Black Out in Benin City and the Hypocrisy of the State Government
Electricity in Nigeria has been a major problem from time immemorial. From the first republic till date, the political class has always swayed voters with the promise that poor electricity supply would become a thing of the past when they are elected. Many administrations have come and gone; still, the problem persists.
In recent times, Benin City has grown from bad to worse as far as electricity supply is concerned. The nightlife of this ancient city has been completely crippled. This is because of the obscure darkness the city is usually thrown into as soon as the natural light goes down. With the present state of electricity supply in the city, the plight of the citizens can better be imagined than experienced. Sadly, the situation has given those that love to work under the cloak of darkness the opportunity to wreak havoc on unsuspecting citizens in the city.
When the Edo State Governor spoke tough to the Management of the electricity handlers in the state, and even walked the manager out of his office, (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/11/obaseki-walks-bedc-md-out-of-his-office-for-throwing-state-into-darkness/), I was one of those that took to the media space to commend the Governor and applaud him to high heavens, thinking he was sincere about it. Howbeit, the events that followed shows that the whole drama was just him playing to the gallery as the general elections were drawing close. It is obvious the whole theatrics was staged to get sympathy from Edolites by making them believe his efforts were being frustrated by external forces. And for once, I fell for it and did not pay attention to the “blame trade” symptom, which happens to be the trademark of the Governor’s party, the APC!
A replay of the whole scenario would make one ask several critical questions in order to understand the hypocritical underlinings of the situation.
Firstly, it was this same electricity management that the Governor’s party (with the majority in the house) passed a vote of confidence on, extolling and commending their activities in the state. After they passed that vote of confidence, did the Governor chide them for taking such an unpopular step? I am not privy to any if there was.
Secondly, the State Assembly House Committee on Power, (that is being chaired by Christopher Okaeben) was indicted by a civil society group in the state over an alleged thirteen million Naira (13m) bribe from BEDC. (https://obhiaba.com/osazee-edigin-accuses-chris-okaeben-md-igbas-of-bedc-13milllion-naira-bribe/). The group carried out several street protests to make this allegation known to the public. In the end, what did the Governor do about it? Nothing! The issue was not even considered within the party structure to find out if it was true or false. So much for a concerned Governor!
Thirdly, in the infamous “walk out” drama, the Governor obviously sent a message to the world that the power sector in the state was moribund. However, he did not send out the committee chairman, whose oversight function include ensuring the handlers of the electricity of the state were living up to expectation. Neither did he at any time query the committee for being ‘too soft’ on BEDC. The chairman of the state assembly committee on power was still seated while the management staff members of the electricity distributor in the state were walked out. (https://youtu.be/iNzWvADsfHM).
Now, the Governor went on to campaign for the incumbent State of Assembly members in the just concluded (s)election, telling us that he needs them to “do more”. Edo people should know that the “more” the governor was talking about is “more” politics instead of policies that will help the people, “more” loyalty to some persons at the detriment of the larger populace, “more” MOUs without action, and “more” promises and social media achievements without physical proofs.
The Governor should know this deception has an expiry date. What he allows to happen under his watch in the name of “party politics” is what posterity will use to judge him. Our consolation as a people is that Osadebey Avenue is not the permanent residence of anyone, as all her occupants are only tenants for a maximum of eight (8) years! He should stop the hypocrisy and face governance sincerely.
Social Watcher, Edo State
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.