The Benin National Congress has been criticized by leaders of thought from Edo North Senatorial District for accusing the Minister of the Niger Delta, Abubakar Momoh, and the state leader of the All Progressive Party, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, of marginalizing Edo South Senatorial District in political appointments and projects allocation.
The BNC had alleged that Edo South was being sidelined because Momoh and Oshiomhole belong to the same ethnic group in Edo North. The BNC had also filed a petition and complaint against the duo.
However, Vanguard reported that the leaders of thought from Edo North, in a statement released on Thursday, said that the BNC’s claim was baseless and unfounded. They said that Edo South had enjoyed more political positions and projects than Edo North in the past and present.
The statement, signed by former Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Honourable Godswill Eshieshi; Alhaji Musa Sule and former Organising Secretary (South South) of APC, said that Edo South should not expect to get equal or more political appointments than Edo North, as it had lost the last Senatorial and Presidential elections to the Labour Party.
They said that political appointments are based on the performance and patronage of the political party in each region, and that Edo South had engaged in anti-party activities in the last general elections. They said that accusing Momoh and Oshiomhole of playing ethnic card was akin to giving a dog bad name in order to hang it.
They also listed some of the projects executed by the former Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire, who is from Edo South, such as equipping the University of Benin Teaching Hospital with modern facilities, establishing a modern Orthopedic Hospital, and constructing the Benin/Abraka road in conjunction with the state government.
They said that these projects showed that Edo South was not being marginalized, and that the BNC should respect the Royal father and the good people of Edo South by withdrawing their petition and complaint.
The statement read in part, “On the Appointments:EDSOPADEC Board Chairman, Pastor Kennedy Osifo is from Edo South and most of the Commissioners are all from Edo South. Also, 97% of the projects are sited in Edo South. The immediate past Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere is from Edo South. Edo state representative in the current NDDC Board, Hon. Patrick Aisowieren is from Edo South. Edo State representative in Federal Civil Service Commission Hon. Henry Idahagbon is from Edo south. • Edo state representative in Federal Character Commission Prof.Festus Imuetinyan is from Edo South.
“Mr Enorense Amadasu, Executive Commissioner (Development and production) Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission is also from Edo South.
“Every part of Edo state is also a part of Niger Delta region but Edo North especially, Etsako Central, Okpella and Ibie of Etsako East axis haven’t seen NNDC and the ministry of Niger Delta developmental projects since the creations of the Commission and the ministry.
“The Minister is for all Niger Delta people, the area and should be encouraged to carry all along to give every part the sense of belonging.
“The Minister understand that, Edo state is the most homogeneous state and will always judiciously dispense what is best for the people of Edo, and the entire Niger Delta.
“Therefore, this petition and complaint by the Benin National Congress is uncalled for.
“On this note, we call on all Edolites to join hands on deck with the Honorable minister, Alh. Abubakar Momoh, Distinguished Senator, Adams Oshiomhole and the state leader of our party, to move the state in particular and the Niger Delta region in general forward.
“Since the Honorable Minister of Niger Delta assumed office, no appointment has been made in the ministry. The Honorable Minister toured the region with a view of consulting with the stakeholders of the region, inspection of projects and also to have a first hand knowledge of abandoned, ongoing and completed projects.
“The tour of the region has availed the Honorable minister the opportunity to interact with the critical stakeholders of the region and also carry out the needs assessment of the region which has enabled him present his budget to the National Assembly.”