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Revisiting the Edo property tax law

You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg-English Idiom
WHEN Governor Adams Oshiomhole mounted the saddle as Governor of Edo State in November 2008, he met Edo in a sorry state.

Infrastructure was in shambles. The roads were impassable; schools were not even fit for chickens; the state-owned hospitals and health centres were at best death centres; industries were shut and non-functional; unemployment was at its highest level as previous governments had imposed a freeze on fresh employment; workers and pensioners were owed months and months of arrears; water was a scarce resource in parts of the state, especially, Edo Central and the state was bleeding from corrupt practices from those who were at the helm.

What the Governor did was to first plug the loophole of corruption and reversed the trend when recurrent votes outweighed capital votes.

In his four years in office, Oshiomhole has lived up to his promise to the people of the state that the decay in which the previous government left the state would be reversed.

Today, the promises have been fulfilled and the people now see that government can really work for the people. The success story of the Oshiomhole administration is felt in all parts of the state, from Benin City the state capital to Ososo in Akoko Edo; from Uromi in Esan North-East to Ozalla in Owan West the report is the same: Oshiomhole is working.

Roads are being constructed across the three senatorial districts that some say Edo is now a giant construction site; schools are being rebuilt with red aluminum roofs, PVC ceilings, tiled floors, aluminum windows and white board making public schools in the state comparable to anyone anywhere in the world; flood which used to be a perennial problem in Benin City, the state capital, is now being tackled through a comprehensive storm water master plan; water problem in parts of the state, especially Edo Central where the water level is low and the topography difficult is now being tackled as water now flows in Ekpoma, Iruekpen and other parts of Edo Central which had no water for upwards of 35 years. The water problem is being tackled by the high-tech dando water drilling rigs which can drill for up to 1,500 metres.

In the area of hospitals, the mother and child hospital at Ewohinmi, Auchi, Otuo stands out as standard general hospital which can be compared with anyone anywhere in the country, and work on the 5-Star 120-bed hospital Complex at the Central Hospital would have been completed but for an unfortunate setback.

The work the Governor is doing across the state has no doubt attracted comments from far and wide, from the clergy to the experts from the trader to the ordinary man on the street.

To the Chief Imam of Benin, Alhaji Abdul-Fattah Enabulele, “the new Edo state is working and in all directions, there are landmark changes taking place.”

The World Bank in its assessment of Oshiomhole’s government through its Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said: “I have done my homework before coming and I have noticed that Edo state’s social indicators are above the national average. I would like to commend you on your performance and to encourage you to continue because you can certainly do even more”

Her predecessor, Mr. Onno Ruhl had this to say: “We believe that Edo State is one of the states in Nigeria where the willingness to change is the fastest in Nigeria.”

For the traders at the New Lagos Street area of the state capital led by their President, Mr. David Ohenhen: “We appreciate what the Governor is doing in the state and we will give him full support.”

A respected Benin Chief, Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, Isekhure of Benin on his part said: “There is no person in the history of Bendel and Edo States that has performed so well as Oshiomhole. For the first time in the history of Edo state, market women pray every day that God will help Oshiomhole sustain the level of development.”

Now to meet the expectation of the people by sustaining the development and even propel the state to a higher level, the governor must have the financial resources at his disposal.

The monthly handout from the federation account from Abuja will not do the magic the people want in the transformation of the state.

What is required of a right-thinking government to look at ways of generating revenue internally to fund projects in the state. This the Governor has done.

Now, the Governor has passed into law the Land Use Charge or the Property Law, which is already applicable in many countries of the world and some states in the country.

According to Wikipedia, “a property tax (or millage tax) is a levy on property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state, a county/region, or a municipality.”

Mr. SAMUEL EGUAIKHIDE, a commentator on national  issues, wrote from Ekpoma, Edo State.


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