By Fred Edoreh
It is good news for Deltans that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has ordered remedial works on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku-Sapele Road to alleviate the suffering of his people. But, lest we forget, the road, which stretches to Uromi in Edo State to connect the Benin-Auchi Road to Abuja, as well as the Benin-Sapele-Warri Road on which our people have long been condemned to excessive suffering, are federal highways.
They have been a nightmare for motorists and travellers for several years and they have got worse this year with the rains.
It should, indeed, be a shame to Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege and the Delta APC that, while their party held sway with Omo-Agege as Senator for eight years and Deputy Senate President, the nation’s sixth highest man for four long years, the two important federal roads leading into and crossing the stretch of Delta State were left woefully unattended to while, under his nose, the Federal Government constructed and rehabilitated various federal roads in various other states.
The Delta State Government under the administration of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa did carry out remedial works severally on different sections of the Agbor-Abraka-Eku-Sapele Road, especially, and had decided at a point to go for comprehensive reconstruction, but the then Minister of Works did not allow, insisting that the state should hands off the federal property or singularly bear the cost of reconstruction, while the FG goes on to foot the bill of roads reconstruction and rehabilitation in other states.
There had been a weak propaganda regime by Omo-Agege and his mischievous band of media men to falsely put the blame of the poor conditions of the roads on the Delta State Government, but that is only because they not only seem to have terrible disregard for truth but also awful disrespect for even the words that come out from their very own mouth.
Otherwise, how could they have forgotten that in the heat of the gubernatorial campaign, Omo-Agege not only clearly admitted that the roads are federal roads, but boasted (or lied?) that he had secured the approval for release of funds for the reconstruction of the roads?
The news media was awash with his claims as reported between November 28 and 30, 2022, in various national and local publications.
As it was reported then in the Punch by Dele Ogunyemi:
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N80 billion for the reconstruction of Sapele/Benin Road, as well as Amukpe/Agbor/Uromi roads.
“This was disclosed on Monday by the Deputy President of the Senate and APC governorship candidate in Delta, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, during a meeting with members of the Christian Council of Nigeria which held in Sapele.”
In the report also carried in Tribune newspaper by Femi Akinyemi, The Nation by Elo Edremoda, Premium Times by QueenEsther Iroanusi and Oasis Magazine by Halima Ibrahim, among others, Omo-Agege was quoted to have explained as follows:
“…With the reconstitution of the NDDC board, Buhari ordered that N500 billion of the commission that was frozen be released for development projects and the sum of N80 billion was approved when he pleaded with the President to consider the Sapele-Benin Road and the Amukpe-Agbor road.”
If it truly was so, the question Deltans, indeed Nigerians, should be asking is why then has the reconstruction or rehabilitation of the roads not been carried out? Were the contracts awarded? If so, to who and where are the contractors? If not, where now is the money said to have been approved for release from the unfrozen NDDC fund? Could the money have been embezzled? By who? Is there any action to retrieve the money from whomsoever? Or were Deltans just “guyed.”
Was it that Omo-Agege merely lied, disrespectfully so, to the leaders of the Christian Council of Nigeria which converges congregants of Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, African and Aladura churches? Was it just to deceive Deltans in the bid to harvest undeserved political capital?
Is it responsible for a true Deltan, much more so, one who aspired to lead and govern the state, though failed woefully, to lie and deceive the people? Is it noble for someone of the status of a Deputy Senate President to merely play politics with a situation that exposes his very own people to untold suffering?
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind but, thankfully, Deltans saw through and rejected him at the polls in preference for Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori whom they know his sincerity of purpose and trust in his judgment, competence and capacity.
Today, Oborevwori continues to prove Deltans right with his massive infrastructural development drive, his commitment to ensuring the completion of projects he met on ground while initiating new critical ones, and has now promptly ordered action for remedial works on the said Agbor-Abraka-Eku Road, in spite of the perfidious shenanigans of Omo-Agege and his APC, and the established fact that the rehabilitation of the road, including the Benin-Sapele-Warri Road, fall in the responsibility of the Federal Government.
Honestly, somebody in Orogun and his band of cabaret dancers should be ashamed of themselves but, more importantly, they should learn to repent from playing hokum and legerdemain with the lives and destiny of the people.