For several years now, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State launched a campaign of calumny against the person of the Edo State comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. The PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih and his clique has no other business they do other than to deride the Comrade Governor on a daily basis. They do it in such a way that if a rat runs across their randy legs, they blame it on the Comrade Governor. When a cockroach trespasses their matrimonial beds, it is the Comrade Governor they blame it on. When they wake up from a terrible nightmare, ah! It is the Comrade Governor. They shout hoax at everything Edo State Government does and attempts in vain to castigate all achievements of Oshiomhole’s administration. His name just remains in their lips for evil words, yet Comrade Oshiomhole remains their leader, our leader because it is God almighty that maketh a leader.
He who goes to equity, must come with clean hands. Nemesis has caught up with Dan Orbih and his ilk in Edo PDP as only recently, President Goodluck Jonathan visited Benin City, the Edo State capital for his so-called presidential campaign. As has always been the tradition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State where they are unpopular, they contracted their youths to go all out to neighbouring states of Ondo, Delta, Kogi to rent crowd to fill the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium to give the visiting Mr. President, a false hope that Edo people filled the stadium to receive him.
As agreed in their contract terms, the youths were given specific number of persons to bring into the stadium and how much they would be paid. Over twenty youths and women organisations were hired to go all out to rent the crowd just as they did during the governorship election campaigns in 2012 that saw the re-election of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The PDP crowd at the stadium was unprecedented unknown to many that their crowd was always rented to deceive the President and Abuja PDP leaders from where they get their share of the booty which make them have protruding tummies like pregnant women.
It was not long in the day, the bubble burst. The youths they contracted to hire crowd for them got wind that Leaders of Edo PDP received N1.6billion for the presidential rally and disgusted that they were short-changed by the campaign committee and Edo PDP leaders, the youths in their hundreds barricaded the PDP secretariat and demanded their money or the empty skulls of the leaders if they fail to produce the money they got from President Jonathan. The youths were serious and they meant every word they spoke. Instead of addressing the concerns of the angry youths, Dan Orbih, and his Presidential Campaign officials took to their heels and ran for their precious lives.
Annoyingly, from their hideouts, the PDP fleeing leaders accused the comrade Governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as being the mastermind of their own youths attack. Is that possible anywhere in the world? The PDP leaders ought to have come clean, produce the loot they collected from President Jonathan and pay the youths their agreed fees for renting crowd for them. The Edo PDP must look elsewhere for its blame game because if you collect a loot and you are caught red handed, it is only fair that you pay those you used. It is obvious that Orbih and his co-travelers have been going to equity with filthy hands and all the noise he makes on television are all deceits after all as there is no amount of soap that can launder their image even before the youths of their party, let alone Edo people.
Now to prove the youths right and the leadership of Edo PDP wrong in this N1.6million saga, some top notchers of the PDP decamped to the APC before the presidential campaign and accused the leadership of looting the money meant for the campaign. After the so-called Presidential campaign, there have been massive defections from the PDP to the APC. There is certainly no smoke without fire. The PDP leaders should regurgitate what they have swallowed because, it is tax payers’ money, not meant to be stolen.
As we prepare for next general elections, the PDP is becoming more and more desperate. They are using all the money in the country’s reserve to fund their campaigns through all phony and dubious channels. As they waste the nation’s wealth in the on-going campaigns, they have forgotten that they announced austerity measures to Nigerians. To Jonathan and the PDP, austerity measures are for “them”, not for “ us”. Yet, they want to hang on to power as a matter of do or die.
Undoubtedly, critics of Edo State Comrade Governor may have their grouse against him but the truth must be told that since democracy berthed in 1999 in the country, Edo has not witnessed the level of monumental development it has achieved in the past six years of the Comrade Governor.
Previous administrations, both military and civilian took Edo people so much for a ride. The military and PDP administrations in Edo folded their hands and watched the state’s major infrastructures: roads, electricity, water supply and social services go down to sorry levels.
But thanks to God almighty who through his divine love for Edo people enthroned the government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The political leadership he is providing has transformed Benin from an abandoned ancient city to a modern city of the 21st century with the full complements of road networks adorned with street lights, walk ways and drainage, beautiful city centre with state of the art facilities and improved traffic monitoring systems that works.
The urban renewal project which cuts across all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State showing massive modern road networks with all the latest walkways , street lights, and flower lawns. Massive drainage projects of the Oshiomhole-led administration has helped to control flood and erosion menace that was almost going to submerge the whole city of Benin City and Auchi. The environmental sanitation situation has been energised and quite functional . The street cleaning and maintenance programme has also provided employment for thousands of Edo people. The Five Junction in Benin which used to be flooded and den of robbers is now a beautiful sight to behold. It is now a modern ring road, well asphalted with massive underground drainage, walk ways and street lights. Almost ten roads in the neighbourhood have been reconstructed to add to the beauty of the area.
Water has been roundly provided for Edo people. Edo South, North and Central now have water flowing from modern boreholes fixed by the Edo State Government. This has drastically reduced water borne diseases which use to be prevalent in Edo North and Central.
Realising that education is one of the biggest industry of Edo people and that it provides the foundation for the development of any society, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has undertaken educational revolution in the state, a cardinal objective of his administration. One of the greatest achievements of the APC-led administration in the educational sector is “the red roof revolution” as it is now being referred to, even by the worst critics of government (Edo PDP), which is an open acknowledgement of the transformation of the public schools in the state. The red roofs are all aluminum roofing sheets that have replaced the rotten, leaking zinc of previous governments. Besides the massive reconstruction and renovation of public primary and secondary schools across the state, they have been equipped with modern instructional and learning equipment and materials. The educational system is being sanitised in a way that it would compare to international standards.
Even the tertiary institutions are getting bigger and better deal than it used to be. The subventions to the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Chief Tayo Akpata University of Education, Ekiadolor and the subventions to the College of Education, Igueben and Michael Imoudu College of Physical and Health Education have been consciously jerked up while the Institute of Management and Technology as well as College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi have been upgraded and their courses accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). A new University of Science and Technology has been established in Uzairue and will soon kick off academic work as more efforts are on to keep education at pace with what obtains in developed societies.
The Health sector has witnessed massive transformation as well. Hospitals are being upgraded across the state. The Central Hospital along Sapele Road is home to multi-million Naira project, which when completed would compare to any modern hospital in the world. It targets bringing an end to Edo people travel overseas for medical attention. Government has assured that the project will be completed in the new year, 2015.
The Edo State Government has done excellently well to support security agencies to combat insecurity in the state and greatly reduced it from what it used to be. It has continued to support the Nigeria Police Force, Army, Air force, State Security Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp as well as Neighborhood Watch massively to discharge their functions. However, we are not unaware of the sabotage efforts of the opposition party, the PDP to fuel insecurity in the state. As elections are approaching, the PDP is alleged to be plotting various ways to arrest and hound APC leaders using the security aparati of the federal government. They are already arresting, and indiscriminately invading the homes of APC leaders in some other states. Edo PDP in connivance with the federal government is plotting how to unleash mayhem on Edo. But Edo people are aware of this plot and would stand up to the PDP against its evil plots. The will of Edo people, by the grace of almighty God will triumph over all the wicked plot of the PDP.
Consequent upon these monumental achievements, there is no doubt that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the clear political leader of Edo people. He is already pointing the way for Edo people to vote in the forthcoming general elections and the nice thing to do is for all Edo people to vote for change because no society grows without positive change. We need to change the clueless Federal Government with our votes, so that there will be a drastic fall in corruption, there will be massive development across the country, there will be steady supply of electricity, refineries will work again and there would be massive youth employment.
Mr. Dan Owegie is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo State