Only people who are not conversant with Frank Evbuomwan’s history with His Excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki will miss the fact that his piece, riddled with falsehood, was birthed from a place of personal loss, bitterness and envy rather than patriotism or pursuit of an egalitarian society.

That Obaseki refused to return Frank Evbuomwan for a second term of 5years as Managing Director of the Edo Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) has left him extremely bitter, because Evbuomwan felt a bit entitled to that position, being the pioneer chief executive of the agency.

Also, Evbuomwan erroneously considers Obaseki his mate having served in the State Executive Council of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole where Obaseki also served as Chairman of the Economic Team. Frank, however, fails to take into cognisance the fact that Obaseki served pro bono, while Evboumwan on the other hand, was being paid by the government.

Evboumwan also does not consider the fact that before coming to his home state to serve his people, Obaseki already conquered corporate Nigeria, founding arguably the biggest investment bank in Nigeria today. So, my brother Evboumwan, Obaseki is not exactly your contemporary. He is your senior brother!

Away from Evboumwan’s motive for writing his bile-ridden piece, it is important to provide some clarifications on the comments made on a number of projects and the progress of work done till date.

Benin Port Project
– The Benin Port Project, a 300,000 TEUs per annum facility, is well on track.
– The call for expression of request was advertised in February, 2023. By July, 2023, after a thorough bidding process, Mota Engil, a renowned global infrastructure development firm, emerged as the preferred bidder for the project.
– Mota Engil is currently sourcing financing in the international market to commence construction. It had important critical heavy duty equipment mid last year to facilitate execution of high impact projects in the country. The project is expected to be delivered through a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Maintain and Transfer (DBFOMT) model.
– It is being developed through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) involving the Ministry of Transport, Nigeria Port Authority, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), among others.

Benin Enterprise Park
– The Benin Enterprise Park is also very well on course. Hon. Ikponmwosa Osayande, a finance expert and accountant, is the Managing Director of the Park.
– The Park covers an area of 1000 hectares and the design of the main infrastructure network, sewage system, among others, are all complete.
– The anchor tenant at the facility is the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), which has procured 50 hectares for development.
– The Park, a 1000-hectare facility, is connected to the 95MW Ossiomo Power Plant, assuring adequate electricity for its clients.
– Work is expected to commence soon on the NCDMB portion of the park, which will open the facility up for more big-ticket investors.

Edo North Cargo Airport
– A Cargo Airport has been proposed to be built in Edo North Senatorial District, to facilitate movement of goods and passengers from the axis of the State.
– The agency regulating air transport, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has conducted a study on the proposed site in Uzairue, and certified it as appropriate.

Farm development
– Under the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), the Edo State Government has launched the largest oil palm development project in Africa with over 70,000 hectares of land allocated to at least 10 private investors.

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– Over $500m has been invested in the programme and a number of the integrated farms are aimed at developing integrated farms and an ethanol plant that would meet 5% of Nigeria’s ethanol needs.

Road infrastructure
– The State has constructed over 565 roads, covering a total distance of 737.37 kilometers.
– Some of these roads, including Benin-Abraka Road, Ekehuan Road, Ugbiyokho Road and Junction Improvements, are undergoing reconstruction
– The Junction Improvement work is almost complete on Third Junction, at the Sakponba axis and the Sapele Road axis.

– The State has trained over 15000 teachers on use of computer tablets to deliver lessons to over 300,000 pupils across the State.

– The government has rolled out recruitment of 5200 new teachers to address shortfalls across the State. The EdoBEST programme has been vetted and praised by the World Bank, leading to even more funding to increase the impact of the project.

Health Sector
– The Edo State Health Improvement Programme (EdoHIP) has overseen the revamp of over 30 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) across the State. This includes the provision of solar-powered electricity, potable water and telemedicine facility.
– The Edo Health Insurance Scheme (EdoHIS) have proven to be quite impactful with increased enrolment. At the moment, it has over 200,000 subscribers.

College of Agriculture
– The Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, has been completed, with staff already engaged. Admission is ongoing and a new session will commence soon, as courses are undergoing accreditation.
– It is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to train staff for the growing number of investments in the oil palm sector and other parts of the agricultural sector.

It is not surprising that Evboumwan may harbour some bad blood against the governor, but that is not sufficient to embark on a campaign to smear impactful projects that were undertaken by Governor Obaseki.

*Osagie is Special Adviser on Media Projects to Governor Godwin Obaseki.