The score-card of the man who prefers the simple title of Comrade Governor or Mr. Governor to the more fanciful and elegant ‘Executive Governor’, is a matter of intense debate among the people of the three senatorial districts in the State. The question now is: How has Comrade Oshiomhole fared in the last 1,829 days as the man administering the fortunes of EdoState?
What is not in doubt in EdoState is that Comrade Oshiomhole has performed excellently, but what the people argue about is how the projects are distributed. While some say he has concentrated more in Edo South, some argue that most of the projects are in Edo Central, while the rest insist that Edo North enjoys more government patronage. The debates still rage even as I write this. However, the fact is that no part of the state enjoys more patronage than the other as projects are evenly and equitably distributed.
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.
On assumption of office on November 12, 2008, Comrade Oshiomhole, fresh from being the Labour Leader Number 1, made a pledge to the people of the state that the decay of the past years would be reversed. Today, the promises have been fulfilled and the people now see that government can really work for the people.
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 up EdoState 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 five years make one wonder if there were tarred roads in the city before his coming.
From the flagship six-lane Airport Road which has now been completed with side drains and walkways, with underground drains which in some parts are over five-metres deep and two metres wide, complete with street lights and greens to the equally beautiful six-lane Akpakpava Road which has the same accoutrements as the Airport Road, the Oshiomhole government signaled a clear intention to develop Benin City into one of Nigeria’s most modern cities.
However, there are other road projects completed in Benin City which have completely transformed the face of the capital city. Among these are the Gani Fawhinmi 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.
After a little setback, work on the 120-bed hospital complex at the CentralHospital has recommenced and the people are eagerly looking forward to its completion.
The N25 billion water storm masterplan which is aimed to deflood the state capital is ongoing, and even in the first phase, the promise of what it can do is already being felt.
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 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.
The schools completed are EwuJuniorSecondary School; St John Bosco, Ubiaja; AnnunciationCatholicCollege, Irrua, IbheduPrimary School, Ohordua, OkaigbenPrimary School, Ewohinmi and EguarePrimary School, Ekpoma. The ongoing schools projects are 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 Women and ChildrenHospital at Ewohinmi has also been completed and awaiting commissioning.
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.
Oshiomhole has done well in five years, he has performed creditably and no doubt the people are happy.
Mr SAMUEL EGUAIKHIDE, a university don, wrote from Ekpoma, Edo State