Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said despite several entreaties by his administration, the Federal Government has refused to allow the state government fix the dilapidated federal roads in the state.
Obaseki said this while addressing the congregation at the inauguration of the ministry and the enthronement of Ven. Ebenezer Omeiza Saiki as the second Diocesan Bishop of Akoko-Edo Diocese at St. James Cathedral, Ugbogbo, Igarra, in Akoko Edo LGA of the state.
The governor, who decried the deplorable state of the roads and the need for urgent intervention to ameliorate the sufferings of the people, called on residents and other road users to plead with the Federal Government to allow the state take over the roads and fix them.
Speaking to the congregation, Obaseki said: “I promised His Royal Highness, the Otaru of Igarra, that I will be attending the Abba festival as a special guest a couple of days ago. I actually was on my way but no road to get there, so I went back to Benin City.
“I want to repair and fix your road but you have to help me beg them in Abuja to let me do it because they say it’s their road and will not allow a state to work on their roads to fix them.
“So, you have to help us beg the Federal Government so that they will allow us take these roads and fix them.”
On the need for sustained collaboration between political and religious leaders to drive growth and development across the state and country, the governor noted: “If we are to make progress, it makes sense for any leader in government to partner leaders in the church to understand what is going on with the people they govern.
“As a governor, who deals with everybody in Edo State, I know the importance of the church, which is why we don’t joke with the church and our religious leaders.
“The role of the church is so important because people approach religious leaders when they are in need and in a hopeless situation to help them through that challenge.
“A lot of people come to see the religious leaders but how many people can reach me? They do more for you sometimes than the government does.
“I am here to fulfill a pledge and the promise I made. I met the Bishop about two months ago in Abuja. Our Bishop came to inform me that he will be installed as Bishop today and I promised to be here today.”
The Archbishop of Bendel Province and Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, Most Rev Cyril Odutemu, while welcoming the governor and his entourage, said Ven. Saiki would be the Bishop to preside over the Diocese for the next 25 years.
He stated: “I appeal to the governor to support the Bishop. We know there are storms but the Lord will be with you and help you to finish strong.
“We thank you for the colloquium organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the Midwest Referendum, and the 32nd-year celebration of the creation of Edo State.
“We thank you for remembering the heroes’ past as you will be remembered for good.”