Following the video that went viral on Saturday of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s convoy stranded in the middle of a heavy flood in Benin City, the Edo State capital, the governor on Sunday came out to give reasons why he was left stranded along with some residents of the state.
Obaseki said: “I was on Sapele Road recently. After the heavy downpour, the road was impassable. What is going on in Benin-Sapele Road is scandalous. I don’t think that any region where the oil resources that sustain the country come from should be neglected. We have done everything possible. We don’t know what to do again to draw the attention of the federal government to these roads”, he said.
He stressed that the state government cannot fix the Benin-Auchi and Benin-Sapele roads because the Federal Government has awarded contracts for its repair.
Obaseki further said that it is worrisome that major Federal road networks in the state, which connect several parts of the country are in such deplorable state.
“Look at the incident that happened on Ovia River Bridge three weeks ago, in which we lost several lives following multiple accidents. Nothing has been done till now. This shows they don’t care about us in the State.
“The issue on the Benin-Lagos Road, particularly the Ovia River Crossing is becoming catastrophic. We have lost a lot of lives and done everything to get the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Works to work with us and put in place a palliative measure to stop the carnage on that road”, he slammed.
Recall that the incident occurred at the Ugbowo major highway after a heavy rainfall. The area is well known to be prone to flooding, and in the past, motorists and other road users have been stranded. According to residents, constant calls to the government of the state to work on the road have gone unanswered.
In the viral video the background (male) voice said, “When we told the government to fix the road, they were busy filling the potholes with broken blocks. They think they are suffering the masses. Now it is payback time as the masses are not the only ones suffering the collapse of this road.
“The governor is the one inside the vehicle but it has stopped moving. This is his vehicle (pointing at it), he cannot come down as he is ashamed. Everyone (both the poor and the rich) is feeling the brunt of bad policies in the country,” he added.
Obaseki said that the state has often drawn the attention of the federal government to the bad road in the state but nothing has changed.
“Last year, the Benin-Auchi Road was locked for about two weeks as food, animals, and petroleum products could not reach their destination. We don’t want such situations this year so they should help us. We are not here to criticize them but to appeal for help.”
He noted that in the past, states could rehabilitate Federal roads and give the Federal Government the bills, but that is no longer the case.
“At a point, they said we can apply and take over the repair of federal roads but I am yet to see a state they have given federal roads to fix,” he informed.