The reconstruction of ancient-modern City
By John Mayaki
Some say he is obsessed. Others argue he is over-ambitious. While a fragment say the reconstruction of Benin City, for Adams Oshiomhole is a gargantuan project that would fail and as such, dismissed it outrightly when he assumed office as the State Governor.
Recently, the opposition PDP who in secret would agree that Osho Baba has done well, suddenly, for political reasons and for electioneering purposes claim in adverts that the Governor was overtaxing the people among others, a situation that suggests that they seem to have lost memory of where we were coming from.
They forget in a hurry, the stench that pervaded Ring Road and the dilapidation and complete collapse therein but, just as I am also guilty of this social accusation, I shall, in the corse of this analysis, bring to bare, a little past of the place known as ancient city now undergoing reconstruction.
This modernization proved to all and slightly to our surprises, even more taxing, no doubt to Oshiomhole himself. There were, it is true, precarious policies that affected the people negatively but, the people are the best for it.
With a goal-getter in Clem Agba, who parachuted in from Kyrgyzstan as environment commissioner, he polished and added fillip to the Oshiomhole prose of a modern city just as an Osarodion Ogie, the Works Commissioner is sharpening the argument to assemble the scattered fragments of the city.
Oshiomhole and his team, past and present, no doubt, worked unconscionably long hours, both into the night, either in Exco meetings or project inspection so that an accurate job according to specification was carried out.
If the work and task of the modern city was often hard, it was always great fun too; the convivial and stimulating times spent knocking heads together, the long distance trekking, and the sweating it out in the name of inspection.
In all these, Oshiomhole can be said to be fortunate to have an Omo N Oba N Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Erediauwa, the Oba of Benin as his supporter who gave his royal blessing especially during the turbulent opposition in the House of Assembly coupled with an intolerant opposition party in the state in the midst of economic scarce resources…..the Oba gave his all…surrendered his palace for “demolition”, if it posed a threat to the Oshiomhole dream of a modern ancient city.
Unfortunately, we seem to loose sight of the ring road nightmare, the Airport road impossibility, the Uselu-Ugbowo-Lagos road quagmire, and the Five-junction chaos, the superiority of flood that defied ordinary solution, among other multi-hydra challenges that confronted Benin city and stirred it on its face at the time; all these intimidated the ancient city and defeated it.
It was in a bid to conquer these monsters that a single project such as the Benin City Storm Water Masterplan would demand over N30 billion before yielding to solution. This project, added with road construction, and beautification is the fulcrum of the Oshiomhole modern ancient city narrative.
On erosion control, the Government secured a N25 billion bond from the stock market to adequately tackle the erosion problem in a modern way. Known as the Benin City Storm Water Masterplan, the project is divided into phases and the first Phase, which is estimated to gulp over N30 billion has been launched.
The first phase involves the construction of a Distilling basin of 120ft x l2Oft of massive drainage which takes all the floods from secondary drains into the primary drain which then flows into the Ogba River.
The Distilling basin will take a massive 20,000 metre tonnes of excavation, requiring 18,200 metric tonnes of cement and 20,000 pounds of boulder and it will have a 2.5m x 2.5m doubled culverts stretching for about 1km.
Connecting the Distilling Basin, which will be self-cleaning and desilting is a trapezated drain which is 45ft wide at the top, l2ft wide at the bottom and almost 7m deep. It will run round parts of the state and will be completely covered by the road in densely-populated areas.
It will take care of the flood problem in Teachers’ House, Uwelu axis, Akugbe road, Otete Street, lgbinaduwa, Adolor College road, Obakpolor, Textile Mill road, Oro Street, lheya, lvbiye Street and Lane, 3rd Cemetery and the 5 junction area and adjoining streets, in the process taking care of about a quarter of flood in the capital city. All the roads which will be constructed or rehabilitated in the storm water project will come with walkways, street lights and drains.
Recognizing the simple fact that the main problem of the road is flood related, the state government has undertaken a massive drainage project for all the contructed road as well. The drainage from Adolor junction to the Traditional Grounds area is being reestablished and reconstructed. A brand new underground drainage line has been laid and completed from the Traditional Grounds area to the moat at Eghosa Grammar School area.
Furthermore, reinforced concrete box culverts are being constructed at the Five junction area as part of a complex network of drains in that area to take the flood waters away from the area to a receptacle again at Eghosa Grammar School moat.
Finally to ease congestion and enhance the beautification of the city at the Five junction area, a roundabout project was awarded to Messrs RCC to enable our people enjoy the full benefits of the road. These facts speaks for themselves on a visit to the various project sites.
Vote Obaseki/Shaibu for Continuity!!