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‘We Must Run Govt Like The Private Sector To Succeed’, Declares Umahi To Obaseki’s Benin/Auchi Road Concession Request

L-R: Minister for Works and Housing, Engr. David Umahi; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Edo State Commissioner for Road and Bridges, Ethan Uzamere, and Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare, after a closed door meeting at the Government House, Benin City, at the weekend.


The Oasis Reporters


March 13, 2024








L-R: Minister for Works and Housing, Engr. David Umahi; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Edo State Commissioner for Road and Bridges, Ethan Uzamere, and Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Chris Nehikhare, after a closed door meeting at the Government House, Benin City, at the weekend.






Obaseki to parley FG on concessioning of Benin/Auchi Road to Edo govt, partners

…as Edo, Dangote, BUA commence remedial works on 30km



The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the State Government has arranged for a meeting on Tuesday, March 12 with representatives of the Federal Government, Dangote Group and BUA Plc to discuss and proffer short term solutions on the deplorable condition of the Benin/Auchi Road.



The governor disclosed this at the weekend during a chat with journalists at the Government House in Benin City, after a closed door meeting with the Minister for Works and Housing, Engr. David Umahi.



Governor Obaseki also appealed to the Federal Government to concession the road to Edo State Government as a long-term solution, noting, “As a State, we would work with the Minister and the Federal Government. The issue of roads can’t be left to one stakeholder alone; we all must come to work together.



“We are very concerned about the high-traffic roads like the Benin-Auchi road which is one of the main transport arteries in Edo State. Youths have protested severally about the poor condition of the road. We have appealed to them and they accepted and expect us to fulfill the promise on remedial action to reduce the carnage, accident, destructions, and delays commuters witness on that road.



He noted, “We have agreed with the Minister that we would send one of our contractors immediately to go in there this next week to commence palliative work in some very bad sections of the road. We also agreed that the bad sections particularly around Agbede, between Ekpoma and Irrua-axis and some other portions towards Uhunmwode LGA.



“These bad sections have been calculated and it came to about 30km and we have to bring in other stakeholders, particularly heavy users of the road. We have singled out Dangote and BUA cement companies as they are one of the largest users of the Benin/Auchi road and can’t stay aloof.



“We are summoning a meeting with representatives of these two companies, Edo State Government, and the Federal Minister for Works and Housing on Tuesday to agree on concrete steps and measures to take and make sure that the remedial works are done on the bad sections of the road to ensure rehabilitation work are done before raining season commences.



“We can’t afford to have that road in that condition this year. Things are bad enough in the country. This is the main artery moving petroleum products, foods from the North to the South. We have no choice but to make sure that the road is open to traffic. These are short term measures.”



“I want to thank the Honourable Minister for Works and Housing for the concern he has shown to us on the State of Federal roads. Same time last year when I cried for help about the deplorable State of our roads ahead of the rainy season, we didn’t get this kind of response. That is why we have to deal with the terrible road situation during and after the rains.



Obaseki said, “I believe that the Minister has shown enough sensitivity to iur plight. He has come to us ahead of the heavy rains to see what we can do and what palliative measures can be put in place in some of these federal roads. I believe that once we take some of these steps, the situation can’t be as bad as we experienced last year.



“The Minister has raised several issues. First is because of our position as a State with a unique location. We have a very large network of federal roads across the State. We are perhaps one of the few states with the largest extent of federal roads. But our citizens will always argue that they are not federal citizens but citizens of Edo and Nigeria using these roads. It’s important we come together, work together and build these roads.



“In working together, we have to remove the encumbrances which are the way we contract to build the roads, the people we used to build these roads, the materials used as well.”



On the way forward, the governor said, “We need to use more sustainable local materials instead of using expensive asphalt. We should now think of using sustainable local materials. We produce cement and steel. We have no reason why we should not begin to move towards using concrete in building our roads for it to last long.



“As part of the long term measures, the road should be concessioned. We will be discussing it with the Minister on Tuesday. Our focus is that the road must and should be concessioned as we can’t continue to accept what is going on anymore.



“You have contracts for almost 20 years but we have not been able to make progress, please hand over that road to us, let us concession it to people that have the money as we have done with the Benin-Asaba Road. We believe working with the private sector we can be able to raise the money to dualise the road. Before the end of this year we would push for the concession of the road and would try to achieve this before leaving office.



The Minister for works, Engr David Umahi commended the Governor Obaseki for his commitment to make life better for Edo people, adding that the President directed him to take a look at the performance of contractors, adding that anyone that has performed below expectation will be sacked.



“The federal government has issued warning letters to some contractors who are not living up to expectations and failures to meet up will lead to termination of contract.



I commend governor Obaseki for his concern about the state of roads in Edo State. I worked with the governor throughout the night and I have seen his commitment to his people. He spoke with BUA, Dangote and invited them for a meeting on Tuesday.


“I commend you very highly for your work especially on concrete roads. It means you mean well for Edo people. You are a private driven person and your commitment to the State is commercial and we see a lot of returns on investments and until we run a government like the private sector, we will not make much success.”

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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