Contracts Award In Edo Transparent – Ogie | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Contracts Award In Edo Transparent – Ogie

Posted: Jun 19, 2015 at 12:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Barrister Osarodion Ogie is the Edo State Commissioner for Works. In this interview with ISAAC OLAMIKAN, he speaks on the extent of work done in the state and plans to do much more before the expiration of the tenure of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the governor of the state. Excerpts…

It is not unusual for government to put on hold some of its projects when its tenure is winding up. But in Edo State the reverse seems to be the case. The state government is currently doing more projects even as the tenure of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is coming to an end. What is the force behind this?

Osarodion Ogie

Osarodion Ogie

Yes, we need to make the statement that we’re a different government. This government is prepared to work until the last day of the administration. That a government is winding up does not mean that projects should wind down. Government is a continuum. Wherever we stop the next government would take-off from there. It is as simple as that. Thus, it mean that because a government is winding up governance should be on holiday? If that is what other people do that is not our way. We’ll continue to work until the last day of this administration.


What is the situation like in the Ekenwan – Ugbuyoko Road axis? Before the commencement of the raining season bulldozers littered the road but, as it were now, the bulldozers cannot be seen there anymore. So, what is the situation now? Is Ekenwan –Ugbuyoko Road under reconstruction?

What we did there was a palliative work. Just like we did in Ihama, Boundary and Adesuwa Grammar School Road. We didn’t carry out full reconstruction. We took the bad spot and we fixed it because we didn’t have resources to do full construction. So, what we’re doing in second is a full construction; Upper Mission, Upper Siluko Road, Erediauwa Road we’re are reconstructing the roads. But what we did in Ekenwan Road is a palliative. The failed sections, you take them and fixed them. After fixing them do you keep your tractors there? Ekenwan Road is one of the roads that have been fully designed. But to do the construction will cost over N5billion. We don’t have such an amount now. So, what do we do? You look at the failed section and you fix it until you have the resources to do full construction. We intend to do full construction with walkways and street lights. Like I said, all that will cost over N5billion. You’ll agree with me that such an amount of money is not available now. That is why we took the bad spot and we fixed it. The same thing with Adesuwa Road. To do Adesuwa Road up to Upper Adesuwa, with the side drains, street lights and walkways, it is over N4billion. But are we going to wait for that? Are we going to say until we get N4billion our people should continue to suffer? We say no. We take the other alternative. We rehabilitate it; make it passable for the people may be for about four years until the necessary resources are gotten, then full construction can be done.


What Goodwill and other adjoining roads?

All those areas we have done our measurements, we have done our costing, including Ererie Road and James Wyatt. We have done the costing of all those roads preparatory to reconstruction but if the resources are not available what do you do? You begin to source for it until you are able to get something. Then you start somewhere. The last time we went on a tour of the storm water project we had the impression that it would soon be completed. That work is not under my ministry. So, I would not be able to tell you what percentage of work has been done presently. But I know that the work is ongoing. We have never stopped work there one day. But the extent of the work I would not be able to tell you because I am not directly in charge and I do not get daily report on that project. It is under the Ministry of Environment.


What of the critical areas? How has work been going on to address them?

You have not even asked me any critical area. The only thing you have talked about is Ekenwan Road. Is that the critical area for you? Are you aware that we are working Abudu? Are you aware that we are walking in Okpella? So, is Edo State limited to only Benin City? You come and say that we are not working in Edo Central. The 10 kilometres of road that we are doing in Abudu Township compare that with doing 25 kilometres in (Edo) Central. Is it the same? All the roads that we are doing in Erediauwa, the 25 roads, they are less than 10 kilometres. So, you see that and say we are not doing anything in Esan. So why will anybody say that we are not working much in central?


What is the magic behind Edo’s judicious management of resources?

The comrade governor cut down on recurrent expenditure. That is the cost of running government, maintaining government officials. He cut down everything so that there would be enough money for capital projects. There was a strong drive for tax collection. People were abusing him over it but today they are seeing the benefit of paying their taxes and they are encouraged to come forward to pay taxes. The truth is that government has no other means of making money except through taxes. That is the one that we are sure of. Oil revenue can come today, tomorrow you won’t get it. You cannot plan based on oil revenue. But you can plan on the amount of taxes you collect every month. That one is the one that you are sure of. We have done our planning in a way that we are able to fund our projects. Whereas, other people are crying over non-payment of salary we are celebrating the flagging-off, the continuation and completion of capital projects. Look at the Central Hospital; how many state governments can undertake such a project at this time? Look at second east circular road, go and see the quality of work and the drain. How many state governments can take on that type of project at this time? Go to Okpella, we are working. Go to Abudu, we are working etc. These are projects worth billions of naira. Give it to this government, when it comes to resource management you cannot beat it. The opposition has always complained that the government does not disclose how much it expends on projects. There is a Public Information Act. You want information concerning any project, you know where to go. Every project has a contract and every contract has an agreement. And in every contract agreement the amount of that contract is stated. If they want to know they know where to go.  They know the process that is involved in getting government information. Have they applied for this information and they were not given?


So, are we expecting more contracts? More road construction?

Let me tell you straight away. As at today we have over twenty roads fully designed. Like I said before, Edo State is still work in progress. The comrade governor is hungry every day to do more for this state. It is a matter of availability of resources. If the resources improve you’ll see more jobs. Be rest assured that no job started by this administration will be abandoned.