Since I knew my right from my left some thirty years ago, there are two times we unite in Benin city to ensure we have light. The first one is during a World or Nations’ Cup football competition. While the second one is the Chrismas season. Landlords and landladies will be seen holding several meetings, youths will be mobilised to go round the houses in the area to collect an agreed amount that will be used to ensure we have a stable power supply that period. If need be, electric poles, wires, and in some cases brand new transformers will be bought to be able to resolve the power challenge. Influential residents in the area will be consulted to use their influence to speed the process. It was always a lovely sight to behold, as everyone put down personal grievances to work for the common good of us all.
Howbeit, times are changing real fast. Christopher Okaeben led power committee and the handlers of BEDC seems to be bent on keeping us in darkness. This is retrogressive!
I recall vividly how those living in Upper Sokponba used to be envious of those at First and Second East Circular area. Those in new Benin, Ugbowo, Ekenwan, Airport road, Sapele road, and G.R.A used to enjoy good and stable light. At least in Nigeria standard, G.R.A light was top notch!
This is not to say the previous handlers of electricity in the state were saints, far from it. But those that were there to put them on their toes, did the job well. Once a protest is made with respect to the neglect of some areas, the effect of the protest is felt almost immediately, as those in charge will swing to action. But today, through the Edo Civil Society Organization (EDOSCO), the people in Benin city had sustained the protest against the handlers of electricity in the state. The reason for the protest was justified when the state government walked out the management of BEDC from his office, accusing them of truncating the effort of the government from giving light to Edo people. Despite the long protest, the electricity challenge is getting worse every passing day!
What the Governor failed to acknowledge, perhaps due to politics, was the fact that the saboteurs were actually the Judas in this government. And the “ogapatapata” of them all, is no other person than Christopher Okaeben. He was alleged to have taken a hundred million naira from BEDC on behalf of his committee, and the only defence he raised was that his accusers are his political opponent. What insolence!
If morality still has a say in our leadership, Christopher Okaeben should have been probed for his actions or inactions as the chairman on power. His romance with the handlers of BEDC, and his inability to speak out against BEDC activities, clearly shows that he betrayed us for his personal gains.
However, this is to let the good people of Edo State know that the darkness we are experiencing this yuletide is the Christmas gift of Christopher Okaeben, chairman on power in the Edo State House of Assembly. Ironically, he is seeking re-election to the house, but I know Oredo West won’t be foolish enough to send him back.
May the darkness placed on the state by individuals for selfish reasons rest in their families! Amen.