By Nasamu Jacobson
EDo State is commonly described as a homogeneous entity with all its different peoples tracing their roots and ancestry to one source. While the people of Edo North and Edo Central trace their roots back to the Bini Kingdom, the Binis point far to the West as well as the East in locating boundaries of the original empire. Much of what has happened to shrink those boundaries to the present Edo State can be traced to administrative divisions based purely on linguistic and cultural affinities. What is left as Edo State today is one large family of brothers and sisters who speak the same broad language with different dialectics but owe allegiance to one paramount traditional headship, the Oba of Benin. It is, therefore, right and proper to say that Edo State is one and indivisible.
This year is an election year in the state and the usual rabble rousing talk will soon commence. Each party must formulate a vote-catching agenda with the central theme focussed on the development of the state. The choice between the candidates soon to be elected/selected and the parties they represent should be which party has a demonstrable capacity to implement people-oriented programmes and policies.
The people of Edo State have tasted governance under PDP and have also tasted governance under APC. They must, therefore, ask themselves whether they fared better during the almost ten years of PDP rule from May 29, 1999 to November 11, 2008 or during the last almost seven and half years of ACN/APC government since November 12, 2008. The people must ask themselves the question: Which government has benefited us more, PDP or APC? The parties have a duty to assist the people answer this question by displaying before them the score card of their verifiable achievements while in office for ten years as in the case of the PDP and in the last seven years for the APC.
The choice Edo people make on September 10, 2016 will represent their understanding (or otherwise) of the Edo Agenda which encapsulates the all round, all inclusive development of the state. The Edo Agenda is the implementation of an irreversible and sustainable development in roads, education, health, electricity, transport, sport, empowerment, electricity, water, job creation, agriculture, peace and security.
The agenda of the Adams Oshiomhole administration on assumption of office in November 2008 was to reclaim the state from backwardness and transform it to a state that works to advance the cause of development and reposition the state.
Today, in Edo State, there is concrete evidence that the state is working. The Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole administration has brought development in all spheres to the three senatorial districts of the state.
In road construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation, over 50 contracts have been executed with many of them already completed. The roads include Sapele road, Sakpomba road, Oba Market road, Akpakpava street, Siluko road, Stadium road, Constain Isonorho area consisting of many roads, Airport road, Guobadia street, Ivbiye street, Uwa street, Five Junction consisting of several streets like Oro, Iheya and adjourning streets, Second East Circular road, Second West and Third Cementary streets all in Benin City. Mission road, Upper Mission Extension, Forestry road, Butcher street and other link roads have been reconstructed in Benin City. Several other roads have been constructed, reconstructed, rehabilitated or are on-going in all the local government areas in Edo South.
Aside the many roads and streets constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated in Benin City, the city centre otherwise called The Oba Ovonramen Square or Ring Road, has undergone radical transformation to enhance its aesthetics. The installation and construction of a rhythmic musical water fountain at the inner Ring Road has been an attraction, playing host to thousands of visitors daily, particularly at night time.
All over Edo State, the renovation and construction of schools were executed with many already commissioned. These include Maria Goretti Girls Grammar School, Niger College, Idia College, Adolo College, Olua, Payne and Ohomba Primary Schools and many more all in Benin City, Urhonigbe Grammar School, Urhonigbe, Iguobazuwa Grammar School, Iguobazuwa. All renovated schools have been supplied modern furniture items including electric fans.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole laid the foundation stone of three model secondary schools, one each in the three senatorial districts of the state. They are located in Benin City, Iyamho and Ewohimi for South, North and Central senatorial districts respectively. Described as truly ,modern, the schools will each have two blocks of twenty seven standard classrooms, three fully equipped science laboratories, a fully stocked library, a canteen, 1,500 capacity hall and sporting facilities. The model schools are also to have boarding facilities. Infrastructural facilities at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, were given a boost while a new Edo University, Iyamho was established.
The health sector has also witnessed massive infrastructural development. While many Primary Healthcare Centres across the state were renovated or rehabilitated with additional facilities like staff quarters, perimeter fences and boreholes, there is the construction of a new 200-bed Central Hospital in Benin City. Great attention is paid to the uplift of primary and secondary healthcare with regular and genuine drug and equipment supply as well as the training and retraining of core and ancillary medical personnel.The Oshiomhole administration has also considered transportation as very important to the socio-economic development of the state as it aids the movement of people and goods in addition to creating a means of livelihood for its operators. The Comrade Governor provided 100 units of brand new luxury buses to kick-start a dedicated inter and intra-city commuter bus service. The COMRADE BUS is very popular in the state as it offers free ride to school children daily. The state-owned Edo City Transport Service, ECTS, has, therefore, been repositioned to effectively operate, remain self-sustaining, compete on purely economic terms and make profit.
Another area in which the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole administration has transformed Edo State is youth and sports development with the repair and renovation of the Olympic size swimming pool of the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium; rehabilitation of the main bowl through excavation and re-grassing, repair and rehabilitation of the State Box as well as the repair and renovation of both the Indoor Sports Hall and the Medical Centre.
In the administration of justice, peace and security, women affairs, chieftaincy, arts and culture, commerce and industry as well as labour relations, the Adams Oshiomhole administration has not only demonstrated a commitment to reposition Edo State, it has ensured that the people are carried along to guarantee sustainability. There is, therefore, no doubt that Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and the APC have in the last seven and a half years brought Edo State out of the doldrums and positioned it on the road to sustainable development and greatness. Will Edo people abandon this laudable agenda of development when the election comes? I think not.
•Jacobson, a public affairs commentator. writes from Benin City