Not many Nigerians can easily forget the origin of the crisis of confidence between Edo state governor, Mr. Adams Aliyu Eric Oshiomhole and his benefactor, former Edo state governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, whose father, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, he loves to hate.
It goes back to the April 2013 elections into local government councils in the state and after Oshiomhole’s ACN won all of the 18 local councils in the state, Oshiomhole was berating Igbinedion over his overbearing conduct on election day in his Okada “Wonderland” hometown and declared, “You heard how he is using ITV in a very reckless manner, in clear breach of the NBC code.
He reduced himself as a high chief, leaving where he is registered to vote and going all the way to Okada on a day movement was restricted across the state…. He got to Okada and illegally used mobile policemen to walk on the street; going to the police station where sensitive election materials were kept in order to vandalise the sensitive electoral materials to ensure elections did not take place…. If he misleads himself into believing that he has the birth right to continue to appropriate and privatise the resources of Edo State, he is living in a fool’s paradise.”
After the election, the governor during the swearing -in of those elected told the Esama to, “Behave Yourself Or I’ll Cut You To Size” even as alleged that the senior Igbinedion was undermining state laws and said his government had the capacity and the will to contain what he called, “Igbinedion’s excesses, “There is evidence that he (Igbinedion) has undermined the prosperity of the state for a very long time. Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones”.
Continuing Oshiomhole said, “I want to send a warning to Chief Igbinedion that he should take it easy; he has acquired a lot of government land that the people have not engaged him on. He walks as if he is above the law. He was a chief tax collector in this state, pocketing 25 to 30 per cent of every kobo that accrued while his son was the governor.”
The governor went on, “I have not looked back because my mandate is to look forward. I want to put him on notice that if he continues with elderly rascality, I will bring him to justice. He must never ever underestimate the fact that I have the will and I have the capacity to deploy that will; if he crosses the law, he will be cut to size. Elders must teach the younger ones to behave responsibly”.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC never sanctioned the ITV while the ACN still won the Okada seat of the local government election. In September when the Esama marked his annual birthday, Oshiomhole was one of his early guests.
It would be recalled that in 2013, while Oshiomhole poured invective on the Esama, his son Lucky was silent, yet political pundits recall that it was Lucky Igbinedion’s singular effort at dismantling the PDP in Edo and demystifying the godfather of Nigerian politics, Chief Tony Anenih that created a lifetime opportunity for Oshiomhole to become a factor in Edo politics.
Using the spoils of office and with his secretary to government Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu as arrowhead, Igbinedion’s desire to handpick his successor, left the PDP in Edo with two factions. The former governor’s faction pulled out of the PDP to form the ‘Grace Group’ that metamorphosed into the AC (N) and into today’s APC.
Ize-Iyamu could not succeed Igbinedion in 2006; he paved the way for Oshiomhole’s election and hoped that he would succeed the Comrade. Again, that dream drowned as early as 2012 when the comrade sought and won re-election. When it became clear that realising his gubernatorial dream would not materialise in APC, the preacher left the Comrade in APC and returned to the PDP, where he is now certain to fly the party’s flag in the 2016 polls. Moreover, this is the fuel Oshiomhole has found in trying to expose the misdeeds of the Igbinedion era.
That exposure began a few weeks ago when after a state Executive meeting a Commissioner in Oshiomhole’s cabinet alleged a $31 million fraud in state accounts over a Cement plant. Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Louis Odion said, “there is the issue of a fraud that was discovered while turning our books. We found that the sum of $31 million was fraudulently taken from state coffers under the administration of Chief Lucky Igbinedion.”
He said, “The Comrade Governor has directed the Attorney General to commence legal action in that direction. Therefore, in the coming days, the state government will take legal action to ensure that what was stolen from Edo State government is recovered. When you convert $31 million to naira, it fetches you a whooping N7 billion. You can imagine what N7 billion will do in improving the human condition in Edo State.”
Throwing light on the $31 million fraud, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon. Abdul Oroh said, “The $31 million which was stolen from the people of Edo State for the transaction which was designed clearly for criminal purposes. This project was called Avrant Cement Company situated at Ekpe, near Ikpeshi in Akoko Edo Local Government.
“The company was supposed to produce cement to take advantage of the large scale deposit of limestone in that part of the state. The company was registered as Abat Cement Company Ltd and this company had three shareholders. The Abat Cement Company had 75 per cent shares, Edo State Government had 15 per cent shares and 10 per cent shares were reserved for ‘other Nigerians’.
He said, “Although Edo State Government was given only 15 per cent share, 100 percent of the revenue invested in the company, $31 million was taken from the account of Edo State government. This money was withdrawn from the account of Edo State government under Afribank.
As the money was withdrawn, construction of the company started and all the major structures were in place, 90 per cent completed, machines were installed but there was no other contribution from any other source for the construction and procurement of these equipments. So everything invested in that company came from Edo State government”.
Speaking further, he said, “It is on record according to the shareholders agreement, those who claim to be first share holders, Abat Holdings were given 75 million shares representing 75 per cent, the second share holders were given 10 per cent and the thirds share holder, the Edo State Government was given 15 million shares representing 15 percent. The agreement was signed by the Fashunu and Governor Igbinedion, who signed on behalf of the shareholders.”
Last week the governor said that he would pack all the files containing alleged fraud perpetrated during the Governor Lucky Igbinedion administration to Abuja next week with a view to commence prosecution.
While vowing to prosecute the former governor and his father, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion and send them to jail if convicted, Oshiomhole alleged that both the former governor and his father, converted properties, funds meant for the people of the state to their private use. He also expressed his readiness to publish the sales of government properties during the administration of Chief Igbinedion, where he fingered the former Secretary to the state Government, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as one of the beneficiaries of some of the property.
Oshiomhole alleged that both the former governor and his father converted property and funds meant for the people of the state to their private use.
He also expressed his readiness to publish the sales of government property during the administration of Chief Igbinedion and said he wanted to be remembered for eliminating godfatherism in the state.
The governor said his problem with the Igbiendions started when he revoked the over 2,000 hectares of land the former governor gave to his father in Okada. According to him, the land belonged to the state government.
However in his reaction, the former Edo State governor, Lucky Igbinedion, said, “I feel joining issues with Oshiomhole would amount to dignifying him and his outbursts and lending credence to his bogus allegations. On the AVA Cement Company, for that is the true name of the company they are referring to, Oshiomhole claimed that I used Edo State $31 million to execute the project to about 90 per cent…As at 2006 when the AVA Cement Company project kicked off, the exchange rate for a dollar was about N100/$1 hence, $31 million then amounted to about N3 billion.
Igbinedion said, “So, if Edo State Government invested N3 billion for a project that gulped well over N20 billion, the question is; where did the balance of N17 billion come from?” He alleged that governor Oshiomhole is actually the biggest thief in Edo State. He also stated that he has nothing to hide about his tenure and there were documents to back up every of his actions and activities, which he said is open for public scrutiny.
Continuing, he said, “He should explain to the people of Edo State how he spent the federal allocations and internal generated revenues running into trillions naira in seven years. He should tell the people of Edo State how much he is paying as land tax for his house in Iyamho worth over N10 billion and other property he has acquired in the last seven years in Dubai, Cape Town in South Africa, in San Francisco, United States of America and a high rise apartment in Atlanta also in America and in London.”
However, the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has described the plot by the Edo State government to probe the administration of former governor of the state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, over an alleged $31 million fraud as political witch-hunt.
State party chairman Dan Orbih says alleged that records available to the party revealed that while the sum of “N928 billion” accrued to the state in the past seven years “only N268 billion” could be accounted for,’ through project execution and remuneration of Edo civil servants.’
Orbih also said the party wonders why the governor accused one of his predecessors, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, of mismanaging funds, when the current administration was yet to show true governance in areas such as youth employment and sports development, amongst others.


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