Edo Roads, Obaseki Has Bad Story to Tell

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Gov. Obaseki

Just twenty-four hours before making the trip to Benin City Edo state, I decided to visit a reverend gentleman friend of mine who lives in Pyankasa Village. Pyankasa Village is one of the many villages like Aleta, Kushigworo, Karmajiji, Lugbe, Soka – off on the airport road in Abuja. Most Nigerians who come to Abuja seeking to wade through the Nigerian thoroughfare, and who seek what can loosely be termed the golden fleece live in these villages. Accommodation in the city centre here is a no-no, except perhaps you are willing to part with as much as 800 to 900 hundred thousand naira monthly as rent. These villages are usually as unplanned as they can be, and it is usually a regular occurrence to find effluent flowing right across your doorstep.

When I lived in Pyankasa then, life appeared a bit better that all the other villages. This was 2012 to 2015. There were private and public schools, a good primary health care centre, a police post, and a magistrate court. The streets were untarred, and power was verily intermittent. I was often to regret coming home to the dark and undulating thoroughfares lined with dirt, sewage and disorder. The only roads that were tarred were the ones leading to the village and no more.

But on the 2nd day of October 2023 as I approached Pyankasa, I thought I was lost. But here it was and indeed it was the Pyankasa of old. On both sides of the Pyankasa road, I saw the many things that were not there before – the beautiful estates nearby, the schools and the irregular shopping centres. The dirt road leading to the village had been tarred, and as I got to the village proper, I was to stare in wonder at the sleek roads within this village. After I was done with my friend, I take a walk around the village.

Walking down to the main road, I found that nearly every road had been tarred, akin to what I had seen in some villages in Europe. The villagers told me that they were very lucky to have one of theirs at the helm of affairs who took the development of their village to heart.

Most of what I saw about the sleek roads in Pyankasa has been subject of quarrels between me and some of my Edo brethren. For over five years, I have tried to draw attention to state of the roads in Edo State. At first it seemed as though I was a lone voice in the wilderness, but matters came to a head after the convoy of Governor Obaseki was stuck in one of the roads in Benin city overtaken by flood. The most important thing of what came out after that incident was the claim by the governor that he had successfully tarred many Edo state roads. He said that his only problem was the federal roads which he is unable to tar because somebody somewhere seeks to de-market his legacy as governor.

It was therefore in this state of mind (having seen the spectacular state of the roads in that Pyankasan village and having heard that something was being done about Edo state roads), that I embarked on my trip to Edo State from Abuja on the 3rd day of October 2023. The journey appeared smooth, that is, until we got to Avbiele in Edo State and had to take a detour into the town to avoid the ruined federal road. If you were to compare Avbiele to Pyankasa in terms of size, population and historical antecedents, you are likely to agree that Avbiele by far stands head and shoulders above Pyankasa.  But Avbiele, this important town in Edo state from where we meandered and meandered has no roads but a series of undulating gullies and thoroughfares. The journey from Abuja to Auchi had taken us less than three hours, but we spent the next five hours meandering though one thoroughfare or the other on this axis of Edo state.

We arrived Benin City completely broken, traumatized and shattered in body and spirit. Veering off the airport road in Benin City into the innards of this ‘city’, I was to find as well that all that claim by the governor that he had tarred 90% of the roads in Benin City and Edo state is a hoax. Going by the claims by the governor that he has tarred the roads in Benin City, that that we meandered and suffered through is incontrovertible evidence that he has been very economical with the true state on the state of roads in Edo.

Therefore, I will not add my voice to the curses and insults that all ten passengers in that vehicle rained on the authorities responsible for the suffering inflicted on Nigerians who ply those bad roads in Edo state. The story that Edo people will tell about Mr Obaseki’s Road legacy will not be a good story.

You may also like

Leave a Comment