Edo Elders Consultative Forum said Thursday that the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State to investigate the construction of the Edo Specialist Hospital is a "political witch-hunt" intended to deter political opponents in the state.
Rising from an expanded meeting in the state capital, Benin city yesterday, the forum stated in a press statement signed by the group's President General, Rev. Matthew Asemota and Secretary-General retired Colonel Johnbull Omo-Ojo, that, "the composition of the commission included a blood relation of Governor Obaseki and key member of his kitchen cabinet, Professor Emmanuel Obaseki."
They added that the commission of enquiry failed to invite "either the former governor, Mr. Adams Oshiohmole or any member of his administration," claiming that the report was "one-sided, lacking moral base, inconclusive and dead on arrival."
The forum called on the government to put energy towards building institutions and robust procurement laws while pursuing how to complete the Edo hospital for the good of the people, since the hospital was conceived to benefit them.
While condemning what it called "unnecessary political fight between the Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole", it urged the state government to channel its resources into equipping the Edo hospital project.
"Every year since 2016, the state government has consistently allocated millions of naira to complete the already commissioned project. What happened to all that allocations in the budget? Why weaving politics around a people-oriented Edo hospital project, four years after it was erected?
"As head of the economic team, we wondered how Governor Obaseki planned to exonerate himself from the guilt of the previous administration. One of his main campaign jingle four years ago was that he, Obaseki was the arrowhead of all Oshiomhole's programmes, including the construction of the Edo hospital, and promised to continue with his predecessor's projects.
"One of them should be the completion of this hospital. Governor Obaseki has been in office since 2016 and should have instigated enquiries long ago if the intentions were sincere and not politically motivated", the forum stated.
The statement explained that the "best time to talk about a hospital is not a good time to talk about a commission of enquiry", saying the APC government under Governor Obaseki should face the blame and shame of an incomplete hospital project, which if functional would have provided greater mileage in the health of its citizens at this auspicious time of Covid-19 pandemic.
The forum added, "Stella Obasanjo hospital in Benin City built by former Lucky Igbinedion has become the saving grace for Edo people especially at this time of the fight against COVID-19 disease. The hospital remains a legacy of the former PDP governor while Oshiomhole of APC built the said Edo hospital. Governor Obaseki should be concerned with the legacy that will be attached to his name when he leaves office than anything else."