EDO STATE GOVERNMENT POLITICS OF FAVOURITISM IN THE DANGOTE/ BUA CRISIS.
“A cockroach cannot be innocent in the midst of fowls”.
In 2008 BUA Group acquired majority shareholding of Edo Cement Company after it was sold under the Federal Government’s Privatisation policy. They immediately started production and engaged the youths of the community. In 2015 The 3 million metric tonnes capacity Greenfield Obu Cement plant was completed and production started at the plant. More youths and indigenes were employed.
You will recall that VP Yemi Osinbajo unveiled BUA Group, 1billion dollars Obu Cement factory in Okpella, Edo state at a commissioning ceremony in September 2017. The Vice President at the event, also performed the groundbreaking of a 3million metric tonnes second line within the same complex. Production is billed to begin in 2018.
You will agree that of the two companies in dispute here, only BUA has shown financial commitment, short and long term interest and investment in the economy of Edo State. He may not have been a political contributor to the APC government, but he has shown that Edo state means more than personal friendship.
Unfortunately, a pattern is emerging here in Edo State. In 2015, the 20 years contractual agreement for 7657.5 hectares between Edo State and Delt-R farms limited was terminated by EDSG. The then governor Adams Oshiomhole, revoked the contractual agreement at the state executive council meeting. He said the action was in the public interest and in accordance with the law. On revocation, he said the farmland should be re-allocated to potential investors for resuscitation . NO PRICES FOR GUESSING WHO THE INVESTOR WAS!
We have observed with great trepidation the unhealthy development between the business interests of Dangote and BUA in Okpella and wish to call for caution and register our disbelief in the role been played without guise by Governor Obaseki.
It is a well known fact that Dangote is a very good friend of Governor Obaseki and Adams Oshiomhole. A relationship that is so close that even Adams Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki in the past abandoned the state to attend almost all past official activities of Dangote Group in and outside Nigeria to the extent that some people were beginning to ask if they had other interest in the Dangote Group other than been good friends.
Since Obaseki assumption of office, Alhaji Alinko Dangote the Chairman/ Chief Executive of Dangote Group has been a regular figure in Edo State government House and most official Edo government activities.
We wish to strongly state here the conflict of business interests between Dangote and BUA should be handled with care. The Governor cannot justify the hasty declaration of the closure of BUA company in Okpella because of his open support for his friend and benefactor, Alhaji Dangote. We know that Adams Oshiohmole did same for Dangote before, regarding land and farm, but be advised that BUA is a different kettle of fish. Governor Obaseki should be mindful of the enormous financial implications and loss the closure will bring. He should be guided by his oath of office in the discharge of his official duties.
BUA has been running its cement business in the Okpella axis of the state for some years now and they have employed many indigenes in the factory. There is no existing court order for the closure of the BUA factory but the Governor has ordered the closure of the BUA facility for obvious known selfish interest. Our position is that the Governor should allow both parties to legally resolve their differences in the court.
BUA should be consoled by the words of our literary legend, Chinua Achebe that “a cockroach cannot be innocent in the midst of fowls”.
We appeal to both parties to maintain peace while exploring the legal option of resolving their dispute.
Edo people's welfare is our driving spirit.
PDP... Listening to the cries of Edo People!
Chris Osa Nehikhare
SPS PDP EDO STATE