15 November 2017

Nigeria: Edo Govt, PDP Trade Words Over Investment Summit

Benin City — The People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has picked holes in the three- day investment summit organised by the state government, describing it as a jamboree tactically designed to call together friends and business associates of the governor to dine and wine in appreciation to their various contributions and support during last year governorship election in the state.

The party said the exercise which gulped millions of dollars was not done with the intention of adding any economic value to the state, but to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Obaseki and his friends.

The party also said the APC led government has failed in the area of health care provision, agriculture, education, and other infrastructural development such as good roads in the past one year.

Governor Godwin Obaseki organised a three-day investment summit tagged "Alaghodaro" which in Benin language means moving forward.

Addressing journalists in Benin City, yesterday, Edo PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih said, "in the past one year Governor Obaseki has been behaving as if he is still campaigning. I will do this, I will partner with you; not knowing that the days of campaigns are over and face the business of governing the state".

The Edo PDP boss also said he was disappointed that over a year ago, the then administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole built a modern hospital at the Central Hospital which was commissioned by President Muhammad Buhari, adding that since then, the place has remained a ghost of itself.

According to him, " The only activity recorded by the hospital was the day I rushed a patient to the hospital and discovered it was an empty place after the billions of Naira spent to build it. It is a shame that one year after, APC-led Obaseki, and eight years of Oshiomhole could not make the hospital functional.

"The picture is getting clearer that it is not only about PDP, but the APC eight years of Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki one year of nothing. Roads have gone from bad to worse. The state capital can no longer be accessed from Edo Central and Edo North except you passed through Agbor in Delta State or Ifon in Ondo State because Obaseki considered the Auchi-Benin road that passes through Ekpoma, a federal road

Orbiih who questioned the rationale behind Edo Government abandoning critical federal roads in the state when Delta, a neighbouring state just fixed eight federal roads in the state because of their importance to movement of people in and out of the state.

The Edo PDP chairman also accused the Obaseki" s government of increasing the debt profile of the state, by $34.05 million, stating that in the past one year, the foreign debt of Edo State has increased from $179.9 million to $215.95 million when Oshiomhole was governor.

He pointed out that the debt rose to such an alarming figure because Obaseki has surpassed his predecessor in globetrotting in the guise of attracting investors to the state amidst insecurity, alleging that figures from the Debt Management Office (DMO), indicated that apart from Lagos State, Edo is the most indebted state in Nigeria..

"In the past one year, Obaseki has embarked on more foreign trips than his predecessor who spent eight years. He has travelled to China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, America, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil amongst others without any economic value to the state. "I advise that he should spend more time at home to face the business of governance because governance is a serious busines ", Orbih stated, alleging that the Obaseki-led government has concluded plans to sell off state assets like the Bendel Publishing Company, publishers of the Observer titles; as well as the Edo Broadcasting Corporation (EBS) like he did with Edo Line and others just to inflict pain and sufferings on the people he swore to provide for their welfare.

According to him, "All Obaseki has been doing in the past one year is talk shows. How can you attract investors without security? On daily basis you hear stories of kidnapping and armed robbery. People are no longer safe. So why spent money on talk shows when you cannot provide adequate security in the state. I advise people to tighten their belt because there is no way this government will make things better in the state. People should only hope and pray."

Against this backdrop, Orbih announced the donation of 200 mobile shelters to Edo State Transport Management Agency (EDSTMA) to enable them do effective traffic control as according to him, since the agency came into operation, 60 to 70 per cent of its staff have been suffering from malaria due to the excruciating effect of the sun.

Reacting to the PDP's criticism, the Edo State Government in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said Edo PDP is still stuck in primitive, archaic and medieval style of governance, adding that after the summit, the state has since moved on.

"The Governor Obaseki-led administration is forward looking and has since moved on with result-oriented governance, backed by millions of discerning Edo people," Osagie, has said.

: "The (PDP) again has demonstrated its lack of capacity to appreciate the new direction the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is taking the state, with the opposition party's consistent embarrassing comments on the well thought-out programmes of the All Progressives Congress (APC)."

He noted that the very few people still left in the ragtag drowning PDP have shown that they are stuck with their medieval and archaic approach to governance, by attempting to tarnish the rising profile the state has earned with her lofty programmes, especially the Alaghodaro Investment Summit.

"We wish that the PDP remnant will follow their former members who have evolved from stomach-seeking politics, have come to terms with the new people-oriented governance and have found a place in the APC. It is not surprising that to see that the feeble PDP remnants cannot see the benefits of an investment summit that assembled over 5,000 business leaders from across the world in Edo State to discuss the opportunities that abound in our state."

According to the governor's spokesman, "these are companies that are investing billions of dollars in Edo State, including the chief executives of BUA Group whose $1billion 3million tonnes cement plant was inaugurated by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, recently in Okpella, the President of Dangote Group, that is kicking off a $1 billion cement factory in Okpella, to expand its cement production in Nigeria, Mahindra Group that is collaborating with the Edo State Government to build the N200billion Benin Industrial Park and Tolaram Group to mention a few."

He added that the PDP is wallowing in ignorance because "You cannot give what you do not have. The PDP clearly lacks the capacity to see the opportunities in the governor's investment drive because of his profile as an investment banker. His expertise is currently on display at the Edo Chemical and Fertiliser Company which was a drainpipe for the PDP to siphon state funds, but is now up and running and producing fertiliser to Edo farmers and Nigerians at large."

He expressed sympathy with the PDP ignorance and said that "our governor is open to sharing his ideas and knowledge and is particularly willing to teach the remnant PDP members, what it takes to deliver measurable, concrete and verifiable investments from business trips, unlike their widely reported globetrotting that pauperised our people when they held sway."

Osagie stressed that "It is rather unfortunate that the same PDP, which is the cause of all the mess that the APC government has been clearing in the past nine years in the state, is now begging the question by providing shelter for officials of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA)."

He further said "we have received the shelter without thanks to them because we know that the funds used in procuring those items are a fraction of our common patrimony which they plundered with reckless abandon. A dignifying act would be to bring back the looted billions so that the APC can fast-track the development of the state.

"The PDP has always been known to thrive through the misrepresentation of facts and the telling of outright lies. But Edo people are much more sophisticated than the PDP and know that their claims of the state's indebtedness are all lies and should be discountenanced."

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