Before the coming of Governor Godwin Obaseki in 2016, Edo State was a mafia state, held captive by criminal gangs. These gangs ruled with maximum force and profiteered from inflicting pain and suffering on the masses.
They went around different communities and dispossessed people of their landed property with the backing of the state apparatus. This system was superintended by former Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who was the then governor.
Oshiomhole kept and enabled these criminals because they served his interest. During the period from 2008 to 2016, which can be described as the dark ages in Edo’s modern history, land owners could not sleep with both eyes closed because they were at the mercy of Community Development Association (CDA) overlords, who maimed, killed and dispossessed innocent Edo citizens of their landed property with the backing of the state apparatus.
Oshiomhole is best described as the proprietor and enabler of land-grabbing in Edo State. During his administration, not only did Oshiomhole enable the trend, he used it as a means to service his infantry brigade,’ a collection of retrograde band of anarchists who, popularly known today as Lions and Tigers, acted as enforcers and executioners for the former governor.
The appetite for violence and coveting other peoples’ money grew so much that they went very militant against all classes of persons in State to enforce their reign of terror. Everyone lived in danger.
With the coming of Governor Godwin Obaseki, a concerted effort was made to dislodge this non-state actors, with a series of painstaking reforms which have now ensured a sanitised land management system that is transparent, fast and reliable, and embraced by all well-meaning citizens of Edo State.
This new system of land management is today implemented through the Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) and many Edo citizens can testify that not only are they able to register and access Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) for their landed property and transact business with it, but it is done at a reduced cost and in record time.
The episode with the Obazagbon/Ogheghe community was a firm action to repossess government land that had been acquired since 2017 for a new town project. Some land grabbers had swarmed in to sell portions of the land to unsuspecting members of the public thinking that it was business as usual. Government had issued announcements over time warning people to steer clear of the area, but many did not heed the warnings.
Complaints from those affected are being accessed by the relevant agencies in government and anyone with legitimate claims to the land will be duly compensated. The process is clear and all necessary information is in the public domain.
However, Oshiomhole’s pretence to be fighting for these persons is as half-hearted as it is deceptive. It is his ultimate plan to unseat the governor and send his Lions and Tigers after Edo innocent Edo people. He is plotting for a return to the dark ages.
It is on this note that we sound a note of warning that hooliganism has been banished in Edo State and will not be allowed to return. All the efforts Oshiomhole and his lackeys are making to hoodwink the people and cajole them into getting back into government through the backdoor will be resisted by the people through the ballot on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Dr. Tony Aziegbemi
PDP Edo State