From Tony Osauzo, Benin.
The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday, alleged that Edo State is serious crisis due to the continuing legacy of bad governance on display by Governor Godwin Obaseki’s poor understanding of democratic governance.
The state chairman of the party, Col David Imuse (retd), while addressing journalists in Benin, further alleged that “Edo’s glory has been brutalized in the last 6 years by the confused factional PDP government led by Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
“In six years, Governor Obaseki has signed more MOUs, partnerships and agreements with individuals and organizations, than any state governor in Nigeria since 1960. Obaseki’s Benin Enterprise and Industrial Park, Gelegele seaport, Ossiomo Power Plant, Ologbo Modular Refinery, Benin Technical College, Edo Tech Park, Edo Innovation Hub, Benin Creative Hub, University of Innovation, Edo North Airport project, EMOWAA are a few of the comical results of these MOUs. Yet Mr. Obaseki who has less than two years in office is proposing a scam he calls 30-year development plan for Edo State with a 2050 result date”, Imuse added.
Besides, he accused Obaseki’s government of boosting the domestic debt of the state since 2016 by N75 billion, exclusive of the State’s foreign debt of over $280 million from available records, making the state the second most indebted state in the country, even as he stated that Governor has just forwarded a bill the State Assembly for additional N25 billion bond to further impoverish generations of Edo citizens yet unborn.
Imuse also told journalists that the Obaseki government has sold the state owned Nigerian Observer Newspaper to his cronies under a dubious Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, adding that the government was concealing the fact about the position of the Newspaper.
“After failing to set up a Board of Directors for the Newspaper in a record six years, Governor Obaseki closed it down in June 2022, promising to reopen it under one month after restructuring it. But in the last four months, Governor Obaseki has not only autioned it’s press, he has deployed all its staff to various Ministries, turned the Newspaper into an online medium and renamed it ‘ECHO’.
“He also demolished sections of the Newspaper office complex, occupied since 1968, imported a moribund and non-functional printing press with billions of Naira and employed a private individual who has employed a new set of staffs, as Consultant.The truth is Mr. Obaseki has sold the Nigerian Observer to his cronies under a dubious PPP arrangement that will die a natural death soon”, the APC chairman said.
But reacting to the APC’s claim, Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, said Edo was not the second most indebted state.
“On the issue of the most indebted state, it shows how lazy APC is. If you Google, you will know which state is most indebted or the party should contacted Debt Management Office (DMO) to get their facts right”.
He explained that borrowing money was not a bad thing as long as it is to improve the state infrastructure.
On the Observer Newspaper, he said the establishment is still 100 percent owned by the state government, adding that government was reorganising the Npaper and giving out to new management in order to make it competitive with other private media outfits in the country.
The Commissioner, while describing the APC as ‘unserious party’, urged it to do more research on how to be an opposition party.