By: RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
The Edo State Government has described as false and “fake news” insinuations making the rounds in the traditional and new media suggesting that the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration is hindered by huge inherited debt, urging Edo people and residents and other stakeholders to disregard the fake report.
“Our attention has been drawn to publications with headline suggesting that the Obaseki government is hindered by huge inherited debts. We want to unequivocally state that this report is completely false and none of the media outfits that published it can provide any proof what so ever, either by voice recording or signed statement, to show that Obaseki made this comment,” Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Edo State Governor, Crusoe Osagie, said in a statement.
He added that “the statement is not true and was never made” and advised “Edo people and all Nigerians to completely disregard and discountenance the report as fake news and a mere fabrication with no basis whatsoever in fact.”
Osagie stressed that “The report is the figment of the imagination of the individuals who published it” and lamented that “the publication goes a long way to show how much the noble journalism profession has been invaded by people who do not have any training what so ever to do the job.”
According to him, “The Edo State Government under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki is not hindered by debt obligations. All our projects are being undertaken as planned and the terms of our facilities from the World Bank and the Federal Government are liberal with repayment period of over twenty (20) years.”
He averred that “As chairman of the Economic Team, under former governor Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Obaseki negotiated most of these concessionary loans from International Development Agencies (IDAs). Thankfully, we have road and other infrastructure to show for these facilities across the state today.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that ruled the state for close to a decade ran the state aground as Edo infrastructural facilities were in a state of decay as at the time the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led interventionist administration took over power. Edo roads were called “Lucky Stones”, a metaphor for the shoddy road patchwork done by the then PDP administration, using oversize stones. Some roads were ‘constructed’ on paper, but were not constructed in real life.”
He added that “The allocated funds were used for frivolous birthday parties at a time thousands of Lower and Upper Sokponba residents were declared as people living in ‘Morocco’ and others in ‘Spain’, separated by the impassable and abandoned St Maria Goretti Road Junction.
“Siluko Road by Teachers’ House in Ogida area, the popular Five Junction on Uselu-Lagos Road, and several such areas in the state that were cut off from Benin City are now being accessed by road users with great pleasure.
“The ongoing efforts at consolidating on these achievements have ushered our people into a new era that is driven by industrialisation, with the coming on stream of the fertiliser plant in Auchi, which will be followed by the Benin Industrial Park, the Benin River Port amongst others,” the governor’s aide said.