By Jethro Ibileke
Godwin Obaseki of Edo state has stated that the confusing policies and procedures put in place by the Federal Government has made it difficult for any state government to embark on repair of federal roads.
This is even as he lamented that Edo people are being unfairly treated by the Federal Government “probably because of their political stance”.
He stated this Wednesday evening when he paid a visit to the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council.
He lamented that as a Governor, his hands and legs are tired as regards repair of federal roads.
According to him, “We are in a very difficult situation in Edo. Our hands and legs are tied and they say we should run. because the only governmemt people know is their state government.
“Federal policy relating to its road is very confusing. In the past we could go as a state, rehabilitate and go and give the Federal Government the bill and say we have carried out palliative on your roads, please refund, and we would get the refund.
“At a point, they said state can only apply and take over those roads, but I am yet to see the state they have given federal road to repair.”
The Governor further revealed that his attempt to carry out palliatives measure on a federal road in the state was frustrated.
He related: “I will give you an example. Auchi-Ibilo road was so bad, contractors were not mobilised there, so we say we want to carry out palliative measure on the road, but they so no. They said it is a federal road and that the road has already been given to a contractor. What do we do in this kind of situation.
“Even when I said I want to fix Benin-Sapele Road now, I am not allowed to. Because first, it is not our road, and secondly the Federal Government feels they have already given out the road to contractor.”
Commenting on the alleged political stance of the federal government on the state, Obaseki declared that Nigeria belongs to everyone, hence individuals should be treated in a fair manner.
He said: “I am not here to critise the Federal Government, but I am here to say that we are all Nigerians. So, it is only fair and proper that the Federal Government treat Nigerians like human being.
“Treating us the way we are being treated in Edo State, as if we do not belong to this country, it is really really unfair. You don’t have to vote for a government for the government to care about you, we are all Nigerians.
“It is like you have no one to talk to on these bad roads. When you call the federal road controller, he will say he is in Abuja. It is like no body care in Abuja. Because we come from Edo, they don’t care about us, they don’t like us, if they do we will know.”
Explaining why he visited the secretariat of the NUJ, the Governor said he was there to seek journalists support for the task ahead in the next few months, and to also let them know what he has done so far in the past six years, boasting that he has done much but just don’t like noise.
“I am here to reconnect as I started six years ago. In the next few months, many things will be happening, and I will be relying on you. They said we have not done anything, but we know we have done much. We just decided that for people to know what we are doing, we will get the journalists who are objective like you to do the job of informing them.
“I am here to tell you that we are still partners. They said Obaseki is not doing anything, we have not seen anything he has done, but I want to tell you that we have done much, and very soon we will be rolling out our works. We are concerned about the next generation of Edo. How do we ensure our children have the best education.”
He poured encomium on the chairman of the council, Festus Alenkhe, for the ongoing transformation in the Edo NUJ, adding that Alenkhe is replicating the kind of transformation his governmemt is doing in the State, particularly in public and civil service.
“Congratulations Mr. Chairman. The amount of improvement I saw, I am proud of you. I am proud of you because you have taken the kind of transformation we are taking as a Government,” Obaseki added.
Responding, the Edo number one journalist, Festus Aleakhe, thanked the Governor for finding time to interact with journalists in the state.