Date Published: 07/06/10
Worrisome State of Edo State under Governor Adams Oshiomhole, by Dan Osi Orbih
Being excerpts of the text of a press conference by Chief Dan Osi Orbih, Chairman, Edo State PDP, on Friday 26th June, 2010.
Gentlemen of the Press,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this press briefing on recent happenings in the administration of the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomole, bordering on constitutional breaches, nepotism and corruption.
To begin with, the all-knowing Governor Adams Oshiomole does not allow public scrutiny of most of his contracts by way of advertising them let alone follow due process in their awards. And in the case of road projects, he cleverly avoids stating their distances confirming our suspicion that the contracts, which in many cases are not captured in the budgets, are grossly over-invoiced and in some instances, phantom.
For instance, the Adams Oshiomole administration claims to have spent N2.7 billion on Auchi erosion control. Gentlemen of the Press, we wonder if there are two erosion sites in Auchi because as we speak, not a single trip of sand has been tipped on the said erosion site.
I challenge Governor Adams Oshiomole to point to any project he initiated, undertook and has commissioned since he assumed office, including his own village Iyhamo.
You may recall that the State Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Clement Agba had in a recent briefing to members of the State House of Assembly claimed that over N4 billion was spent on the design of erosion control in Benin City and its environs, and another N250 million for de-silting the drains. Interestingly, this N4 billion design project and the N250 million de-silting contract which were never advertised still found their ways into the bill of quantity (BOQ) for roads under construction. Governor Oshiomole would do Edo taxpayers a world of good to explain this duplication of contracts.
On the 11th of August, 2009, ostensibly to increase access to potable water, Governor Adams Oshiomhole awarded a contract for the supply of Two (2) brand new Dando Watertec 24 Mobile borehole drilling rigs with complete accessories to his in-law’s company, Source-EM Global Services for nearly N372 million. 17 days later, precisely on 28th August, 2009, the Edo State government handed this company N226, 530, 890 vide payment voucher Head 455, sub-head 5 (PV No. 2), representing 70 per cent of the total contract sum. According to the contract, the supply was to be made three months from the date mobilization fees were paid.
Gentlemen of the Press, close to one year after N226 million was paid the Governor’s in-law, the contractor has neither delivered the rig nor refunded the money; well, unless the two newly painted Dando Tec rigs now stationed in Government House, Benin are the same ones the Governor ordered.
While, for instance, there are no budgetary provisions for the Anegbete-Eperi and Ewohimi-Igueben roads, the Benin Ring Road- Ogba Bridge, Benin Ring Road-Oba Market-Siluko Roads, on the other hand, are grossly over-inflated.
We invite Professors of Economics and Mathematics to come up with theories that would help us understand the road contracts awarded by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, which ought to have entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive road projects in the world. Take the 8-kilometre Airport Road being handled by Servetec Nig. Ltd, for instance. This project which includes drains, street lights, dividers and side walkway has cost Edo taxpayers a whopping N4.8 billion or an outrageous average of N600 million per kilometre. More scandalous is the Road-Oba Market Road-Siluko Road by Textile Mill Road junction awarded Hitech Ltd. Stretching a mere 3.2 kilometres, Oshiomhole is happy to part with N2.8 billion or N875 million per kilometer for the job.
Now, it is public knowledge that the East-West (Warri-Port Harcourt road) dual carriageway completes with street lights, drainage and road dividers being handled by Setraco Nig. Ltd. on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Works cost an average of N125 million per kilometer. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) pays an average of N80 million per kilometer for single carriageway in the swamps of the Niger Delta. Why is Oshiomhole paying ten times more than the Federal Government and NDDC for roads on less difficult terrains?
Governor Adams Oshiomole used to blab about Edo State being one big construction site. Not anymore. Contractors are leaving in their droves because the state government cannot honour the certificates they generate. They are being persuaded to leave their equipment behind, and this is gradually turning Edo State into one big site for abandoned projects.
Gentlemen of the Press, need we talk about the doom which the Oshiomhole administration has unleashed on our education system? Why did the lecturers of our flagship school, Ambrose Alli University (AAU) down tools the other day? Why has no school recorded any infrastructural development months after Governor Oshiomhole illegally reconstituted SUBEB? Of the 36 states and FCT, why was in only Edo State that NECO suspended its examinations? For sure, so many things are amiss.
We in Edo PDP believe that Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s commitment to improving health care must have caught the attention of the Nigerian Medical Council, and as a responsible organization, the council has promptly responded by withdrawing the housemanship accreditation to the Specialist Central Hospital, Benin City.
Your colleagues must have been appalled in no small measure by a recent incident they witnessed at Government Hospital, Agenebode, which captures the situation of health care in the entire Edo state under Oshiomhole. They had interviewed a certain Mrs. Mary Alugbe who was full of praises for the hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Monday Obawonyi for successfully operating on her at night with the aid of a torchlight! Mrs. Alugbe should thank her stars that Dr. Obawonyi was on hand and had a functioning torch. He is one of the only two doctors willing to brave the odds four others having fled in the face of poor conditions of service worsened by incessant raids by political thugs-cum bandits who have backhand support of the state government. Only one of the 14 nurses agreed to stay back.
We cannot end this briefing without drawing attention to the illegality being brewed in the State House of Assembly by some misguided members of Action Congress with the state government providing the ingredients. Recall that the House of Assembly was adjourned at their last sitting by Rt. Hon. Zakawanu Garuba sometime this year. Recently some AC members met at the instance of one Bright Omokhodion and pronounced the seats of six (6) PDP members vacant, a most laughable move fuelled by ignorance. The matter of the Edo State House of Assembly is before a court of competent jurisdiction. To therefore purport to take any decision on behalf of the same House is not only illegal but a nullity.
The threat to the peace during the recent touchdown of our the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in Benin airport en route Delta State confirmed our long-held belief on Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s love for political violence. It is no longer news that he sustains and maintains an army of thugs with taxpayers’ funds. Imagine the recent embarrassment Oshiomhole caused himself following a leaked memo from the office of his Chief of Staff ordering the management of the state newspaper, Nigerian Observer, to publish a full back page colour advert on behalf of “Edo Authentic PDP” (whatever that means) welcoming Mr. President. This obviously was with the intention of creating the false impression that there are factions in Edo PDP, what with the army of placards’ wielding thugs at the airport. This is how low Oshiomhole would stoop to fight PDP. If he is interested in re-joining PDP as he is certain to, he should be man enough to admit. He should not resort to worn-out monkey tricks of sowing scrawny seeds of discord in our great party which, in any case, are certain to die.
We wish to assure the teeming supporters of our great party that we shall be undaunted and remain focused in the face of this unwarranted provocation, and continue to pursue our cause for a truly liberated Edo state.
Thank you for your time.