By Samuel Eguaikhide
In 2007, labour man, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole approached the court with the claim that he won the state governorship election held in April, that year. After going through the evidence of the petitioner and the respondent, the courts, Tribunal and Appeal Court, agreed with him and declared him winner of the election. He was subsequently sworn in as Governor on November 12, 2008.
Seven years down the line, the questions are asked: what has Oshiomhole done with the two-term mandate the people gave him; how well has he performed in seven years?
To properly answer these and many other questions which are mostly asked by people outside the state, those who are not privileged to witness, firsthand, what the Governor is doing with the taxpayers’ money, there’s the need to take a cursory look at state of Edo State as the Comrade Governor met it in November 2008.
When Comrade Oshiomhole took the reins of governance in Edo in 2008, Edo was in a parlous state: roads were bad and impassable as deep gullies littered all the roads in the state; schools were in shambolic state as most schools looked like chicken coops rather than study centres; hospitals were only existent in name only as the biggest hospital in the state, in th heart of the capital, the Central hospital was a relic of the colonial age. In fact, infrastructure in the state were at various levels of rot and decay.
Before Oshiomhole came on board, the story in the state was that of pain, agony, disillusionment, despair and disappointment occasioned by decades of criminal neglect, marginalization and deceit by previous administrations.
Now seven years down the line, the Edo Story is different and the fortunes of the state has been turned around by the man who has taken it upon himself to return the state to its pride of place among its peers in the country.
The success story is felt and seen in all parts of the state, from Benin City the state capital to Damgbala in Akoko Edo; from Ozalla in Owan West to Ewohinmi in Esan South-East. From school projects to road projects, to health projects, to water projects, to rural electrification, the list is endless.
In fact, the Governor’s magic wand has touched all the 192 wards that make Edo State have in terms of one project or the other. No single ward is left out!
The road projects undertaken and completed in Benin City, the state capital in seven years makes one wonder if there were tarred roads in the city before his coming.
From the flagship 6-lane Airport road complete with side drains and walkways, with underground drains which in some parts are over five-metres deep and two metres wide, adorned with street lights and greens to the equally beautiful six-lane Akpakpava and Sapele roads which have the same specifications in terms of design and aesthetics as the Airport road, the Oshiomhole government signaled a clear intention to develop Benin City into one of Nigeria’s finest cities.
Other road projects were also completed in Benin City which have completely transformed the capital city. Among these are the Gani Fawehinmi Layout comprising six roads complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; Oba Market road complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; stadium road, complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; Sokponba road, complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; 2nd West Road complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; six-lane Sapele Road, complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; Upper Siluko road complete with covered drains, walkways and street lights; Six-lane New Lagos road; completed street lights at Upper Soponba; completed street lights at Ramat Park-Agbor road; Oro street, Uwa lane, 3rd cemetery, Iheya, Five Junction and other adjoining streets, all completed with covered drains, walkways and street lights. Also, the King’s Square in the heart of Benin City sits proudly with a beautiful musical tune and a water fountain which glows in different colours.
A number of Primary and Secondary schools across the seven local governments and wards in Edo South have also been refurbished and reconstructed.
Now standing tall on Sapele road is the new 200-bed Central Hospital close to completion and commissioning.
For passersby, the hospital can easily be mistaken for a 5-star hotel due to the beauty and quality of the structure.
In Edo central, Ekpoma and Iruekpen which have been without water for over 25 years due to the rocky and low level of the water table now boast of potable water as boreholes have been sunk in both places with the Dando drilling rigs purchased by the Government. Also installed at the two sites are water treatment plants to make further purify the water. Both projects have been completed and the people of Iruekpen and Ekpoma now enjoy potable water. However, other places in Edo Central now boast of potable water which they have lacked for years.
On roads, the Isua-Uzenema road is completed with side drains; the Igueben-Udo road, Igueben-Ewohinmi-Ewatto-Ohordua road; the Amedokhian-Ugboha road; the Irrua-Usugbenu-Ugbegun-Ujogba, is also completed. So many have also been completed including Ewu Junior Secondary School; St John Bosco, Ubiaja; Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua, Ibhedu Primary School, Ohordua, Okaigben Primary School, Ewohinmi and Eguare Primary School, Ekpoma, Our Lady of Lourdes, Uromi; Our Savior Primary School, Iruekpen. All these schools, roads and water projects are in addition to the rural electrification projects in many communities in the area.
The new General Hospital at Ewohinmi has also been completed and commissioned.
In Edo North, many of the road projects are completed and commissioned. These are Ewan-Ojirami-Makeke-Dangbala-Lampese road; Otuo-Ihievbe-Ogben road, Ayua-Jattu road completed with side drain; Iyamoh-Iyora road, completed with side drain and a bridge; Auchi-Jattu-Afashio-Ikabigbo-Ogio road complete with street lights; Apana-Jattu road, completed with side drain; Ayogwiri-Apana-Igodo-Okpekpe road; Ikabigbo-Jattu road completed; Jattu-Ibie road; Ivioghe-Igiode-Uzanu; Ekperi-Anegbete road with bridge.
In Edo, the red roof revolution, is a common denominator in almost every village in the state. This simply means the revolution in the rebuilding of the public schools which were left to rot for years.
Now, having done well in seven years by laying a strong foundation for the government which will take over from him on November 12, 2016, the Comrade Governor has decided to raise the bar on governance in Edo and his next big dream is to “Finish well” by completing all ongoing projects across the state and ensure that his administration which had a great beginning also has a great end.
*Samuel Eguaikhide writes from Ekpoma