By Austin Otas-Osegbe
For the people of Etsako Federal Constituency, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu is a worthy son in whom they are well pleased – on account of the positive difference he has made in delivering the dividends of democracy to the nooks and cranny of the constituency.
Thursday, 30th day of March, 2017 marked another remarkable milestone in the lives of the people as the entire constituency was agog with celebrations and excitement when the Comrade Deputy Governor stormed the area to officially commission and handover blocks of classrooms project he executed to the various benefiting communities when he was a member of the green chambers at the Federal House of Representatives – Abuja.
The colourful event kickstarted at 9.25am when the entourage of the Deputy Governor arrived the premises of Eshiebor Primary School, Ofukpo in Ekperi Land, Etsako Central Local Government Area as he was accorded a warm reception by an ecstatic crowd comprising the traditional clan head, elderly men/women, youths, political leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), chieftains, including friends, well-wishers, staff and pupils of the school.
It was a very busy but fulfilled day for Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu as he also visited the polytechnic town of Auchi to commission a block of six classrooms with administrative office at Uchi Primary School.
The entourage of the Deputy Governor arrived the school premises at 1.13pm with a mammoth crowd on ground to receive him, while Pupils of the school put up a scintillating cultural display. to welcome. Present to spice up the occasion were traditional leaders, party faithful, including the Speaker and his Deputy, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. (Dr.) Justin Okonoboh and Hon. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Ativie, amongst others.
The people of Ubiane – Aviele equally benefitted from the gesture of Comrade Shaibu as a block of three classrooms with administrative block was commissioned at Esivie Primary School. The Deputy Governor and his entourage were received by the traditional head, Onogie of Ubiane, Alhaji M.B. Umoru, community leaders, political stalwarts, head teacher and pupils of Esivie Primary School.
The last but not the least community visited by Mr. constituency project as the Deputy Governor is fondly called by his people was Amah – Awain, where one block of three classrooms with administrative office was commissioned by Hon. Gani Audu, the member representing Etsako West Constituency 1 in the Edo State House of Assembly. Comrade Shaibu arrived the town with his entourage at 4.47pm to the warm embrace of the community head, people, head teacher and pupils of the school.
On the whole, a total of four blocks comprising twelve classrooms were commissioned at the four locations amidst pomp and fanfare.
In his address to the people in all the communities visited, the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu was his usual self. He disclosed that as a member of the House of Representatives, a provision of one hundred and eleven million naira was approved for each member from Edo State to execute their 2016 constituency projects. He continued: “at the end, the sum of seventy five million naira was released for the projects. But as a politician whose desire has always been to improve the living standard of my people, education is key for a bright and sustainable future. So in my wisdom, I decided not to embark on the common empowerment project of distributing motorbikes, tricycles, e.t.c, but to embark on projects that will mould and build lives for the over-all development of society. In some cases, personal funds up to the tune of two million naira was added to the actual contract cost in order to actualize the red roof revolution policy of the APC – led administration in Edo State”.
The Deputy Governor added: “ I decided to domicile what was approved for me in the account of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). The money for the projects was not given out to me in cash, it was SMEDAN that awarded the contract and supervised the projects from start to final execution. So, you see, over the years, even when I was at the Edo State House of Assembly, the contractors that executed my constituency projects makes very little profit because they know that I do not compromise on quality and that the projects must be done according to specification. Contractors know me that I am one politician who will not share money for contract awarded to them for my constituency projects. This is the reason I have over forty eight projects, mainly blocks of classrooms built for the benefit of our people and that is why they nick-named me “Mr. Constituency Project”.
In their various responses, the benefitting communities described Comrade Philip Shaibu as a pragmatic leader and accountable representative whose love for his people knew no bounds.
Also speaking, Hon. Damian Lawani and Hon. Gani Audu- both members of Edo State House of Assembly- representing Etsako Central and Etsako West I constituencies respectively affirmed that the Deputy Governor was a leader whose selfless service to the people speaks volume. They pledged their unflinching loyalty and support to the political ideals and endeavour of Comrade Shaibu.
In his own remarks, the Director General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Dikko Umaru Radda, represented by Engr. David Abu Ozigi, the Director, Engineering, Technology and infrastructure in the Agency noted with delight that, SMEDAN was proud to associate and work with the Deputy Governor as far as the projects were concerned; emphasizing that “ he always put the people first”.
Chatting with newsmen shortly after rounding –off the commissioning ceremony, Comrade Shaibu stated: “ I feel fulfilled that I have been able to deliver on my promises to the people during my electioneering campaign into the House of Representatives.
You know, promises are like debts owed and when you are able to fulfill such promises, it gives you joy that you have paid your debts. For me, it is sustaining the legacies I have built over the years; and with this commissioning exercise today, it is all over in terms of constituency projects as a one-time member of the House of Representatives. My successor, Hon. Johnny Oghuma is now saddled with the responsibility to continue from where I stopped. Public office is all about service to the people and nothing more”, he concluded.
Austin Otas-Osegbe writes from Benin City