Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has appealed to the Federal Government to fix the failed portions of the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okene highway which has turned to a nightmare for motorists in the state.
Speaking during a visit of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to him in his office, Governor Oshiomhole said the last government which worked on the road left it far worse than they met it.
He said: “right now, I have difficulty going home to my village because of what your predecessor did. I have tried to explain it and it is important we explain it, not because anybody believes in what they call blame game, but the truth is that if the road wasn’t touched at all, it would have been better than it is now, and it was better.
“I did argue then that what they were doing was going to create more problems. The truth is that they have left the road worse off than it was before the haphazard dualisation which is now creating a lot of problems.”
He continued, “Our people, if they found out that I didn’t talk about the road, they would think I am not taking advantage of my privileged relationship with you. So, they need to know that I have drawn your attention, and I know you know what to do, to see what the appropriate agency under your Ministry can at least make the road passable especially during this rainy season.”
He said, “Let me congratulate you on your performance so far. I am sure nobody is better placed with your experience and exposure to deal with the complications in the power sector and even the other challenging sectors in the Ministry of Works and Housing. We will always remember you in our prayers because it is not easy. People expect change in a twinkle of an eye for something that went under for more than sixteen consecutive years.
“If we remember that at one time we expected power to be fixed in six months. That is where we are coming from, but Nigerians in their tension at the moment, those are issues they hardly remember. But we must remind them there are no quick fix solutions to a complicated matter such as power.”
The Governor said, “I am sure you have also advised the DISCO people that in a moment like this, the service provider needs more patience, because the truth is that the people expect light. Whether you have to be a miracle worker to provide that light is not their headache. And also, they need to accelerate the amount of time available within which they must deliver meters so that payments should not be based on estimates. I think that is the real soft point in the entire process.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) said, “Let me say how delighted I am to be here for our monthly power sector meeting hosted this time by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), and in the process I also used the opportunity to visit power assets within the State, as is the tradition to get a feel of what is going on. So, I have been to the Azura Power Project that is under construction, and I am happy to note that the project is still on course. The project is also impacting on local communities in terms of economic opportunities for the locals, and also complying with environmental standards of construction. Needless to say that the project is on course and on schedule, and I hope it stays so because we are expectant that the additional power will add to our stock of incremental power to the State.”
According to the Minister, “We also stopped at the Ihogba Power Plant, and again, that is one project that is suffering from the shortage of gas. Out of our four turbines that can give a total capacity of four hundred and fifty megawatts, only one turbine is being fired because of gas inadequacy because we also took stock of the transmission sub-station at Ihogba to evaluate the power.”
He explained further, “I have also been met by expressions of displeasure by some of the consumers in the Benin City area who protested the quality of service they were getting, and I assured them that we were doing our very best to remedy the issues.
Of course, our meeting went well, and we got update on what was going here in the local community, the efforts by the local DISCO, the challenges also, quite a significant number of restive communities also raised issues about payments and so on and so forth.
He added, “I quickly stopped by to wish you well as you wind down your very remarkable and impressive touch of service in this State. And I hope that as you wind down whoever the people of Edo State ultimately choose to succeed you will be able to start from where you stop, not start from where you started.”