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Okpebholo Sets His Priority In Akoko-Edo



Okpebholo government

IGARRA, Edo State, June 6, 2024: Akoko-Edo Development Association, aka Akoko-Edo Forum, hosted Senator Monday Okpebholo in a one-hour session at the “Meet the Candidates” series on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

The meeting gave the APC candidate an opportunity to meet Akoko-Edo’s critical stakeholders to present his plan for the LGA, given the outcry of perceived marginalization by the people of the area.

Sen. Okpebholo capitalized on the opportunity to declare his connection with his roots being a rural area like many parts of Akoko-Edo and his quest to serve the people as pivotal to his interest to serve as the next governor of Edo State. The APC candidate listed three areas that will take priority if elected. These include security, healthcare, and water supply.

He said, “I see a lot of potential and many things can be done in Akoko-Edo.” Also, the APC candidate acknowledged the vast mineral resources in the area, begging for investments and utilization. Senator Okpebholo shared his childhood experience to demonstrate his connection with Akoko-Edo, saying, “I have something in common with Akoko-Edo, which is a distance of 15-20 minutes from my place.” He promised to run an inclusive government where all parts of the state will be treated equally. He further mentioned his efforts in helping Dr. Philip  Ugbodaga with his appointment as the substantive pioneer medical director of the newly established Federal Orthopedic Hospital, Benin. He was reminded that no Akoko-Edo person has ever been appointed a Federal Permanent Secretary, Ambassador, or Chairman of any board or commission since the inception of this 4th Republic.

On the need to split Akoko-Edo through the creation of more LGAs or LCDA to bring development to the area, the Senator initially said the creation of LCDAs from Akoko-Edo “will not happen under my watch.” When it was impressed on him that marginalization of the area was real and that creating LCDAs from the current oldest undivided LGA in the country is one of the immediate actions required to address the lopsidedness in the state, he then said if such a move will help the area, he will consider it. This will be based on the report of a committee he plans to set up to ask the people of the area what they want.

On healthcare, Senator Okpebholo said, “I will focus on healthcare delivery such that each ward will have at least one primary health center, renovate existing General Hospitals, and equip them with Laboratory.” He continued with more promises to incentivize medical doctors and other healthcare workers to draw them to the area and the entire state. He said, “I will allow local government councils and Health Management Boards to operate freely.” When asked how much he knows of Akoko-Edo and its healthcare challenges, he promised to visit health centers in Akoko-Edo to demonstrate his seriousness in getting first-hand information about the state of healthcare in the LGA before the elections.

When asked about the underdevelopment of the tourist attractions in the entire LGA, the Senator said, “Tourism has a special place in my heart. Ososo, Lampese, and Igarra come to mind the beautiful nature of the area, which is begging for full development. I will inject money into Ososo, make it a vibrant place of tourism and relaxation.” However, he emphasized the scourge of insecurity in the area, a fundamental problem to tourism and farming. He said, “Security will be at the top of my focus so that tourism can thrive and people can go to farms.”

Pressed on his plans to achieve security for all, he said, “I can not reveal my plans because security issues are confidential.” Nevertheless, he said he didn’t believe that forest guards could address insecurity in the state when this was suggested to him.

As water supply is one of his primary focuses, Senator Okpebholo said he will revive Ojirami Dam for water supply to the LGA as planned at inception, but how this can be achieved was not clear.

The Governorship candidate was asked about the effort of the Edo Caucus of the National Assembly in seeing that the School of Mining and Geology signed into law by the Buhari administration kicked off, to which he said he was not aware of such a bill but will immediately inquire from the Clerk of the National Assembly to know what to do. Nothing was said about a state higher institution in the LGA as promised by other participants in this “Series.”

The session ended with members asking Senator Okpebholo to liaise more with Akoko-Edo people to get in-depth knowledge of the pain points of the people of the LGA because Akoko-Edo expects a far better opportunity for the area from the next tenant of Osadebey House. He was asked to look into inclusivity extensively, not just APC loyalty or people who will not tell him the truth if elected.

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