From Tony Osauzo, Benin
It was drama in Benin City yesterday, as two groups, Alliance for Collective Progress (ACP) and members of the Edo State Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance and Internal Democracy endorsed and condemned the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry which indicted the administration of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over alleged breach of the state’s Public Procurement Law.
Following the findings of the Justice James Oyomire Jucial Commission of Inquiry’s report presented to governor Godwin Obaseki last week, members of the Alliance for Collective Progress, yesterday protested to the Benin Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling on the anti-graft agency to prosecute the former governor of the state and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Bearing placards with various inscriptions, the protesters urged operatives of the EFCC to arrest and prosecute Oshiomhole for alleged failure to procure key equipment needed for operating the Edo Specialist Hospital built by his government and commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Spokesman for the group, Nehemiah Omogiate, expressed shock that all those involved in the alleged non supply of some of the equipment were walking freely in the streets and therefore, called on the EFCC to act fast by arresting them.
“APC under President Buhari is against corruption”, “EFCC bring back our tax payers money”, “Oshiomhole has been indicted, EFCC charge him now”, Oshiomhole must be brought to justice”, some of the placards read.
Presenting the grievances of the protesters, Omogiate said,”We want to register our grievances over the multi billion naira project which four years ago the past administration had claimed they have paid for the equipment.
“As we are speaking now, the equipment have not been supplied and the person they paid the money to is walking freely. There is a committee set up to investigate this and they have come out with their report and it indicated Oshiomhole, the former governor and up till now the EFCC is yet to act. We are here to ask them to do their job, nobody is bigger than the law”, he said
But countering the position of the ACP members, members of the Edo State Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for Good Governance and Internal Democracy, described as unfortunate, Govermor Obaseki’s desperation in humiliation of Oshiomhole “as amounting to giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it”.
They wondered why Obaseki failed to tell Edo people that the decision to pay the contractor 75 percent was taken by the State Executive Council which he (Obaseki) was the head of the Economic Team.
“We make bold to say that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the governor lacks merit in all aspects. Far from the fact that the governor is an accomplice in the matter he is said to be investigating, the composition of the said panel set up by the governor reflects an underhand motive geared towards indicting and demeaning the social capital of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole”, the group said.
It called on the state government to desist, henceforth, from harassing decent sons and daughters of Edo State through spurious allegations and claims.
“We urge the governor to refrain from further attacks on Oshiomhole. The truth is that the neutrality of Oshoomhole is Obaseki’s greatest undoing as he has no political collateral to stand on his own. His first tenure, it is apparent, has worsened his extremely limited electoral value rather than improve it”, the group observed.