Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of contract duplication of the Queen Ede Gully Erosion Project at Ogbeson community.Governor Oshiomhole made this known weekend at the formal flagging off of the reclamation works at the Queen Ede Gully Erosion project in Benin City.
He said, “You have a real scandal when Edo State Government under PDP awarded this project and paid money for it. The PDP Federal Government awarded the same contract, paid money for it, then claiming that they were doing the job and as you can see, they simply caused more complications
“They constructed a small drain to take the water out of the road without taking it to the ultimate destination. That was how the crack started. If they had fixed it properly, it could have cost us less than 5million naira today.
“When my attention was drawn by the Edo State Ministry of Works to the fact that this erosion was caused by design error when the Asaba Road was being constructed by the Federal Ministry of Works, I wrote to Abuja to complain about the erosion challenges in this place. I listed quite a number including the Queen Ede Erosion problem.
Oshiomhole added, “When I asked for the project report, the ministry officials told me “job is on-going” and subsequently, I invited the officials to accompany me to show me what they meant by “the job is on-going”. What I saw here was abandoned equipment; there was not just one worker on site.
“When I came here, they showed me the tractor and I said, I have seen it. That is what they meant by “the job is on-going” but that was not the only thing I find very strange.
Oshiomhole said, “We tried to trace the contract document and all that but it was clear that the job was never meant to be done. It was just a cover up to siphon the fund by the previous government under the political party we want to chase out of Abuja now.
He said, “So when we speak sometimes with anger and insist on change, it is because we can’t continue this kind of tradition where in the name of the [problem of the people, money is misappropriated and this money goes into the private pocket when the work is not done. I have to emphasize this so that you do not think it was at the beginning of this government. It was previous PDP government. I renewed appeal to Federal Government to provide resources for us to fix this project. Again, we didn’t get any answer.
Oshiomhole said, “This is what I refer to during my 6th year anniversary that when Federal Government consequently decided to give money to some state from the ecology fund, they gave 2billion to each state, they didn’t give Edo State.
“Today, we have not come here to cry, we have come here to celebrate what is possible. We may have been afflicted with poverty of the pocket but ewe are rich in terms of ideas, in terms of the political will and capacity to identify who and what we have and to partner with them.
“That is the basis of the interaction between Edo State Government and the World Bank and of course like Dr. Abume reminds us, the bank believes that to benefit from their facilities, you go through a very rigorous process. We have to reorder the way government finances are handled in this state, ensure there is data transparency, eliminate inefficiency from our system, and computerize government operations in order to minimize human errors.
“All of these we have to do in order to make governance more effective. All these are what the bank required. Today, Edo State is the 2nd state that has attracted direct support from the World Bank.
Governor Oshiomhole who lamented the damage done to human and material resources including the Catholic Church by the gully erosion said, “The last time I was here, I saw that the threat to the community has increased, this school had collapsed, the Catholic Church was almost gone, several of the buildings down here had been washed away and some people had even lost their lives.
“I went through one bush path to go down about a kilometer away and I was shocked to find houses almost completely covered up. Of course their owners had left and some have even died. Today, we have changed all of that. So when we say change, it is not only in terms of politics, it is changing the way PDP have managed and mismanaged our country where government give contracts to friends and associates who are hopelessly incompetent and who lack the will to do the job and yet public funds is expended to pay them.
Governor Oshiomhole however called on the people of Ogbeson community to guard the project jealously when completed and ensure that the site is not converted to refuse dump. He assured the people that Government will sustain all on-going projects in the state particularly, the Queen Ede Flood and gully erosion which according to him, “Will be completed in the next 15months”.
Also speaking, Task Team Leader, Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project, (NEWMAP), World Bank Office in Nigeria, Dr. Amos Abu said NEWMAP is a transformational project with the main partnership being the World Bank, FAO, Federal and State Governments particularly Edo State.
He said, “I am very happy to report that in terms of meeting the requirement of this project, Edo State has been a leading example”.
Dr. Abu said, “This kind of intervention have been carried out in countries like China, Brazil and Indian promising that the result achieved in those countries will be replicated in Nigeria having brought out 2.5million people from poverty.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Edo State Commissioner for Environment, Public Utilities and Chairman, Edo State Steering Committee, NEWMAP, Mr. Clem Agba traced the project background of NEWMAP as investment focused on gully erosion prevention and rehabilitation.
He said, “The overall objective of NEWMAP was to support Edo State Government to reduce vulnerability to erosion”. He cited NEWMAP presence in Edo State to include, Oshobugie flood and gully erosion plain in Auchi stretching from Warrake road to Auchi Igarra road, Ekenwan Flood and Gully Erosion Gully site and the Queen Ede Gully Erosion project.
He expressed thanks to the World Bank for partnering with Edo State Government and urged residents of the area to work in cooperation with the consultant in order to complete the project in record time.
There were goodwill messages from the National Project Coordinator, Mr. Chikelo Nwune, The Enogie of Ogbeson Community, HRH, Professor Aduwa Ogiegban, the Chairman, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Council, Hon. Mrs. Itohan Osahon-Ogbeide amongst others.
The Queen Ede Flood and Gully Erosion Reclamation Project initiated by the present administration after failure by previous governments to successfully complete the project is expected to gulp about 2.7billion naira.

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