By Augustine Osayande
In my professional capacity, it is imperative to express a reluctance towards narratives that tend to target personalities instead of addressing pertinent issues. Nevertheless, this engagement with an open letter directed at Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu from the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, representing Orhionmwon Local Government Area in the Edo State Executive Council, has left me compelled to dissect the content without dismissing it outright.
Titled “OPEN LETTER TO PASTOR OSAGIE IZE IYAMU,” the letter, penned by Nehikhare, draws attention to the commendable feat of documenting all political appointees from our Local Government—a practice worthy of archival for future references.
The crux of Nehikhare’s missive revolves around the assertion that Governor Obaseki has ushered in significant development and impactful projects in Orhionmwon Local Government Area, thereby benefiting the populace and enhancing the lives of thousands of residents.
While Nehikhare contends that Obaseki’s legacies in the area are beyond reproach, I cannot help but approach this claim with a degree of skepticism.
Particularly, Nehikhare’s assertion that Governor Obaseki facilitated the establishment of the Energy Park in Egbokor Community appears to be a fallacy. Contrary to the claim, the Energy Park is part of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park being developed by the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). The overarching goal is to promote a cluster model of production, fostering collaboration among enterprises to enhance productivity, efficiency, and competition. It is crucial to emphasize that similar parks are being developed across all Niger Delta States by the NCDMB.
During the test run of the Modular Refinery in the Energy Park, Governor Obaseki pledged to provide necessary road infrastructure and address the educational and healthcare needs of the area. In light of this commitment, I challenge Nehikhare to present evidence showcasing the current state of the road, schools, and healthcare facilities in Egbokor Community.
Nehikhare highlighted the refurbishment of several classroom blocks as a noteworthy accomplishment of Governor Obaseki in Orhiomnwon Local Government. However, specific details regarding the current student and faculty statistics were not provided, despite the claim that the school has become one of the best in the country. Additionally, there was a lack of information regarding the accreditation status of the various programmes offered at the college by the National Commission for College of Education. During my visit to Abudu in 2023, I observed that specific sections of the institution were overlooked, giving rise to an aesthetic reminiscent of a conventional forest.
This was notably in contrast to the vibrant condition observed in the surrounding areas, exemplified by the well-maintained state of my village’s Oheze-Nake traditional cemetery.
According to Mr. Nehikhare, Governor Obaseki has successfully transformed Orhionmwon into a significant gas and petrochemical hub, with the local government now hosting more than four prominent oil and gas companies. It is a commendable accomplishment, and in the spirit of transparency in this digital era, I respectfully urge him to disclose the names and precise geographical locations of these companies. Such information would be valuable for geo-referencing purposes and could be cross-referenced with the latest available financial statements.
Regrettably, Mr. Nehikhare’s attempt to highlight Governor Obaseki’s purported accomplishments in Orhionmwon Local Government seems to have encountered a misstep. Specifically, his reference to individual oil palm farms as state government achievements raises questions. To provide a more accurate representation of the governor’s impact, I encourage Mr. Nehikhare to elaborate on the government interventions that these farmers have benefited from.
Additionally, it would be insightful to know the number of farmers in Orhionmwon who have reaped the rewards of such government interventions. This level of detail would contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the true impact of Governor Obaseki’s initiatives in the local community.
Finally, Mr. Nehikhare highlighted a bill passed by the State House of Assembly in September 2022 and the Ossiomo Power Plant situated at Ologbo in the Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area as Governor Obaseki’s accomplishments in Orhionmwon Local Government. However, crucial data regarding the number of communities in the local government that benefited from the government’s outgoing electricity program was not provided.
In conclusion, while Nehikhare’s open letter provides a valuable record of political appointments, critical scrutiny is essential when evaluating claims related to the development attributed to Governor Obaseki in Orhionmwon Local Government Area. It is essential to respectfully point out to Mr. Nehikhare that his name has been included with other politicians in his Open Letter who were granted the opportunity to represent our esteemed local government but have, unfortunately, fallen short of meeting the expectations of the people.
Osayande, PhD, contributed this piece from Abuja via email@example.com