By Ehi Akhigbemudu
DESPITE the economic meltdown, theÂ dwindlingÂ oil resources due to a lull in the global oil market and the ongoing genocide in the Niger Delta region, the comrade governor of EdoÂ StateÂ Adams Oshiomhole still derives joy in junketing around Nigeria in chartered flights.
It is disheartening to note that barely eight months in office our only homegrown comrade governor was reported in The Week magazine of June 1, 2009 to have spent severalÂ million of tax payers money on chartering flights.
This writer wept for “The Heartbeat ofÂ the Nation” which unarguably is the poorest among the Niger Delta states with its monthly allocation barely N1.9 billion. The new tax regime has not even helped matters though the comrade had told whoever cares to listen that his missionÂ is to take from the rich and give to the poor.
Today, for you to run a hospital or aÂ private school you must either be a millionaire or forget venturing into such an investment. If one may ask, is it not the rich who provide investments that employ the poor?
If taxation is primarily designed to make the rich poor in Edo State and make the poor rich then the â€œOshiomonicâ€ principles must have been designed from heaven as this may eventually chase away the investors that the administration has been searching for since it came into existence last November.
If each flight chartered costs as much as N1.8 million per hour as reported by The Week magazine then the state will definitely continueÂ to wear its ancient look for the next three years and four months because over N400 million will be spent on air travels alone. The rains are here and the streets of Benin City are already showcasing what they are known for â€“ floods.
The educational sectorÂ has remained the way his predecessor Senator Oserheimen Osunbor left it. All the over 27 roads he worked on are all begging for attention while the current number one citizen junkets from one zone of the country to the other in the name of solidarity.
Somebody somewhere should advise our amiable comrade that unionism and governance are poles apart, that they are both strange bedfellows.
This writer was still weeping over The Week’s story when the following week the Source magazine described the stateâ€™s pace of development as being â€œin perpetual slow motionâ€.
In the 18 months his predecessor, Senator Oserheiemen Osunbor stayed in Government House he avoided such luxuries as he rarely travelled by chartered flight.
Canâ€™t the comrade take a cue from this gentleman? For the 18 months he went abroad twice, the first time was when he was on leave and the other to attend Edo Convention in the USA.
Edo people are waiting for the many promises made by the comrade governor who won his election in the Appeal Court.
Mr. Akhigbemudu, a public affairs analyst, writes from Ekpoma, Edo State.