July 20, 2024

Alaghodaro: Urgent Need for Fiscal Discipline in Edo State

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Asue Ighodalo, Chairman Alaghodaro Ltd.

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By Editorial Board

The annual Alaghodaro celebration, over the past seven years has succeeded in bringing together some industry leaders from within and outside Nigeria.

The Chairman of Alaghodaro Summit Ltd. is Mr. Asue Ighodalo.

No doubt, the festivities that comes with the annual ritualistic gyration, has provided the needed time for government and friends of government to give themselves pat on their backs.

There is nothing more and certainly, there has not been any major gains for the state, apart from long and short-beautifully constructed speeches by front roll guests and disguised business and financial wizkids.

The Collins dictionary defines extravagance as “…the spending of more money than is reasonable or than you can afford.”

Since 2016 when Mr. Godwin Obaseki assumed office as governor, he has always financial mastering and nostalgically reminded Nigerians and Edo people of General Yakubu Gowon and Jerome Oputa Udoji, tragic economic summation that money was not a problem in Edo State, but how to spend it.

All through, Obaseki has acted in that manner severally. But the truth is, money has always been a major challenge in Edo State.

But for reasons best known to the governor, the revenues from the federation account, internally generated revenue and the humongous debt as well as grants from donor agencies have been squandered on seminars, consultants, talk-shops, musical jamborees and frivolous anniversary of any sort.

The ongoing Alaghodaro will cost the state substantial amount to organise the Edo Women Conference, Cocktail, Summit, Award Night/Dinner, Governor’s Golf Tournament, Food and Fun Fair and Youth Summit.

This latest jamboree comes shortly after the present administration opted to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Edo State and 60th year of Midwest Referendum. The education summit also added to the long list of unproductive seminars that has continued to drain the resources of Edo State.

While these uncontrolled apatite for wasteful spending continues, the physical infrastructures in the state have been abandoned with the excuse of paucity of resources.

Today, the internal roads within Benin City are in embarrassing state, the two government hospitals in Benin City have shut down. It is difficult for commuters to travel with their respective local government areas. The condition of Igarra-Ibillo road in Edo North has remained a snare to the agrarian communities in the area.

While the Central Hospital was brought down for the privately owned Museum of West Africa Arts (MOWAA), the Stella Obasanjo Hospital that was built by the administration of Lucky Igbinedion has also been partly demolished for reconstruction.

Just last week, Obaseki, while inspecting some projects told reporters that both the new wing and the old Stella Obasanjo hospital will be ready by June 2024.

Presently, the only hospital available to Edo people is the Specialist Hospital that was established by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole when he served as Governor.

Gov Godwin Obaseki

Even at that, Obaseki has passed the Specialist Hospital to ‘consultants’, who runs the government facility exorbitantly like private business without consideration for the poor women who depended on the demolished Central Hospital for their perinatal care.

Obaseki’s ‘game-changing projects’ like the Benin Port has remained in dream pipe as a result of the poor financial position the state has found itself.

The Ekehuan road was awarded at a total cost of N6.8bn more than six years ago but has remained nightmarish to communities and businesses in area. The present administration has estimated that construction of Ekehuan road will take another eight years to complete.

Today, Edo State is unable to fund the 2023 budget and the administration is facing budget deficit crisis. Therefore, it is an irresponsible act to squander available resources on a non-productive activity called ‘Alaghodaro’!

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