The governor of Edo state Godwin Obaseki was stranded at the RCC junction on Sapele Road, Benin, Edo State after heavy rain made the road flooded and unpassable.
A video of the incident which occurred on Friday, July 21, 2023, is trending online with a background voice urging viewers to share the video to show that it is payback time for leaders who fail to take needed action to help the people.
The background (male) voice said, “When we told the government to fix the road, they were busy filling the potholes with broken blocks. They think they are suffering the masses. Now it is payback time as the masses are not the only ones suffering the collapse of this road.
“The governor is the one inside the vehicle but it has stopped moving. This is his vehicle (pointing at it), he cannot come down as he is ashamed. Everyone (both the poor and the rich) is feeling the brunt of bad policies in the country,” he added.
After a while, the convoy was seen moving away from the flooded part of the road.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaaseki in a statement released on Sunday confirmed he was stranded on Sapele road due to the flooding.
He said: “I was on Sapele Road recently. After the heavy downpour, the road was impassable. What is going on in Benin-Sapele Road is scandalous. I don’t think that any region where the oil resources that sustain the country come from should be neglected. We have done everything possible. We don’t know what to do again to draw the attention of the federal government to these roads.”
Obaseki also said the state government cannot intervene in fixing the Benin-Auchi and Benin-Sapele roads because the Federal Government has awarded contracts for its repair.
The governor said that it is concerning that the major Federal road networks in the state, which connect several parts of the country are in bad condition.
He noted that his administration has done everything in its power to appeal to the Federal Government to look into the repairs of the wide span of damaged Federal Roads in Edo State.
Obaseki added that his administration has drawn the attention of the Federal Government to the failed portions of the Benin-Auchi Roads, Benin-Sapele Road, and the Benin-Lagos Road, particularly the Ovia River Bridge but nothing has been done yet.
He said, “Look at the incident that happened on Ovia River Bridge three weeks ago, in which we lost several lives following multiple accidents. Nothing has been done till now. This shows they don’t care about us in the State.
“The issue on the Benin-Lagos Road, particularly the Ovia River Crossing is becoming catastrophic. We have lost a lot of lives and done everything to get the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Works to work with us and put in place a palliative measure to stop the carnage on that road.”
On Sapele Road, he said: “I was on Sapele Road recently. After the heavy downpour, the road was impassable. What is going on in Benin-Sapele Road is scandalous. I don’t think that any region where the oil resources that sustain the country come from should be neglected. We have done everything possible. We don’t know what to do again to draw the attention of the federal government to these roads.”
“The Auchi-Ibillo Road was so bad that some of our contractors couldn’t go to their quarry site. We appealed to the Federal Government to do palliative work on that road but they refused, saying the road is under contract. If I want to do the same for Benin-Sapele Road, I am not allowed to do so. They claim the road has been given out to a contractor.
“Last year, the Benin-Auchi Road was locked for about two weeks as food, animals, and petroleum products could not reach their destination. We don’t want such situations this year so they should help us. We are not here to criticize them but to appeal for help.”
The governor noted that the federal government’s policy relating to these roads is very confusing, noting that in the past, states could rehabilitate Federal roads and give the Federal Government the bills, but that is no longer obtainable.
“At a point, they said we can apply and take over the repair of federal roads but I am yet to see a state they have given federal roads to fix,” he noted.