Ekpoma-Benin-Auchi Road Failure Shame on Edo Politicians

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

Dictionary definition of hell is that it a place of torment. Those who are religiously inclined see hell as a terrible fire where sinners continue to burn and suffer till eternity. There are many people who claim to have been dead, and have taken a glimpse of that most uncomfortable of places. They say that while you appear alive, you are actually dead and suffer for the sins that you may have committed when you were alive.

For most of the people who claim that they have seen hell, they say they will not wish even their enemies to have a taste of it. There is the story in the Bible where the rich man burning in hell begged to be allowed a split second to come back to earth and warn his people to mend their ways so they would not join him there in hell.

If you do not want to experience some hell on earth, you will be advised to avoid the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road in Edo State. This road is not in the heavenlies or underground where sinners suffer and are tormented till eternity. This one hell is right here on earth, and in Edo State Nigeria. You will not be dead to experience it but your chances of dying on the Benin Auchi Ekpoma Road is very high. If you have been a sinner, sorry for you, and that’s because plying that road is the very first glimpse you are to have of how hell really looks like.

So, how does this hell in Edo State look like? While travelling through the length and breadth of Nigeria, one of the first things you will observe in many cities in Nigeria are the roads. Let me be specific: in one satellite town in Abuja where I once lived, I was amazed to find that 99.9% of all the roads were tarred, together with the ones leading to the farms of the villagers. I have therefore found that a road is one of the social infrastructures that governments put in place as a showpiece of their investment in the social capital of some of these places. What this therefore translates to is that politicians consider the tarring of the roads leading to their villages one of the indicators of their success as governors or public officials.

The Ekpoma-Auchi Benin Road appears as a gaping wound festering on the conscience of all the politicians in Edo State. It is an eyesore, a death trap to Nigerians plying that road and a shame to Edo state politicians.  Presently, there are many of these politicians at the Federal executive council in the dead Buhari administration. Others were there as members of the Senate and House of Representatives, given the mandate on the ballot to raise issues bordering on and bothering on the welfare of their peoples.  But they all appear to have failed to get together to do something about their road.

I have heard some of the back and forth why the road has been left to dwindle and deteriorate. Among the many is this one that indicates that the road is a ‘federal road’, and therefore it cannot be fixed by the state government.  We have taken this silly argument to Chris Nehikhare, Edo State commissioner for Information, to find out if indeed this is why that Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi has been dwindling and deteriorating. Mr Nehikhare has been reticent, apparently he is as befuddled as we are.

But I can tell you for free that that argument is as silly as it is.  Edo state in the Oshiomhole years was run as an APC state, with strong ties to the Muhammadu Buhari administration.  Before Godwin Obaseki moved to the PDP, Edo state was in the APC fold.  It had former governor Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the APC. Others who exert strong influence on Nigeria’s politics include heavyweights like Ikimi, Shaibu, Urhoghide, Ogbeide-Ihama, Odubu, Osagie, Iduoriyekemwen, Imasuen, Ogie, Iriase, Orbih, Akpatason, Alimikhena and Imasuangbon all bestriding the political landscape.

First, if the road is the property of the Federal government of Nigeria, why is the FG unwilling to fix it? And then if the Federal government is unwilling to take responsibility for the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi road, is that why Edo people are keeping mum, watching their oil/gas monies being used to develop other parts of Nigeria? Something tells me that there is more to this than meets the eyes. Sometime during the Oshiomhole administration, he awarded a contract for the construction of a road. A party man was said to have made off with the monies. And you know what? In the record books of the Edo State government, that road has been awarded and tarred. A clue to what I believe that leading politicians can do to salvage that Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road is in what transpired in Delta state from April 7 – 8, 2023. Hearing that their alma mater, Ika Grammar School, aka Niger Delta Harvard was in dire straits, only three or four Ika sons from that school – Jim Ovia, CON, of Zenith Bank, General Lucky Irabor of Defence Headquarters and Mr Okowa – got together and rebuilt the entire school. Would this kind of gesture be too much to ask the legion of politicians of Edo State to do for the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi road?

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