Don Ofure Osehobo
In most parts of Benin City, today, the fear of rains is the beginning of wisdom. The reason is that whenever it rains, almost every part of the city gets flooded and residences are turned into swamps; some for days and weeks and others, months. As a result, tales of woe fill the lips of most residents as flood waters envelope their homes, overwhelm the surroundings, and destroy properties like cars, and household items like furniture among others.
Few years ago, the Edo State government revived the Benin City Masterplan and articulated the Storm water project to deal with the perennial problems of flooding and erosion. The project was designed to channel the flood waters through artificial underground canals. However, Governor Godwin Obaseki rather than continuing with the project, abandoned it. Unfortunately too, the PDP of which he is now a member has never articulated any plan for the flood menace in the state capital or the other communities. It will be therefore be disastrous for the state, if the party finds itself back in power.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Edo APC governorship candidate in this year’s election has a solution for this erosion and flood menace, which is a source of concern, not only for residents in the state capital but the entire state. He has aptly captioned and enunciated it under the heading, “Infrastructure Development and Urban Renewal Programme” in his Manifesto of Hope called Simple Agenda. With this plan, the new Edo state with Pastor Ize-Iyamu as Chief Executive, will adopt an integrated approach with new ways of building public works systems that is both cost and resource effective.
As part of his commitment, he will review the Benin Storm Water Project for speedy completion to ensure that the problem of perennial flooding in the state capital is taken care of. In addition, major erosion reclamation projects and sites in the state will be diligently tackled to their completion stage while his government honours all outstanding obligations to the World Bank and other relevant agencies.
This is will be backed up with the provision of both primary and secondary drains to accompany roads, to ensure the proper channelization of floodwaters to appropriate receptacles instead of the present practice where floodwaters are directed to residential or inhabited areas .
Towards this end, all the major roads and streets within Benin City and the 18 local government headquarters will be asphalted and in most cases, accompanied with walkways, drains and streetlights, in an unprecedented urban renewal scheme. The walkways plan to include bicycle tracks so as to encourage cycling, as most distances within the metropolis can be embarked on with bicycles as roads should be for all users and not motorists alone. In what the Simple Agenda envisage, even car owners would wish to own bicycles. This also will infuse a new culture for the environment and lead to bicycle plants/job creation and a reduction in fuel consumption. The idea is to bring what has worked well in China, Holland and the Scandinavian countries to Edo state. This will also help in no small way to erase the misconception that bicycles are for the poor.
On the reconstruction and rehabilitation of existing road networks in the state, the Simple Agenda objective is to bring many of Edo’s neglected communities back to life by building strategic roads, to link them with Highways or Express roads so they serve as alternative routes, when necessary.
As for Local Government roads, the agenda has a policy plan for collaboration between Local Government Council Chairmen and the State Government. This will be achieved by restoring autonomy to Local Governments in Edo state, so they can be encouraged to spend significant percentage of their allocations on road rehabilitation. In more specific terms, adequate funding will be extended to roads and drains at the local government areas, such that 10km of asphalted roads with accompanying road infrastructure will be constructed in each of the 18 Local Government Councils. Also the State Government under the leadership of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu will construct an average of 300km of roads to link major towns with the state capital. In addition, under the Simple Agenda, communities shall be encouraged to embark on self-help projects to which the LGAs and the state government shall contribute meaningfully.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu as a youth, saw this strategy working successfully during the period Dr Samuel Ogbemudia’s administration held sway in the good old days of Bendel State. His government will resuscitate this approach and take it to the highest level of community awareness and active participation.
With regards to all existing road construction projects, Pastor Ize-Iyamu hopes to complete all of them. With the Simple Agenda, he deliberately plan to create new towns and settlements around Benin City. He also plans a second bridge to link Upper St. Saviour and Ikpoba Hill not only to reduce traffic bottlenecks on the Ikpoba Hill axis and Murtala Muhammed Way junction of Sokponba road but also to boost commercial and industrial activities in the area.
The Simple Agenda also contains the plan to extend the Airport Road beyond the Iyekogba bridge to Evbuodia Utagba Village to join Ekenwan Barrack Road by Ojemai Farms. This means that all vehicles coming to Ring Road from Ekenwan Barrack, Ugbine, and even Ugbiyoko axis will access the Ring Road through his extended Evbuodia/Airport Road.
To ensure that all the projects for erosion and flood control, road construction and rehabilitation remain in good conditions all year round, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu will send a bill for the establishment of the Edo State Road Maintenance Agency to the State legislature. When established the agency, will have full complements of earth moving equipment at its state capital headquarters and all zonal offices in each of the three Senatorial Districts. The agency in collaboration with the State Ministry of Works, will have full responsibility for continuous road maintenance and rehabilitation across the state. The objective is reduce cases of road failures and the huge costs of fixing them.
From the above, it is obvious that the objective of the infrastructure development and urban renewal programme in the Simple Agenda is to bequeath to Edo state, durable physical structures and facilities that will promote decent living standards. Moreover, the deliberate policy is to eliminate waste and bequeath a state-of-the-art infrastructure across the state that will be affordable to maintain so that future generations of Edolites can utilize it and be proud of it.
Ofure Osehobo, a journalist writes from Benin City.
FG Extends Kaduna-Abuja Train Resumption
The Ministry of Transportation, on Sunday, in Kaduna, extended the resumption date for the Kaduna-Abuja train Service
Recall that the train service was suspended in March 2022, after bandits attacked its passengers, killed 25, wounded several others and Kidnapped over 50 passengers.
However, early this month, the federal government had promised that the Kaduna-Abuja train service would resume before the end of November.
But the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, while on inspection tour to examine its readiness for operation before the commencement of operations, said certain things needed to be in place before resumption.
He said the FG has introduced a new system of purchasing tickets, which he said is the beginning of security checks that would assist the government to know who boards the train at every point in time.
Although he declined speaking on the actual resumption date, but assured the public that it wouldn’t be far from now.
Dangote Plans Fresh 300,000 Jobs For Nigerians
Africa’s foremost industrialist, Aliko Dangote, is optimistic that the new multibillion naira investment in the sugar sub-sector would help provide no fewer than 300,000 jobs in Nigeria.
A statement from the Corporate Communication Department of the company quoted the Group’s President Aliko Dangote as saying that the company was providing fresh funds and thus expanding its operations in the sugar sub-sector.
Mr Dangote, who was speaking at the Flagg off Ceremony of the 2022/2023 Crushing Season and Outgrower Scheme Awards in Numan, Adamawa State, said the opportunities would include both direct and indirect jobs.
Dangote, who is Africa’s top philanthropist, expressed optimism that the massive investment will create over 300,000 jobs for Nigerians.
He said, “We are making a massive investment in Adamawa State through expansion of DSR Numan’s sugar refining capacity from 3000tcd to 6000tcd, 9800tcd, and to 15,000tcd. DSR will be able to create about three hundred thousand jobs, direct and indirect, with positive multiplier effects on the economy nationwide.”
The Dangote Group is the biggest employer of labour in Nigeria outside the government.
Dangote was appointed Chairman, National Job Creation Committee in 2010 to assist the Federal Government in providing more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
The Dangote President had also announced that his company was doubling its spending on CSR schemes in host communities in Adamawa State, the location of its 32,000 hectares integrated sugar complex.
Speaking in Numan, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, described the Dangote Sugar Refinery as the biggest contributor to the development of the sugar development effort of the Federal Government.
The Minister also commended Mr Dangote for the massive support through his Corporate Social Responsibility scheme.
In the same vein, the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals is expected to create some 250,000 job opportunities when completed next year.
Already, Dangote Cement Plc is one of Africa’s biggest job providers in the manufacturing sector.
Igbos Inaugurate Biafra House In US, Give Reasons
Igbos residing in the United States, US, have inaugurated the Biafra House in Oxon Hill in Maryland, Washington DC.
It was gathered that the Biafra House was inaugurated to serve people who believe in Biafra and friends of the nation.
This was authoritatively disclosed to DAILY POST by a source.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The Biafra House is officially opened for business to the public, including Government Administrative Matters, Diplomatic Protocol, International Relations, and Security, amongst others.”
The Biafra House was formed to help Igbos in the US and Diaspora interact with the international community.
According to the source: “The Biafra House will be interacting and providing services to local, as well as governments and the International community through partnerships, pending when the United Nations and other world bodies may compel the government of Nigeria to effect a plebiscite for Biafran people.
“Biafra House is where Biafrans in the United States and the World can seek Diplomatic and Consular services, as it’s open for five business days a week and within the New York time zone.”
“Again, The Biafra House will be interacting and providing services to local, as well as governments and the International community through partnerships, pending when the United Nations and other world bodies may compel the Fulani government of Nigeria to effect a plebiscite for Biafran people.”
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