From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has frowned at the decision of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led PDP government ‘to once again deceive the people with a promise to build a passenger airport at Uzairue in Etsako West Local government area of the state’.
The party, in a statement signed by its Assistant State Publicity Secretary, Victor Ofure Osehobo, said: ‘For Edo people, this is just another of Governor Obaseki’s long list of audio projects strong on paper but non-existent in reality, conceived, designed and perfected to confuse the people.’
It listed other projects of the government which had remained on paper to include
- Gelegele Seaport
- Benin Industrial Park
- Azura Power plant
- Sobe Farms
- CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme and Utesi Industrial Cluster
Others, according to the APC, are
- Truck Transit Park
- Inland Container Depot
- Edo State Fertilizer Plant and Chemical Company
- Edo Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd and
- Benin Innovation Hub
‘Trillions of Edo taxpayers money have been sunk into these projects by a governor who knew that his plans were not to see them come to reality. It is ironic that though the Edo governorship elections are over, Governor Obaseki is still campaigning. He has forgotten that he is in charge and has chosen to waste his allotted time, dilly-dallying and chasing shadows.
‘While will he embark on an airport construction project that has little or no direct bearing on the lives of Edo people, whereas he did not include it in his audio MEGA (Make Edo Grounded Again) manifesto? The time for impulsive decisions like the case of this airport is over.
‘The Governor, was busy like his deputy to take his controversial aviation experts led by a Director in the Aero Contractors, to the site of the airport and chose Mr Jimoh Ejegbai Esq. the chief of staff to his deputy, Mr Philip Shaibu, to do the dirty job. The onus was on Ejegbai to explain that the need to promote commercial activities and the presence of agro and natural resources in Edo North Senatorial District informed the establishment of a second airport in the state. He spoke as someone completely ignorant of the state of airports in Nigeria and the world since COVID-19,’ the APC added.
The party harped on the non-viability of the proposed airport project, citing the Ministry of Aviation decision to concession four of Nigeria’s major airports: Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to buttress its point.
‘There are teachers to be employed in Edo schools just as there are schools requiring rehabilitation and renovations. There are roads to be built and erosion control projects requiring the serious attention of a determined government. Need we add that the State Civil Service is groaning without adequate and qualified personnel.
‘Governor Obaseki should please wake up from his slumber and face reality. This idea of an airport is misplaced, out of place and pedestrian. There is a lot to do, and the time to start is now”, the APC reminded Governor Obaseki.
Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, explaining the reason for the proposed airport at the weekend, said ‘airports are important parts of economic infrastructure which significantly contribute to economic growth and overall development.
‘When completed, the airport will fuel economic development in Edo North by attracting investors and promoting commerce due to massive raw materials naturally deposited in the district.’
He said Governor Obaseki’s administration is deliberate and methodical in ensuring that no economic potential is neglected but must be exploited by creating the enabling environment for investors to take over the driver seat through the provision of necessary infrastructure, like airport and other social amenities to enhance economic growth.