By WILFRED JIBRIL just back from Edo State
From the voting pattern in the just concluded general elections in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, it is an incontestable fact that the people are not in a hurry to extricate themselves from the captivity of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) represents.
Predictably, APC ‘won’ the 24 House of Assembly seats in the state. The ‘victory’ of APC in the election is not as a result of the performance of its government, but simply because the party was smarter than others in vote buying.
Despite the myriad of monumental socio-economic adversities besetting the people, at the end of the election, we were told APC won all the 24 seats in the state House of Assembly.
On the eve of the election, the residence of Senator Domingo Obende became a Mecca of sorts as party chieftains and faithful converged there feasting. EDO VOICE sighted the official PILOT car of the Chairman of the council, Hon. Don Oteh Umoru conveying some fire woods to the residence of the senator whose tenure at the senate was a disaster as he didn’t attract any development to his constituency.
According to my source, rice and drinks were in abundant supply, with everybody eating and drinking to stupor, after which they got financial handouts.
EDO VOICE gathered that N500 was to be paid every voter after casting their votes for APC, but they were later paid N300 each while Imoga voters got N200 each.
In the Presidential and National Assembly elections, those who voted for APC at Imoga got N1,500 each while those who voted for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got N700 each, according to my sources.
In other parts of Edo State, some voters got N2,000 each for voting for APC in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The road leading to his residence from Otaru Road, off Technical College road, to Obende Street and Domingo Avenue where his house is located, is deplorable and very dusty.
It was gathered that the residents are always booing him each time he is being driven through the area in his PILOT car.
EDO VOICE visited the area in a casual outfit disguised as a passerby, but couldn’t photograph the scene because of the presence of armed policemen in front of the senator’s house.
It was also gathered that the strategy for ‘winning’ the election was consummated there. A huge sum of money was allegedly earmarked for vote buying.
EDO VOICE further learnt that because the election was only that of the House of Assembly, each voter was to be paid N500.
Voter apathy was observed in some parts of Igarra as some residents went about their normal business activities ostensibly because the N500 offer was not attractive to them. For ins
This was part of the winning strategy of APC and not the popularity of the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki as APC chieftains would have us believe. The party has always been the highest bidder since it came to power in the state almost 12 years now, the source added.
It was gathered that PDP couldn’t match APC Naira for Naira in the House of Assembly election, hence the ruling party captured all the 24 seats. Investigations revealed that all the political parties were involved in vote buying.
EDO VOICE spoke with a political observer from Owan area of the state who sells engine oil at Igarra (name withheld) on the monumental political cataclysm which has befallen Akoko-Edo Local Government Area and he had this to say:
“Your politicians are the problem of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area. Blame them for the hardship the people are grappling with. In my own area, Owan East and Owan West Local Government areas, we have good roads. Our people are not suffering the way your people are suffering”
He continued: “Let me illustrate my point. When an Owan son was Secretary to the Edo State government during the Oshiomhole administration, he attracted good roads to the two local government areas. Some of your people were also in the same government; why didn’t they do the same? Some of them are still in the Obaseki administration”
It is unfortunate that the local government area parades eminent political office holders but their impact is not felt in the area of socio-economic development.
A good example of such is the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kabiru Adjoto , who has been at the assembly for almost 12 years now, but can’t attract an ordinary road to Ibillo, Imoga and Ikhakumo, his village.
Adjoto now accesses his community through Ayanran village near Isua-Akoko in Ondo State consequent upon the deplorable state of Ibillo/Imoga/Ikakumo road.
In spite of the untold hardship plaguing the people, some bootlickers took to Facebook in the run-up to the APC primary election last year , sucking up to Adjoto and calling him a speaking speaker because of the peanuts they were getting from him.
They deployed Facebook and other social media platforms to campaign relentlessly for Adjoto to secure the House of Representatives ticket of APC.
This selfish agenda of Adjoto cost Akoko-Edo Constituency 1 the local government chairmanship slot as he allegedly manipulated party leaders to cede it to Akoko-Edo Constituency 11 to enable him to realise his ambition of becoming a member of the Green chambers.
This scandalous act altered the existing power sharing arrangement between the two state constituencies. At the moment, Akoko-Edo Constituency 11 has the two slots (council chairmanship and House of Representatives), leaving Akoko-Edo Constituency 1 with nothing
Thankfully, Adjoto was stopped in his tracks by Hon. Peter Ohio Akpatason who crushed him at the APC primary election last year. Although Akpatason has secured a third term in the just concluded general elections, he himself has not made any impact in his constituency.
The federal lawmaker has not attracted any significant development to the local government area. The federal road linking his hometown, Uneme-Nekhua, with other parts of Edo State, is in a terrible state. The Ibillo/Okene federal road is equally in a mess. It is very hard to pinpoint any achievement of Akpatason in the area.
EDO VOICE observes that apart from Igarra, the local government headquarters which has some good roads, there is no other community with a motorable road, hence the only means of transportation is okada (commercial motorcyclists)with concomitant outrageous fares .
For instance, I paid N700 for a round trip of about 40 minutes from the expressway adjacent New Igarra market to and from Okpe.
Can the ragtag and bobtail, the hoi polloi afford such outrageous transport fares? That is the punitive and regressive change APC has brought to the hapless people of the local government area.
The okada rider, who carried me to Okpe, said the road to Ojirami Peteshi is so bad that an okada ride from Igarra to the community attracts N1, 000.
The situation of Imoga road is worse as it is an eyesore and a death trap. My experience during my visit to the community on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 was traumatic as the journey was nerve-wracking.
In next year’s governorship election in Edo State, the voting pattern may not change and if that happens, the people of Akoko-Edo Local Government Area will be prolonging their sojourn in Horeb (Deuteronomy 1: 6) .
In the senatorial election three weeks ago, the people had re-elected Senator Francis Alimikhena of APC, the self-styled oracle of development whose impact is not felt in the local government area. Apart from the solar-powered boreholes he sank in selected communities, there is nothing else he has done in four years.
EDO VOICE observes that the taps of the boreholes run dry most of the time just like the one situated in Austen Mayaki Street, off Obaro Street, off Technical College Road, Igarra.
Information reaching EDO VOICE from Igarra this afternoon, Saturday, March 16, 2019, indicated that rehabilitation work has started on the road leading to the residence of Senator Obende from the beginning of Obaro Street off Technical College road.