Obaseki, APC disagree over planned relocation of Central Hospital

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki



Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the opposition All Progressives Congress on Tuesday engaged in a bitter exchange of wires over the alleged plan to relocate the century-old Central Hospital in the state capital, Benin.

APC in a statement by its Assistant State Publicity Secretary, Austin Osehobo, accused the state government of planning to demolish the hospital and turn the site into a motor park.

The statement titled: ‘Demolitiion of Central Hospital for whatever reason is unacceptable,’ reads: “The attention of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Edo state has been drawn to the planned demolition on November 1st 2021, of the Central Hospital, Benin City by the PDP government led by Governor Godwin’s Obaseki. The plot is to convert this over 100-year old legacy asset of all Edo people into a motor park. Whereas the government thinks it has this evil plot under wraps, the disgusting plan is already in the court of public opinion.

The APC sees no wisdom in this move and is therefore urging the government to immediately put a stop to it. The reason advanced by the government for the proposed demolition of the hospital, which is to make way for an ultra-modern Motor Park to decongest the City centre and ultimately generate additional revenue for a State, it has mismanaged its resources, is not only weird and evil but also
unacceptable. This is because no right thinking government will prefer to replace a viable health facility, which it should equip and staff, to better cater for the well-being of the people, with a Motor Park.

Governor Obaseki’s predecessor in office, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, some years ago, saw the need to modernize the Central Hospital, Benin City and undertook the task of remodeling and reconstructing a large segment of the Hospital and equipping it with world class facilities, during his tenure. It is on record that Mr Obaseki’s played a major role in this effort as Economic Adviser to his predecessor. President Muhammad Buhari it was who commissioned the completed, ready to use health facility in 2016 and he even commended the Comrade for the feat.

Rather than following through by putting the facility to use for the benefit of the public, Governor Obaseki upon assumption of duties began a rigmarole of locking up the place, alleging that it was bereft of equipments. Later he threatened to probe the construction of the facility and thereafter privatized and renamed it ‘Edo Specialist Hospital’, against public outcry; making it very expensive and unaffordable to the majority of the people of Edo State.

From obvious indications, the Governor has developed a very large appetite fed by an inordinate urge to either sell off or mortgage choice public assets of Edo people. Probably unknown to him, these
legacy assets hold memories which form part of the history of the State. His government began by secretly leasing the premises of the Edo Property Development Authority complex in Benin City for a supermarket. Unchallenged, the government very recently, also leased or sold the multi-million Naira edifice housing the Edo Library Complex and the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, also in the state capital, for another supermarket.

Is it that the governor is uninformed that these assets under consideration do not belong exclusively to the State Government and are not his personal properties or that of his officials and cronies, who are now masquerading as investors and for whom he is stripping the State bare of its legacies?. These assets belong to unborn generations of Edo people in the 18 local governments. The current plot, to demolish the Central Hospital negates all rationale. A wiser government would have redesigned and reconstructed the facility to bring them up to date, like the government of Comrade Oshiomhole did. But Mr Obaseki is not Oshiomhole and even if he aspires to be, he can never come close Here lies the Governor and his government’s dilemma.

Against the backdrop of these concerns and observations, the APC can no longer remain silent or passive and allow things that affect Edo people and potentially destroy the fortunes of generations of Edo children to continue unchecked. As a party, we are convinced that the current demolition plot is part of the several schemes by the PDP government to Make Edo Grounded Again (MEGA). Having studied the direction the governor and his government is going, the APC categorically declare that this move, and indeed any other move that expressly or impliedly seek to sell Edo people’s assets shall be vehemently resisted.

The APC demand an immediate and unconditional discontinuation of this plot to demolish the Central Hospital. We also demand an immediate and complete cessation of all MOUs or partnerships the Edo State government has entangled itself with, to warrant this sinister move. We want to place Governor Obaseki and his PDP government in particular on notice that the APC will hold them responsible for the extent of their complicity if they attempt to remain silent in the wake of this glaring and dubious attempt to shortchange the people of Edo by swindling them out of their legitimate inheritance.

The APC also urge all critical stakeholders and the public to raise their voices in defense of Edo people’s interest against this morbid scheme by those who have made it a duty to ensure that Edo State remains backward by undermining its historical, economic and social fabrics to stimulate and encourage rampant poverty, and social problems under various guises including this one.”

However, Obaseki said it was being relocated to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital as its facilities had become old.

Titled: ‘Edo govt is relocating, not demolishing Central Hospital,’ it said the state government is relocating and not demolishing the Central Hospital, Benin.

In a statement, the Edo State Commissioner for Communications and Orientation, Hon. Andrew Adaze Emwanta JP, said the hospital is being relocated to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, contrary to the false and malicious statement by the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) purporting the demolition of the hospital.

According to him, “The attention of the Edo State Government has been drawn to a malicious and false statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, alleging that the government plans to demolish the Central Hospital in Benin City.

“The government is not demolishing, but relocating the Hospital. The Central Hospital has been in existence for over 100 years and most of the facilities are now very old and do not support modern-day medical service delivery.

“The hospital is now being relocated to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital which is being expanded and improved to deliver quality health services to Edo people, while the old Central Hospital will be transformed.

“The general public is hereby urged to disregard the propaganda by the opposition in the state that is rudderless and aimed at creating an issue where none exists.”