- Projects affiliated to opposition members may be destroyed
By Ehi Ekhator
When the current technocrat governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki announced to run for the governorship election, Edo people cheered as they believed he would bring industrial development to the state.
From the recent events, the governor may not be different from his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole who did not open a business nor support a private business venture for its 8 years of the administration.
The government, despite the possible development it brings to the state, has decided to shut down any project executed in the state that is not executed by the ruling party, or did not take permission directly from the state government.
The state government through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development served an eviction notice to Arom’s Farm located in Benin City about two months ago.
According to the content of the letter, the government is planning to open an industrial park in the land but without providing an alternative to the farmer despite the employment opportunities it creates for the youths of the state.
On Friday, Aigbehi announced the relocation of his initiative to Liberia where he has met with government ministries and agencies on how the agriculture investment will benefit the people of Liberia, adding that there are plans to also meet with President Weah.
The Chairman disclosed this on Tuesday after meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture in Gardnersville to familiarize the project.
Aigbehi said”I brought a $10 billion agriculture transformation project to Edo State and the government didn’t even what to hear me out. I was pushed around and threatened. Even the personal effort I tried to do was thwarted by Edo State government thugs.
“Finally, we moved out of Edo State. Now we are in Liberia. We have 80,000 hectares of agricultural land and we are shipping in 3,000 tractors into the country to activate agriculture in Liberia.
“I have consents from the President, Vice President, Senate President, 8 ministers and many other government departments.
“We are offering single digit loans to Liberia farmers. We will start the training of 3000 people in September this year. We are doing mass propagation of plants. Revamping the school of Agriculture. Our business counterparts are coming in with billions of USD.
“We will have an Agric investment funds set up to push massive development in Liberia in the next five years. Maybe Nigeria will come to see how to do it in Liberia.
This is a one million jobs creation package.
“This was originally designed for Edo State when I came. It wouldn’t have cost Edo State one kobo. The judgement day for our politicians will be swift.
“Meanwhile, Obaseki can have my farmland in Edo state to build his industrial park. I won’t be needing it anymore. but before the next election Edo people will be eating Rice made in Liberia from my Industrial park and he will have to explain to them how it happened.
“Shame to the politicians and their thugs who cannot put the interest of their people first. This is how the black man remains backwards.”
Speaking with NAIJA CENTER NEWS, the disappointed farmer added that “Obaseki’s people came to my farm to give us eviction notice two months ago. Even after we have started operation again they have stopped us from work. The governor doesn’t give us alternative land to farm.
“What alternative do we have? So we have to go, Obaseki wants to create an industrial park on my farm. However, we have $100 million to build an industrial park. So, we don’t understand the problem. We have more money than we can spend. I don’t understand why people are suffering in the state.
“Everything we have can be proven. The Liberian government went through everything and decided to embrace it. Obaseki have never made any attempt to reach out despite all my effort. I have wasted years on this in Nigeria.”
Aroms is not the only one to be affected by the governor’s decision to go after projects not executed by the state government or not affiliated to the members of the All Progressives Congress.
Early this week, the government made a declaration to remove the solar power street light mounted by a PDP senator representing Edo South, Mathew Urhogide in Omoruyi street, Awo street, Awo lane, Igun Street and other location across Edo metropolis.
Some residents claimed that the governor plans to remove the solar power light on the ground that the facilitator is not a card carrying member of the APC, a move they claim is aimed at discrediting and thwarting Urhoghide’s effort.
The Special adviser to Obaseki on Media and Publicity denied that the plan was targeted at any individual but a move to cleanse Edo State towards the planned design of the state government.
He added that anyone with a plan to contribute to the infrastructural development must take permission from the government before embarking on such a project.
“Anybody who is interested in contributing to the development of infrastructure in the city, the first to do is to come to government. It has been announced that the state is going to do an audit of all infrastructure and everywhere we have any structure that is obstructing the plan of government will be removed and it is a general thing that is going to be carried out at once and not just Omoruyi street”
This is not the first time the state government in Edo State is showing a nonchalant attitude towards opportunities to develop and create opportunities in the state. In 2013, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Egr. Ogbeide Ifaluyi-Isibor led Japanese investors from Kaiho Sangyo to establish an Automobile recycling plant in the state.
Ifaluyi-Isibor lamented how several attempts to meet the then governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was futile as the group spent days in the government’s house without meeting the governor. A week later, the businessmen returned to their home country.
“I led Japanese investors from Kaiho Sangyo to Edo state in 2013 to establish an Automobile recycling plant. The Japanese were bringing their equipment and were willing to buy all the ELVs scattered around Edo state for an agreed fee,they had trained 10 Nigerian Engineers to kickstart the plant and I was one of them. I pressured them to Edo state thinking that it would have been a great idea to use Edo as Pilot state.
“I had scheduled an appointment with the Governor and he had agreed to meet them. All they needed was a government land to be leased to them for a couple of years and that was all. The Japanese experts were in Benin for 1week,we went to government house daily and spent the whole day there and couldn’t see their Governor.
“Not too long the Japanese embassy requested that the team from Kaiho Sangyo returned home since their idea and investment wasn’t welcome to Edo state. They left with the JICA( Japan international cooperation agency) team back to Abuja and that was it.
“Edo state would have had atleast 10 Automobile recycling plants today creating thousands of Jobs directly and indirectly if only they had a reasonable governor who understood what government was about. Perhaps they wouldn’t see us because Ifaluyi-isibor brought them.”
A commentator, Pastor Godwin Ijebor who reacted to the post by Agbehi also claimed that the N15bn investment he brought to Edo state died after he was asked to provide a political father.
“My brother, as a Pastor I also brought in an investor to build refinery cost 15billions naira, I asked who is my political father, project die”
If the information gathered so far is anything to go by, Edo State may have lost to the tune of $10bn investment to Liberia.