Targets 5-Star Hospital, Benin Storm Water Project
More Commissioners, LG Chairmen To Go
Touch Me, Touch Fire – Obaseki Dares Oshiomhole
NASS Ready To Take Over EDHA
Learn From Past Mistakes – Rev Omobude Tells APC
Plot To Impeach Obaseki Uncovered
Edo APC Crisis Spreading Very Fast – Oba Of Benin
Probe Oshiomhole – PDP Begs EDSG
No Going Back On EDHA Inauguration – Obaseki
By Ralph Okhiria
The real war is about to begin. Several cans of worms may be opened. It could be a monumental sandal, even as the anti graft agencies are ready to receive truck loads of exhibits in preparation for the commencement of corruption trial of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo Edo State is already talking tough and ready to bear his fang, as the on-going crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo State chapter, has started to snowball into a full scale war between Governor Obaseki and his former boss, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who served as governor of the state for eight years.
Interestingly, it was Comrade Oshiomhole, the ex-while governor of the state that helped Mr. Obaseki to become the governor of the state and both are members of the APC.
They had carried on peacefully like political father and son, until recently when things fell apart. Ever since, though the two strong men are yet to confront each other directly, but their foot-soldiers and supporters have been in the battlefield tearing themselves apart.
The crisis, now popularly being referred to as the “Edo APC crisis” has continued to redesign the political structure of the state branch of party and also introduced a new political direction for the Obaseki led administration.
But as typical of many Nigerian politicians, some of them are now feeding fat from the crisis and would do anything physically, politically and spiritually possible for the crisis to persist.
Unfortunately, some party men and women are already nursing the wounds inflicted on them by the avoidable supremacy battle between Comrade Oshiomhole and Governor Obaseki.
Already, no fewer than 12 legislators elect to the state house of assembly are having a running battle with their colleagues over the recent inauguration of the house leadership. Indeed, they have relocated to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for alleged security reason.
At the moment, there is tension within and outside the state assembly complex over alleged invasion plan by aggrieved elected legislators who felt cheated in the scheme of things.
“We, have been very much afraid because we are hearing rumors that the “Oshiomhole’s legislators ( the 12 legislators-elect who yet to be inaugurated) are planning to force their way into legislative chambers when Obaseki’s legislators are sitting for legislative business.
“We (staff) are scared because if what we are hearing is true, that means the assembly complex will be turned into a battle ground because both factions of the legislators (Obaseki’s Lawmakers and Oshiohmole’s Legislators) may engage, with the backing of the security agents and political thugs in a fight to finish.
“This is the reason that the leaders of our association (PASAN) are very worried and concerned for our (staff) safety because when two elephants fights, it is the grass that suffers,“ an assembly staff who would not want his name mentioned, stated.
As at last count, the Edo APC supremacy battle had consume eight civil commissioners in the state, Vice chairmen of two Local government councils, unspecified number of special advisers, senior special assistants, special assistants and other personal aides to the governor.
Furthermore, investigation revealed that more commissioners, Local government political appointees, including chairmen will be shown the exit doors soonest.
“All along, the governor has been begging party leaders and supporters for peaceful settlement and they are not relenting in their attacks against him.
“Now that they have pushed him to the wall and the governor had to turn back and about to start fighting like a wounded elephant. All those politicians in government who are not loyal will be removed from their positions without hesitation.
“You cannot be working against the governor and still remain in his government and pretend that all is well. All is not well, at all and all those government functionaries, whether at state or local government levels, who are not loyal must be sent packing.
“The state government is aware of the threat by the national assembly to take over the Edo State House of Assembly. Even though, it is laughable but the state government cannot afford to take things for granted because we know those behind the decision and what they are capable of doing.
“Governor Obaseki is a peaceful man but not a weakling. If they push him beyond boundary, he will be forced to react as the ‘Wake and See Governor’ that the he is.
“Those people fighting Governor Obaseki are living in glass houses and yet they are throwing stones. Very soon, they will get the response they never bargained for.
“A high court in Benin City has made an injunction restraining the National Assembly, the IG of Police, DG of DSS, among others against doing anything or tampering with the present leadership structure at the state House of Assembly.
“Even at that, some people are still making noise, engaging in things capable of incurring the wrath of the court. And you know that contempt of court is a criminal offence. May be they don’t know now but their eyes will open when they are slammed with contempt of court.
“But people who feel they are above the law still want to test their strength. Let them try. The governor is patiently waiting for them and the people of Edo state are also aiting for them to come. The books are there. The so called 5-Star hospital is there and the storm water project in Benin City is also there.
“Anyhow they want it, Governor Obaseki is ready for them”, the anonymous source close to the seat of power in the state added.
Only last week, the state government disclosed that it was under serious pressure to probe the previous administration over allegations of shady deals in the building of the 5-star hospital.
The revelation was made in a statement endorsed by the Special Adviser to the governor on media and communication strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie.
According to the governor’s media aide, “Edo State government is under pressure to set up a Commission of Enquiry to probe the billions sunk into the numerous contracts awarded for the reconstructed Central Hospital Complex in Benin City”.
He disclosed that the move followed the persuasive evidence of a heavy bill for repairs and irregularities in supply of equipment for use at the Hospital which was reconstructed by the previous administration of Adams Oshiomhole.
According to him, the Commission of Enquiry, would have a mandate to ascertain if details of contracts were strictly followed, especially the quality of materials, as heavy bills are being incurred for patch up work at the hospital and determine the extent of irregularities regarding the purchase of equipment, among others.
He said: “Actors within the government are calling on the governor to probe the contracts in which billions of taxpayers’ money was expended on a project that was poorly executed.”
“The state government will investigate allegations of fraud and irregularities with the contracting for procurement of the hospital equipment.”
The governor’s aide noted that “individuals contracted to procure the hospital equipment will be called to hear their side of the story, and we will investigate their claims to unravel why the equipment are yet to be supplied denying taxpayers’ value for their money”.
He stated that the contractors who handled the building have questions to answer regarding shoddy jobs done, among others.
The governor’s media aide further disclosed that work was ongoing at the hospital to patch up parts of the Hospital, as parts of the facility were poorly constructed leading to collapse of the roof in some sections.
Recall that the hospital which commenced operations few weeks ago, two years after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the gigantic edifice in November 2016 at the twilight of Adams Oshiomhole’s second term administration.
He revealed that “repair works are ongoing in some sections that were hitherto inoperable because of poor design that was not compatible with modern hospital infrastructure. Already, residents are currently enjoying free medical services, especially radio diagnostics and CT scan”.
The leadership of Edo State 6th Assembly led by Mr Kabiru Adjoto, had attempted a similar exercise, but, the probe panel, ran into troubled water.
Similarly, a Benin based civil rights activist, Bishop Osadolor Ochie had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the eight years regime of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who he accused of high level corruption. But case EFCC refused to act, a situation that forced the activist to take the case to court. Unfortunately, the court refused to adjudicate over the matter.
Where the state house of assembly and Bishop Ochei failed to hold Comrade Oshiomhole accountable for the actions and inaction of his government, will Governor Obaseki succeed should he decide to probe his predecessor and benefactor?
Learn From Past Mistakes – Rev Omobude Warns APC
Meanwhile, National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev Felix Omobude has expressed concerns over the on-going crisis in the ruling- All Progressives Congress (APC), Edo state chapter.
Rev. Omobude who spoke with newsmen in Benin City, stated that “What is happening in APC in Edo state is a fight between the APC family members. I only hope that they will quickly resolve their differences. You know, human beings are very slow in learning from history and I would wish that the leaders of the APC have learnt from their past mistakes.
“Edo people love peace and we love our governor. We like what he’s doing. I want to call on the APC leaders to put all machinery in place to resolve their internal crisis as fast as possible. Good enough, both Comrade Oshiomhole and Governor Obaseki are illusions sons of Edo state.
You Can’t Take Over EDHA – Okiye Tells NASS
The Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Frank Okiye, has condemned the move by the House of Representatives to dabble into the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly.
According to the Speaker, the Edo House of Assembly was duly inaugurated on June 17, 2019 and since then the business of law-making has been going on without any hindrances.
According to him, “May I remind the leadership of the House of Representatives that apart from the fact that the Edo Assembly complied with the Nigerian constitution in the inauguration of the House, there also exists a court order with suit number FHC/B/CS/70/2019, FHC/B/M/285/2019,ordering the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, all defendants, their servants and agents, not to interfere, disrupt or obstruct the constitutional duties of members of the Edo House of Assembly.
“The court further said an “interim order of injunction is hereby granted restraining the defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or privies from interfering with, obstructing or harassing, in any manner whatsoever, the plaintiffs in the performance of their constitutional duties as the Legislative Arm of the Edo State Government pending the hearing and determination of the motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The court also ordered “That an interim order of injunction is further granted restraining the 1st defendant, his servants, agents, officers or privies from further publishing in any newspaper or other media, any inciting publications concerning the inauguration of the 7thAssembly of the Edo State House Assembly and the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker which took place on 17/6/2019 in the Edo State House of Assembly.”
The court declared: “That interim order of injunction is also granted restraining the defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or privies from further committing any act aimed at disparaging the integrity of the legislative arm of the Edo State Government and/or destabilising the peace, order and good governance of Edo State in general, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.”
The speaker said, “It is most disheartening that at a time when the nation is confronted with security issues such as banditry, kidnapping and killings, all of which require urgent intervention of the National Assembly through motions and laws, the House of Representatives is wasting precious legislative time contemplating the hijack of the House of Assembly of a peaceful state like Edo State.
“We humbly advice the House of Representatives to review its priorities and focus its attention on the objectives for which the members were elected and not get involved in petty politics to fan the ego of an aspiring Godfather.”
Plot To Impeach Obaseki Uncovered
The political war between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has assumed a frightening dimension as Oshiomhole’s camp is said to be planning to impeach Governor Obaseki.
Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is said to have intimated some of his loyalists that “it is now or never” in his attempt to remove Obaseki from office.
Comrade Oshiomhole allegedly said, should Governor Obaseki remain in office by the time of the Edo governorship election in 2020, “it will be difficult to deny him the APC ticket, whether direct or indirect primary is used to pick the candidate.
”The former governor was also alleged to be using a multi-pronged approach to unseat the governor to prevent the scenario he foresees.
He reportedly placed on high alert his loyalists in the National Assembly and allies in the Edo State House of Assembly, security and anti-graft agencies for this purpose.
Meanwhile, Edo state legislators elect loyal to Oshiomhole are said to have moved to Abuja seemingly for security reasons, but apparently to perfect the impeachment plot.
“The lawmakers are heavily guarded in Abuja,” a source said. “Few days ago, they signed a letter indicating their intention to commence impeachment proceedings against Governor Obaseki. The letter wasallegedly signed by Edoror Victor Sabor, Saed Aliyu Oshiomhole, Ojiezelu Osezua Sunday, Vincent Osas Uwadiae, Osifo Osa Washington, Sunday Aghedo, Okaeben Ewere Christopher, Crosby Eribo, Okunbor Nosayaba and Ugiagbe Onaiwu Dumez.
Part of impeachment letter reads as follows:
“Be it resolved that this honourable House has no confidence in the government of His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, to effectively carry out the duties of his office throughout the remainder of his tenure and hereby moves the motion for the immediate impeachment of the governor based on the following grounds:
1. Sabotaging the activities of the legislature by actively preventing the legal swearing in of elected members of the State House of Assembly.
- Masterminding an attack on elected members of the House of Assembly.
- Masterminding the unlawful swearing-in of selected members of the State Assembly to further his personal agenda without the knowledge of the grand majority of the members-elect.
- Acts of severe intimidation, bribery and high-handedness.
- Gross insubordination towards the All Progressives Congress, her chairman and the very ideals that make up this great party.
- Lack of transparency in the awarding of government contracts.
- Mismanagement of state funds.
- Gross incompetence especially in the areas of security, job creation and rural development.
- Establishment of state agencies without due consent and approval from the House of Assembly.
Edo APC Crisis Spreading Very Fast – Oba Of Benin
The Benin Royal Father, Oba Ewuare II has said that the attempts he made to intervene in the impasse between Governor Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were unsuccessful, bemoaning that the crisis has kept escalating fast.
The Monarch disclosed this last weekend in his palace, when heplayed host to members of the ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to mediate in the ongoing Edo State House of Assembly crisis.
He said he had met with both Comrade Oshiomohle and Governor Obaseki on separate occasions, without any headway.
“Let me thank you for coming to see us, to show your respect to us, we appreciate you very much.
“I want to say this is not an easy task for you. We all know that we have some chiefs who are politicians; they have been trying their best on their own and also coming to brief me.
“My chiefs who are politicians have asked me to invite the parties, and as I told President Muhammadu Buhari when I visited him on my own, I have been talking to the parties concerned.
“I have met with Adams Oshiomhole and the incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki on separate occasions. It has gotten to a point where I should have invited both of them, but things kept escalating fast,” he said. The Monarch who thanked the committee members for coming to help intervene and resolve the crisis, added that “all I can say is that we will continue to pray for you to be successful in your investigation.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the as hoc committee, Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas, said they were in the palace to intimate the Oba of their presence in the state as well as seek his blessing to enable them succeed in their assignment. He said when politicians run into troubled waters; they run to elders for advice on how to resolve the issues.
Namdas said: “You are the father of the state, the national chairman of All Progressives Congress is your son, and likewise the Governor of the State as well as the 24 members-elect, your intervention will go a long way to resolving this issue.
“This is a very serious assignment for us as people are watching the outcome of the committee’s work in Edo state. But we sincerely need your intervention, support and prayers to enable us succeed in this big task of resolving the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.”
“So we want you to help us speak with your children to make our job easy in the State,” he said.
TOUCH ME, TOUCH FIRE – OBASEKI DARES OSHIOMHOLE
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has dared “politicians in the state, who now operate from Abuja, to come and take over activities of the Edo State House of Assembly.”Obaseki said it was regrettable that some politicians who had in time past joined in the struggle to entrench ‘Let the people lead’ mantra in the state, now seek to work against the people.
The governor was speaking on Thursday in Benin City, during a solidarity rally organized by labor groups, market women, representatives of religious groups, youths and pensioners, to pledge their support to his administration.
“To those of you who have gone out to Abuja, to send people from outside to come and invade Edo, to come and seal our House of Assembly, we are waiting for you.
“I want to leave you with these words: that those people who are parading themselves and seeking self interest, Edo people are watching you.
“We have not started politics but they want to pull us out early. INEC has not scheduled time table for elections, yet they have already come out with that of Kogi and Bayelsa state.
“What I will not do as a Governor and as an Edo man is to eat the seed yam. The seed yam is meant for cultivation so that we can have a double harvest. The little money we have today, I will not allow anybody to disturb it. That money is to be used so we can have a future for our children.
“This struggle started 12 years ago in this town, the struggle has not ended, and the struggle has just entered gear two. To those of you who are old enough, what we are going through today, we went through 10 years ago. The same thing and nothing has changed,” he said.
The Governor added that the focus of his administration was to use the state resources to develop the state by constructing roads and other infrastructures and not individual.
He assured that his government will continue what is best for the state and country.
“We have no doubt that we are on the right track and we know that God, the people, traditional rulers, Christian leaders, Muslim leaders, NLC, market women and youths are with us,” he added.
Reacting to the solidarity rally, the Coordinator of Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), Barr. Henry Idahagbon, described the rally as the last kick-off of a dying horse.
He said the solidarity rally was stage-managed to deceive Nigerians that the Governor is popular.
“We are not moved by the so-called deceptive one million-man match protest rally for Obaseki. The protest or rally is a last kick of a dying horse.
“By the time we get to the bridge, we know how to cross it. When the chips are down, those crops of people you see in that rally will dump him. They are running their mouths and condemning our national leader. Even God will not forgive them because you do not bite the finger that fed you.
“All the people in that rally are product of Adams Oshiomhole, so when the cloud is clear, we will see the true colour of the sky,” he stated.
Probe Oshiomhole – PDP Begs EDSG
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Edo state chapter has applauded Governor Godwin Obaseki’s resolve to probe former governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration, especially the contract of Edo Central Hospital.
State Chairman of the party, Chief Dr. Dan Orbih, said Obaseki’s decision to probe the immediate past administration has vindicated the alleged scam in the hospital project since 2012.
He disclosed that the PDP had earlier raised an alarm to sensitise the government and members of the public on its reservations about the 5-Star hospital project.
Orbih, who expressed satisfaction with the recent declaration of intention by the present administration’s resolve to probe the contract of the hospital, said all those connected with the award, poor execution and commissioning of the project must account for their roles in the interest of Edo people.
“Politically, we don’t want our reactions to be misunderstood as taking sides in the fight between the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Oshiomhole and Obaseki,” he said.
He noted that it has become imperative to restate the party’s position due to overriding public interest and resolve to expose the deceit of the past and present APC government in the state.
The PDP state chairman stated that the timing of government’s admission of fraud in the award and execution of the contract may look politically motivated, because of disagreements between Oshiomhole and Obaseki.
He, however, added that the issues raised by Governor Obaseki could not be ignored, as government must resist pressure to resolve current political disagreements over the hospital contract scam.
“Without sounding immodest, Edo PDP as far back as 2012 condemned the inflated award of the contract for the 200-bed Accident and Emergency Ward complex. We condemned the shoddy construction and deceptive commissioning of the project by President Muhammadu Buhari,” he added.
No Going Back On EDHA Inauguration – Obaseki
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly is the handiwork of somebody who wants to use the lawmakers to control him.
Obaseki, who spoke through his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, said the 7th Edo Assembly followed due process for inauguration.
Speaking in Benin City when the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee set up to look into the Edo Assembly crisis visited the state, Governor Obaseki said other lawmakers-elect decided to remain in Abuja and make themselves unavailable for inauguration.
The governor disclosed that the current crisis was history repeating itself as 15 PDP lawmakers also cried to the National Assembly in 2010 for a possible take over.
He said he is following the path Comrade Adams Oshiomhole taught them to fight godfathers and use the money to work for the people.
Obaseki, who insisted there was no going back in the crusade against godfathers, said some demands of the members-elect could only be resolved if they were sworn in.
According to him: “What we have here is somebody trying to use the house to control the executive. We feel that we have fought godfather. Oshiomhole led us to a strong fight to rescue the state from the hands of godfathers in 2006.
“We have joined the crusade Oshiomhole started in 2007. We will not go back on the crusade because it is helping Edo people. We can now galvanise the people because they can see roads, they can see schools and infrastructure. This is because the money that used to go the godfathers now go to the people.
“That is the path Oshiomhole gave to us and we have sworn not to depart from it. Oshiomhole has taught us to follow the path of the people. He told us to do the needful and make sure we fight The Godfather’s and take the money back to the people. That is what he taught us and we will not depart from it.
“Those ones have not been sworn in and they decided to abscond. I have contacted them and some of them told me certain things. I said we will deal with them. I said they must be members of the Assembly first before the discussion will take place.
“Somebody is interested in derailing them and the reality on ground. They are not elected to serve in Abuja. They should come to be sworn in first. I can assure you that I will bridge the gap between the Governor and the legislature. We need peace because we want to turn Edo to investment hub.“
At the Edo State House of Assembly, the Committee met with Speaker Frank Okiye and other lawmakers.
Clerk of the Assembly, Alhaji Yayaha Audu Omogbai, said 11 members-elect have not presented relevant documents.
Alhaji Omogbai insisted that the inauguration took place at 3:30pm and not 9pm at night.
Omogbai said he decided to carry out the inauguration because of tension in the state.
Chairman of the Committee, Abdulrazak Namdas (APC Adamawa) said there was hope that the issues would be resolved.
Between Obaseki And Agberos In Edo State
Over the years, residents of Benin City, Edo State capital have grappled with traffic gridlocks in major roads in the metropolises.
The chaotic situation arising from the gridlocks had made driving in the city centre sometime provocative and cumbersome especially at the Ramat Park, Oba Market Road, Mission Road, Forestry Road by the Kings Square.
Others routes are New Benin by Mission road/New Lagos road interceptions and the notorious Third Junction by Upper Sokponba road.
To many who groaned under these traffic gridlocks on daily basis, the menace was self inflicting because was largely due to the activities of touting; otherwise known as Agberos who hide under the guise of revenue collection on behalf of the government.
The contractors, vested with the responsibility of collecting levies from designated locations within the 18 local government councils of the state, had included Akugbe Ventures, Professional Drivers Association, Drivers Welfare Scheme, Tipper Drivers Association and different revenue task forces and bodies.
These companies were owned by Mr. Osakpamwan Eriyo otherwise known as ‘No molest’, Mr. Tony Kabaka amongst others.
Investigations had shown that these individuals (Agberos) formed a government of their own in the aforementioned areas by condoning illegal park and random picking of passengers thereby causing artificial gridlocks.
For instance, these individuals at the time created what they termed “Aso rock” in these aforementioned areas where commercial drivers are made to pay extra 100 percent tax aside the government approved taxes.
“Aso rock” is a coded word to drivers to pay the revenue contractors extra 100 percent of the daily tax, proceed to discharged and pick passengers at anywhere of their choice which included middle of the roads.
Whilst these illegal acts strived, other road users were made to bear the brunt arising from the traffic gridlocks thereof.
Successive governments had grappled and succumbed to the antics of these few individuals who were notorious for aligning with any political party in power in order to continue to maintain their empires.
Only a handful of what was been collected as revenue from tax payers were remitted to the government coffers.
It was reported sometime ago that one of the contractors without former education had lavishly celebrated a threshold #2bn in his bank account in far away Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Oredo, a local government reputed for its economic hubs in the State was getting about N4 million monthly from these acclaimed private revenue contractors.
However, when Governor Godwin Obaseki , an investment banker took the mantle of leadership as governor of the State on November 12, 2016, the task before him was enormous.
As a financial expert, he was on a mission to ensure that government money was judiciously expended on government business. The governor set the tone for a new order when he announced the ban on private revenue collectors in January 2017.
Besides, the governor introduced an electronic platform for the collection of revenue by the means of Point of Service (POS) or revenue scratch cards for those who do not have ATM cards
At last the count, the first phase of the modality has created employment for 10,000 persons.
It was learnt that Governor Godwin Obaseki had directed Heads of Local Government administration in the state to forward names of contractors initially contracted as revenue collectors to Government House to jump start the job scheme.
One year after the governor’s initiative, the council Oredo local government revenue generation had improved from a paltry #4million to #37million monthly.
As a result of the establishment of the Benin Central park at Obakhavbaye to ease traffic congestion, coupled with the activities of Edo State Traffic Management Agency and Public Works Department, brought decency to major roads in the Benin metropolis..
But rewarding as the governor’s initiative is, some individuals who hitherto were benefiting from the spoiled system have constituted themselves into an opposition within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), dishing out falsehood in their bid to discredit the governor ahead of his second term bid next year.
Residents are however upbeat that the sanity that had returned to governance and infrastructural projects such as roads, the Edo jobs, technology hubs for youths innovation, amongst others are testimonies to Obaseki’s hard work and dedication to impacting the lives of Edo people.