N16b Refund From Oshiomhole’s Prodigious Usage On Federal Roads Belonged To Edo State

...Setting matters in proper perspective

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While it is controvertible and seemingly unreasonable to defend the allocation of N16b for the fixing and maintenance of federal roads in Edo State by the Adams Oshiomhole-led administration, it could, however, be stated that the era of oil boom when state governors of the federation had easy access to funds to spread around at their whims and caprices, is gone.

The new reality where states have to generate their own funds with little or no federal allocation, would hardly permit governors in the country to embark on federal projects with the hope of getting a refund; at least, not amidst the plethora of needs in a state, where the governors have to draw scale of preferences in order to prioritize the manner in which those needs should be met.

Besides, the federal government had stated in clear terms, that those days of political philanthropy were over, noting that any state that undertakes the rehabilitation of federal roads, does so at their own financial burden, as no refund would be made. The issue of federal roads in Edo is even so peculiar, as the federal government had warned the state not to embark on any palliative measure, as contracts of rehabilitation have already been awarded on such roads, even though anything is yet to be done unto this day.

The recent diatribe against Governor Godwin Obaseki on the issue of federal roads in the state is merely born out of either crass ignorance on the true state of things or sheer disinformation campaign by the opposition to pith the people against the one government which truly promotes their interest. Though, Edo people know better and would not fall prey to such obsolete tactics.

Moreso, the one thing the traducers of the state government have failed to clarify is to inform their gullible followers that the refunded N16b was the state’s money and not for any individual. It just so happened that at the time of refund, Governor Godwin Obaseki happened to have been at the seat of governance.

If that money was earlier spent on building a decent school of nursing, instead of squandering it on federal roads which have become damaged so quickly, I am sure Obaseki would not have had to rebuild and restore the school beyond its former glory. Or probably, if Oshiomhole had spent it on the reconstruction and expansion of the Stella Obasanjo Hospital in order to improve healthcare and solve healthcare challenges in the state, Obaseki would not have had to embark on such a project.

Oshiomhole could have also spent it on a modern and state-of-the-art Civil Service Secretariat Complex like Obaseki has done, but instead, he squandered it on federal roads.

There are so many intervention areas which that sum could have fruitfully been allocated and Obaseki would not have needed to embark on such infrastructural interventions today; namely, Ekenwan Road reconstructing and rehabilitation, rehabilitation of the State High Court Complex, building of Industrial Court and Judges Quarters in the state, agricultural programmes for food sustainability and commercial profitability for both the people and the state, and a host of other interventions which the Obaseki administration has embarked on.

But no, it was federal roads that interested him, because it was easier for many a coin to visit private pockets through that means. No wonder Oshiomhole left a debt burden of N160b for the Obaseki administration; a debt that Governor Obaseki has been paying and succeeded in reducing drastically.

Oshiomhole’s prodigious behaviour is akin to that of a man who pays the rent and school fees of his mistress’ children while his wife and kids are denied basic amenities at home. As at the time, Oshiomhole became that profligate with the state’s finances, Edo State had the numerous challenges above and more, which that fund could have been used for.

That is what the Obaseki administration has refused to do, as it prioritizes its resource distribution based on pressing demands by diverse socioeconomic sectors of the state. In terms of road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, there is yet a government that would surpass the Obaseki administration, as it was this that earned him the nickname “Wake and See Governor”. More roads are currently under reconstruction with others earmarked for rehabilitation. Obaseki has done more intra-state and inner-city roads than any previous Governor in the state.

The Edo State Government has therefore called on the federal government to take up their responsibility and fix damaged federal roads in the state. This is the right call and anyone in the business of progress should lend their voices to this call, as the state government, though it desperately wants to, is currently unable to embark on palliative measures on these roads due to federal laws.

There are evidences pointing to the fact that these contracts have been awarded and paid for by the federal government, yet Edo people are not seeing the results. We must now join hands with Governor Godwin Obaseki to demand that the right thing be done with regard to the rehabilitation of these roads in the state.

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