of the last two weeks represent, I am convinced that we can improve the quality and pace of development in
Nigeria.

I wish to reassure the people of Edo State of this Administration’s continuous determination to sustain and intensify the tempo of development, as well as improve the quality of lives of our people through our investments in education, roads, health, environmental renewal, water, agriculture and other areas.

May God bless you all.

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