Oshiomhole
Oshiomhole

By November 2016, Adams
Oshiomhole would have
completed his second term as
governor of Edo state. Love or
hate him, his tenure has been
remarkable. For almost eight
years, the comrade governor
has held us spellbound with
his struggles, triumphs and
foibles. His combative and
outspoken nature has earned
him equal amount of criticism
and condemnation. He however
remains largely popular among
the people of Edo state and
beyond.
His journey to the Edo
state government house was
strewn with thorns. By 2007,
governor Lucky Igbinedion of
the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) had been in office for the
maximum eight years allowed
by the Nigerian constitution. It
is notoriously near impossible to
dislodge a governing party. That
was the arduos task that Adams
Oshiomhole and his party,
Action Congress (AC) faced.
After the 2007 gubernatorial
election, his opponent of the
PDP, Professor Oserheimen
Osunbor, was declared winner
by the Independent Electoral
Commission (INEC) and
sworn in as governor. Adams
Oshiomhole had to battle
through the Elections Petitions
Tribunal and the Federal
Court of Appeal before he was
finally declared by the court
on November 11, 2008 as the
true winner in the election. He
was subsequently sworn in as
governor.
Since assumption of office on
November 12,2008 and up until
now,Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole
has had to fight numerous
battles, both as a governor
and as a person. In governing
Edo state, once thought of as
just a civil service state, the
governor was confronted with
a horde of problems. There was
infrastructural decay, a failing
educational system, intractable
problem of flooding and traffic
bottlenecks in the state capital,
a disinterested populace and
above all, little or no internally
generated revenue (IGR).
History and historians will
judge his administration on how
well he tackled these problems.
On the issue of state revenue,
there is no doubt that the
governor has placed Edo state
on the list of states with most
improved IGR. He has been able
to raise the state’s monthly IGR
from a meagre #285 million to
#2 billion. Internally generated
revenue now constitutes fiftyfour
percent of state revenue.
This is, without doubt, a no mean
achievement in a state not noted
for commercial and industrial
activities.
The governor claims to have
unashamedly copied most
of his revenue generating
schemes from the Raji Fashola
administration of Lagos state
(2007-2015). Such measures
like the Land Use Charge and
Consumption Tax has pitted the
government against the high
and mighty in the state.
The ever popular and busy
Airport road in Benin city
epitomises this approach. The
one time two lane road that
was often flooded, has since
been reconstructed into a six
lane road with six tributary
roads all complete with surface
and underground drainage
that has effectively solved the
intractable flooding and traffic
jams previously associated with
the area. More importantly, the
governor’s determination to
completely deal with incesant
flooding in Benin city is anchored
on the #30 billion Benin city
Storm Water Master plan.
Although there are encouraging
reports of success in the areas
covered so far by the scheme, the
jury is out on whether successive
administrations will have the
political will to continue with it
bearing in mind the enormous
cost. In the educational sector,
after verifying that a good
percentage of the teachers under
the Universal Basic
Education scheme were either
not sufficiently qualified (like
Mrs Augusta Odemwingie)
or were too old, the governor
instituted a retraining program
for those not sufficiently
trained while laying off those
too old and unproductive.
This was not without initial
resistance by the National
Union of Teachers (NUT). The
subsequent recruitment of new
teachers helped to molify the
teachers union. Remarkable in
the sector also is the physical
rehabilitation of school buildings
all over the state. It is estimated
that fifty percent of all state
schools benefitted from this.
The rehabilitated schools are
distinctively marked out by the
popular red roofs so much so
that parents and their wards
now prefer the public schools to
the private ones. Critics however
contend that much more could
have been done in eight years.
While the governor touts the
now completed ultra modern
Central Hospital in Benin city
as the best referal hospital
in Nigeria, opponents of the
governor view it as a white
elephant project contending that
the billions spent on building
and equipping it could have
been used to provide improved
primary healthcare services
in all nooks and crannies of
the state. However the critics
view these projects, the people,
particularly residents of the
state capital, are happy with the
comrade governor. No less a
person than the now late oba of
Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo
N’oba N’edo, uku akpolokpolo
Erediauwa, in a rare public show
of support to a government
official, visited the government
house on November 14, 2012.
He eulogised the governor thus
“You have done well. Keep the
flag flying. You are a wonderful
man”. Observers have since
accused the governor of over
compensating the Binis and
Benin city in appreciation of
the support of the powerful oba
and his subjects. The governor
did also win the Vanguard
newspapers award as the
governor of the year 2015. Were
he to be an Igbo man, Adams
Oshiomhole would surely be
given a chieftaincy title by his
community and probably be
called “ogbuagu” (slayer of
lions) for he has indeed killed
many lions in his political career.
Dr Obijiofor wrote in from
Greenwomen for change and
empowerment foundation Abuja


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