The Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, on Sunday responded to the allegations made by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State over the recently approved road rehabilitation projects in the state, saying the governor displayed ignorance.
The governor was said to have stated during the campaign rally held in Benin that the Ada-Okere-Ukoni-Amedokhian Old Road rehabilitation project awarded by the Federal Executive Council was non–existent and smuggled into the federal budget.
But the minister in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Tony Ikpasaja, in Abuja, said he did not believe in “politics with bitterness”.
He said, “We are grossly disappointed in such misleading and deliberate falsehoods publicly propagated by a governor who is expected to be happy over infrastructural developments in his state by Federal Government.
“It is appalling and scandalous for Comrade Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State, to stand on a podium at a rally to politicise, criticise and malign infrastructural projects in his state by the Federal Government, all for the purpose of reaping cheap political votes. The Honourable Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, does not believe in politics with bitterness, and will never condescend to verbalising public untruths in the name of politics.
“The minister is a well educated and cultured Nigerian driven by passion to transform the road sector in line with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s transformational agenda and will continue to do so.”
He added, “The Ada-Okere-Ukoni-Amedokhian road leads to Federal Technical College, Uromi, the Esan Water Works project being executed by the Federal Government in Ugboha and the Hydrocarbon mineral deposit recently discovered by government in Uzea.
“Contrary to Governor Oshiomhole’s false claims that the contract for the Ada-Okere-Ukoni-Amedokhian road was ‘smuggled’ into the Federal Government Budget by the Honourable Minister of Works, we make bold to say that the said road project have been designed and introduced into the 2010 Federal Budget, and later, into the 2011 Federal Budget, long before Mike Onolememen was appointed Honourable Minister of Works.”
According to him, the road project was not the only project being executed by the Federal Government in Edo State.
He said, “Others include the reinstatement of the gully erosion disaster along Auchi-Okene expressway (near Omega Fire Ministries by Jattu Junction) leading to Governor Oshiomhole’s residence in Iyamho, Auchi and repairs of the erosion damaged portion of Ayogwiri-Fugar road in Ayogwiri.
“Both projects are being executed by Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Works with Onolememen as Minister. The two road projects are located right in Governor Oshiomhole’s native Etsako West Local Government area.
“Another road recently approved for rehabilitation by Federal Executive Council, following a memo from the Honourable Minister of Works; Arc Onolememen, is the South Ibie road, opposite the gate leading to the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi. The road project is also located in Governor Oshiomhole’s Etsako West Local Government Area and involves the construction of two new bridges among others.”
Ikpasaja said the Minister had refused to engage Oshiomhole for allegedly claiming credit for some rehabilitated roads “because falsehood can never strive in Edo State where the people are enlightened and well-informed about the rehabilitation programmes by the Federal Ministry of Works.”
While stating that Oshiomhole has never rehabilitated any Federal road in Benin City and elsewhere in Edo State the Minister challenged him to ask for claims or refund from the Federal Government for intervening in Federal roads like other State Governors are currently doing.