Multidimensional poverty aplenty in Edo
SIR: Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie recently said in a press statement that the data recently released by the Federal Government has further validated the figures published by the Commissioner for Finance, Budget, Economic Planning and Development, Joseph Eboigbe, which stated that Edo only received N2.1 billion from the N28 billion that accrued to the state as 13 per Thecent oil derivation refund.
In a statement, Osagie noted that the amount mentioned in the report by the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, to have been received by the state totalled about N21.7 billion for a period of two years, adding that this is less than five per cent of Edo State’s annual budget for the two-year period during which the funds were said to have been released in several tranches. He stated that the overt excitement about the issue in the case of Edo State is essentially making a mountain out of a molehill.
Against this sentiment by the media aide, there are indications that the report from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, is doubtful and suspicious. This is because in spite of the huge sums from Federal Allocations, Edo appears as poor as most of the states identified by the NBS multidimensional poverty report. For instance, several publications in the media throw up Edo State inability to fix basic infrastructure like streetlights (Airport Road Benin City, Tale Of Two Street Lights – Alltimepost.com) and roads.
Apart from it being a haven for kidnappers, the Auchi-Ekpoma Roads, together with Sapele Roads are impassable, decrepit and dilapidated. Most Edo people are indeed poor and almost entirely depend on handouts from their cousins, brethren and sisthren abroad for housing, feeding and general welfare. In a report by the World Bank Migration and Development Brief 37, and titled Remittances Brave Global Odds, November 2022, indicated that Nigeria is one among the top recipient of remittances among low and middle-income countries in 2022.
You may be thinking that the World Bank report mentions Nigeria but as matter of fact it is Edo State it refers to; half the homes and businesses in Asoro, Evbuotubu and allied towns in Benin City were not built as by-products by policies or programmes of government but from Diaspora sweat.
The people at the helm of authority in Edo State are some of the most educated and enlightened and forward looking. That is why it is truly unfortunate that a government known to ignore procurement laws and acts with impunity would be at the centre of town singing hosanna in the highest about its so-called good story to tell, over a suspicious NBS report seemingly at variance with the realities on ground. Therefore, the report ascribed to the government official over the matter of Edo government being among the top five states in Nigeria not affected by ‘multidimensional poverty’ is puerile.
Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku.