OPEN LETTER TO GOV. OBASEKI ON THE UNDERDEVELOPMENT OF UZEA CLAN IN EDO STATE – Nigerian Observer
This letter is meant to draw the attention of Mr. Governor to some of the factors which have contributed to the underdevelopment and socio-economic hardship of Uzea clan and the people for decades. Uzea is ward six (6) in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State. Recall that prior to the 19th September gubernatorial election last year 2020 when you visited Uzea with the intent to solicit support for your re-election, you and the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu were terrified over the deplorable state of uzea road and absence of essential amenities.
As a priority, you promised in the palace of the Onojie of Uzea, HRH, Solomon Itoya 11, to fix the road and attend to other essential needs of Uzea clan when re-elected as governor of Edo State. These promises never came through since your re-election sir! Recently, among the 91 roads awarded by the state government in Edo Central Senatorial District, only Mary the Queen road and General Hospital road in uromi were captured for rehabilitation and reconstruction, with outright exclusion of Uzea road. The vast expanse of land in Uzea clan are in thousands of hectares. Uzea people are predominant in agriculture. They are notable for cassava, maize, yam, rice, cocoa farming, and other productive economic/ commerce activities. Presently, the Uzea people are going through traumatic experiences getting buyers for their produce occasioned by the deplorable state of Uzea road linking the various communities to the urban centers.
Uzea clan is divinely blessed with mineral deposits such as crude oil, bitumen, manganese, granites, kaolin, and timber products, among others, requiring government exploration to boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Edo State. In the light of the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), recently passed into law, both uzea clan and the Edo state government have much benefit to derive from the crude oil deposit which successive regime of governments have not taken deliberate and drastic steps to explore. There is no doubt that your government can minimize the plight of the people and the underdevelopment of Uzea clan if these natural resources are tapped and the financial proceeds judiciously utilized.
Your Excellency, Uzea clan does not have functioning modern markets as should naturally be conventional in a democratic State. This has always been reducing the level of commerce and economic activities of the people in a drastic manner. The only market existing in Uzea till date, was built decades ago, through the collective efforts of the indigenes who are peasant farmers. To add to this, the health centres in Uzea are not functioning optimally, sir. They have no modern medical equipment and also lack adequate medical personnel to attend to health challenges in particular emergencies. Since twenty one years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria, there is no community in the entire Uzea clan which has functional electricity. Both pupils and students often read to prepare for exams with the ‘native oil lanterns’ and candle sticks in agony till date.
There is no community in Uzea clan with government owned pipe-borne water or borehole water! Sad enough, the indigenes in the various communities in Uzea clan still drink and cook with water from dirty streams, all to the detriment of their health. In addition, security challenge is rife.
The rate at which herdsmen/bandits terrorize the farmers and indigenes in the different communities of Uzea clan is very worrisome! This threatening security challenge has continue to engender unabated fears among the indigenes of the Uzea clan.
In the primary schools in Uzea clan, pupils often sit on bare floor, on molded blocks, while others hang on classroom windows to learn. The roofs in some of the class rooms are always leaking during rainfall. This frequently affects the ability of the pupils to learn and also hampers the effectiveness of the teachers to perform their duties.
Given the macroeconomic challenges affecting the Nigerian nation, good governance and economic diversification are key factors known to your government for transformation. Against this backdrop, the people of Uzea clan believe firmly that when these identified challenges are tackled by your government, these will influence youths’ attention in agriculture, commerce and productive economic activities in Edo State. It will not only drastically mitigate crime rate and other social vices, but also positively influence the internally generated revenue (IGR) of Edo State and its economy at large.
I therefore use this medium to appeal to Your Excellency to prioritize some of these challenges. If I would say routes to transport our farm products, urgent attention to work with the traditional ruler and stakeholders on the exploration of the crude oil deposit in Uzea, construction of a modern market, electricity and pipe-borne water availability are a top priority followed by improved educational, security and health care services.
Sunday Oseiweh Ogbeide, Ph.D.