A Civil Society Organisation in Edo State, Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO), has accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of orchestrating a plot to indict former Governor Adams Oshiomhole and Minister of State of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, using his planned probe of the Benin stormwater project.
Governor Obaseki had on Monday, February 22, 2021, while inspecting the Uwelu East and West catchment of the project, said the project, of which he was a part of its conceptualization and funding as Chairman of the Edo State Economic Team in Oshiomhole’s administration, was to defraud Edo people, adding that it was not meant to work.
But in a statement by its General Secretary, Comrade Tony Erha, LASCO said “it was apparent from the outset that the so-called probe to unearth a phantom fraud in the project was orchestrated by the State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to indict the former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba.
“In fact, a day after Governor Obaseki said he would set up a panel to probe the project, on which he claimed at different times that “about and over” N30 billion was spent, it became clear that the primary target in the indictment plot is Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, who was Commissioner for Environment in Oshiomhole’s government.
“The Ministry for Environment, and the Ministry of Works, which was at different times under the Oshiomhole administration superintended over by the current Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Osarodion Ogie; the current Managing Director of Edo Geographic Information Systems, Frank Evbuomwan and former Chairman of the APC in the State, Anselm Ojezua, jointly supervised the Benin stormwater project.
“The government special announcement signed by the SSG, Osarodion Ogie exposed the fact that Governor Obaseki and his cohort were acting out a script which was already perfected before the governor embarked on the inspection of the Uwelu West and East Catchment of the stormwater project.
“Governor Obaseki’s ultimate inspection agenda was to announce his plan to probe the project. Whereas, the governor spoke on Monday, February 22, 2021, the government special announcement by Osarodion Ogie wherein he alerted the attention of the public to a plan to set the building housing the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability on fire so as to destroy vital documents relating to the project, was signed on Friday, February 19, 2021.”
The group said that “through the public announcement by the SSG, the state government had already given its verdict on the probe by raising the alarm about plans to break into the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability to possibly cart away vital documents and/or set the building on fire.
“Without a doubt, this claim is not only malicious but also prejudicial to the so-called probe the state government said it wanted to carry out and, has, as a matter of fact, started executing its unholy plan by also accusing the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning in connection with the imaginary arson.
“To clearly expose your plan and show the Edo people your untoward plot, you accused the Minister on Monday, the 22nd of February, 2021, but the special public announcement (press release), which was issued on Tuesday, the 23rd of February, 2021, was dated 19th February, 2021, meaning that this is a premeditated plan.”
LASCO wondered why Governor Obaseki is investing time, resources and energy in his bid to bring down Prince Clem Agba and other prominent Edo people after having played a leading role in removing Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as chairman of the APC.
According to the group: “This is regressive. But we take this opportunity to admonish Governor Obaseki and his cohort to build a community of love, friendship and development instead of this vindictive resort to dismantling everything that is bright and beautiful in Edo State.”