By Simon Ebegbulem
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, may have taken the bull by the horn following his apparent determination to combat the age-long flood ravaging a number of communities in metropolitan Benin-City, the capital. Using his government’s Storm Water initiative to tackle the perennial flooding from the Okhoro River, Oshiomhole, at a recent inspection of the project site, described the on-going drainage facility as rock solid to resist flooding of whatever magnitude. According to him, “the width of the drainage is about 26ft wide and about 8ft high. What this means is that no matter the quantity of water that passes through this area, the inhabitants need not fear anymore.
The water will pass through the drainage to the river. As we are in the dry season now, we want to quickly rush and do some work on this drainage. As there was no drainage before now, the flood coming from Okhoro through this area wasn’t properly channelled and it led to the destruction of houses, most persons fled, abandoning their houses and some even died.
That is why we decided to do the work and the last time we did it up to the bridge and everybody said we had to continue with the job. With the rains then, we couldn’t continue and I did say we will continue once the dry season comes and you can see how the drainage is now. We need to do this drainage to de-flood the city so that during the next rainy season, people in this area don’t have to be afraid. The only favour I demand of you as community leaders is to police the place and ensure people don’t dump waste into it so it doesn’t get blocked.”
Decrying activities of the opposition and citing other efforts of government towards infrastructural development of the state, some of the residents of Ikpoba Okha local government area showered praises on the Governor arguing that the Storm Water project will solve the flooding problem permanently. A resident Ewah street in the area, Mr. Godwin Tom Osunde, told Oshiomhole that, “I am a common man and I am over 65 years now but I have never seen a governor like you. Look at the 2nd East Circular Road, since I was born, nobody, no government has ever remembered the 2nd East Circular.
Those people talking are noise makers; they share money for people to do evil but you have stood steadfast to help the masses. The sky will be your limit and you will live to inherit your inheritance, and please, bring somebody that will continue with your work by the time you are leaving.” Another resident, Mr. Bello Ogbemudia, said that, “you are the best Governor we have ever had. We see what you have done and we appreciate, sir. This area had almost turned to a moat but today, it is a different story altogether.
We pray that whoever you bring out after your tenure will do even better than you have done and we will give him our maximum support.” In the Upper Lawani area of the state, a resident of the area, Mrs. Janet Agbonze, who said she had suffered the impact of flooding for over 20 years said that, “water entered my house in April last year and I had no one to help me. Then I heard you were coming to repair this road and thank God, today, you have remembered us in this area. You have done so much for us, and as you have remembered us, so will God remember you.”
Responding to the show of gratitude from the people, Oshiomhole said that in spite of what he described as unwarranted attacks from the opposition, he was determined to continue to execute meaningful projects for the benefit of the generality of the people. As he put it, “by God’s grace, we will continue to work and when I see you gathered like this, singing and rejoicing, I am happy. When women pray for you from their hearts, it works effectively. The only thing I want to plead with you is this. This drainage costs us lot of money and you can see the quality of the work. You shouldn’t allow anyone to throw dirt inside it because if they block it, rain will enter people’s houses but when it is kept clean and dirt-free, it will be for your benefit. From now till my last day in office, this government will continue to work for the people.