Benin City witnessed an unusual incident over the weekend as the convoy of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State found itself trapped in the mud on the notorious Benin-Sapele road. The deplorable condition of the road was further exacerbated by heavy rainfall, resulting in a frustrating ordeal for the governor and his entourage.
A viral video, lasting one minute and 11 seconds, captured the distressing scene, with the governor’s convoy stranded amidst a sea of articulated trucks and other vehicles at the RCC section of the road. In the video, a voice can be heard expressing the collective frustration of Nigerians, both rich and poor, highlighting the hardships faced by ordinary citizens and government officials alike.
Residents of the area had previously staged multiple peaceful protests, closing the road to motorists and other users, urging both state and federal governments to address the road’s dire state. Unfortunately, their pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears as the situation remained unchanged.
Interestingly, some residents viewed the governor’s predicament as a silver lining, believing that it served as a reminder of the daily struggles faced by ordinary people due to the neglect of the road by successive administrations.
Governor Obaseki’s predicament came after he publicly acknowledged the state government’s inability to fix sections of the Benin-Auchi-Ekpoma and Benin-Sapele roads, which are federal roads under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Adding to the incident’s political backdrop, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Mayaki, accused the governor of being caught in the consequences of the collapsing infrastructure he had failed to address. Mayaki’s statement came just 48 hours after Governor Obaseki criticized the federal government’s policies, referring to them as “confusing” and attributing them to the delay in repairing federal roads in the state.
In response to the criticism, the Special Adviser (SA) on Media Strategy to Governor Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, defended the governor’s efforts to repair the roads. Osagie stated that the governor had made earnest attempts to carry out palliative repairs on the roads by seeking permission from the federal government. However, the efforts were rebuffed, as the APC-led federal government asserted that the road repair contracts had already been awarded.
As the situation remains contentious, the incident on the Benin-Sapele road serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for infrastructural development and maintenance in the region, highlighting the challenges faced by both citizens and government officials in navigating the deteriorating road networks.
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