The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, signed a consultancy service agreement with engineering firm, Siraj Nigeria Limited, for Edo regional development and Benin urban master plan.
Obaseki, shortly after signing the agreement at the Government House, Benin City, said the plan will ensure a defined template for development and growth in the state.
According to him, “the signing of consultancy service agreement for Edo Regional Development Plan and Benin Urban Master Plan is indeed another milestone. The last time an exercise like this was conducted was up to a generation ago.
“Majority of the people living in Edo today have lived without a master plan: That largely explains the seeming confusion and disorder you are seeing in our physical space. Since 1918, we have had plans in Benin, so planning is not new to us as a people.
“In the last 30 years or so, we have stopped planning and so, the event today is very significant to us as it is going to help us reconnect our past with where we are coming from. This exercise is not the one you are coming to plan for us; know that you are going to guide us.
“This exercise is not the one you are going to give us a set of documents; you are going to guide us as we develop our own plans for the future. You are up to date on the tool that is required in undertaking this kind of exercise.”
“We are prepared to put in more than 100 professionals in this exercise, so that you have more human resources to do the things you need to do. For us, these plans are very important,” he added.
The governor continued: “Edo is growing at a very rapid rate; everybody cannot build a house in the city, which is why the regional plan is very important; we can now plan for other major centers.
“On the basis of this plan, we have to redefine land use and do it properly, so that we know the areas that we are leaving for agriculture, industries and those for residential, among others.”
Reassuring on the realisation of a Museum in Benin to house returned artifacts, Obaseki added: “Edo is the cultural hub of Africa. Thank God for the progress and achievement we have made in the return of some of our artifacts that were taken away from Benin over a 100 years ago. We need to beautify the city to receive these works by building an iconic museum to receive them.
“You know that the museum has refined many cities in the world and that is the type of aspiration that we have; we are hoping that this exercise will be able to help fix other crisis that we face in terms of infrastructure.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of Siraj, Kamal Azor, said the plan is not just focusing on Benin metropolis alone, but captures rural communities and villages with their peculiar needs.