THE CHANGING TIMES, OSARODION OGIE: A VIBE IN TUNE. – Obehi Abibu

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Born just a few days to the Nigerian Independence, precisely on the 24th day of September 1960, Osarodion Ogie came into this sphere at a time when the spirits of Nigerians were lifted in expectations of self-rule amidst the lowering of the British Union Jack.

Year later, the harsh effects of the Nigerian civil war did not stop him from receiving basic education after which he proceeded to the famous Eghosa Grammar School, Benin City for his secondary education where he distinguished himself as an exceptional student of the arts and humanities.

During his study at the prestigious Faculty of Law of the present day Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife between 1981 and 1985, the resounding echo of excellence trailed his work ethics so that when he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986, he was a prepared man for the challenges of the Nigerian legal profession.
An advocate of note whose private legal practice extended from corporate litigation to trade dispute resolution and election petitions, it did not take him long to catch the eye of the crème de la crème of the Lagos society, who sought for his services and his kinsmen who couldn’t wait too long to enjoy the legal prowess of an illustrious son.

In the words of one of his associates in the legal profession, Olu Akpata “Senior Odion’s mind works towards resolution, no matter how impossible it may seem”. These few words describe the man who many see as a staunch advocate of the change philosophy currently resounding in the nation.
How else could they perceive a man who was the secretary of the Oshiomhole Campaign Organization and the head of his legal team prior to his inauguration as the Governor of Edo State but as is the case at all times, perception is only a question of stand-point.

Like Benjamin Franklin during the formative years of the United States of America, when there is a need to carry out a herculean task, the one name that comes to mind within the government circle in Edo State is Osarodion Ogie – an unassuming gentleman with a drive for excellence anchored on visionary leadership, transparency and prudence.
When Delta state was carved out of the old Bendel State, many people feared Edo state was done for; facing challenges of infrastructural development which many thought could not be improved upon from the Ambrose Alli/Samuel Ogbemudia era due to the drastic reduction in oil revenue with a large chunk of the oil wells going the way of Delta state.

The administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which governed Edo State between 1999 and 2007 was of little benefit to the Edo people. The only basis of comparison of improvements at that time were the same indices of neighbouring states for which Edo is seemingly at a disadvantage until the present government came into power after a protracted judicial battle with the PDP-led government of Osariemen Osunbor, a battle in which Osarodion Ogie was a frontline fighter and marshal of the wigs.

After a short stint as Chief of staff to the Governor, he was subsequently appointed Commissioner for works in Edo State, a position which he still occupies and which has transformed the face of infrastructure, particularly roads in Edo State. Roads which were hitherto impassable have become motorable. The roads in Benin City now bear a mark of semblance to tarred roads properly so-called with environmental considerations during their design.

One clear diversion of the present Edo State government from its predecessors is in the manner with which huge moneys are spent on roads in the past during the long rainy season, only for them to deteriorate after a heavy downpour. Osarodion Ogie as Commissioner for works in Edo State has ensured that during the rainy season, cost-effective palliative measures are put in place to mitigate the effects of the rains on the roads and ultimately motorists, pending the full construction of the roads.

The Ekenwan-Ugbiyoko road, Ihama- Boundary and Adesuwa Grammar School road readily comes to mind in this regard while roads like Upper Mission, Upper Siluko and Erediauwa have gotten a complete face-lift. In all of these, the man Osarodion Ogie comes to mind.

It is little wonder that as far back as 2007, before Osarodion Ogie got fully involved in the politics of Edo State, he won the Oba of Benin Merit Award for his excellent contribution towards the development of Edo State.
Road construction under his watch has gone beyond the state capital, Benin City and resonates in downtown Okpella and Abudu where intensive road constructions have been on-going.

One thing even his critics will not deny him is his firmness and incisiveness on issues bothering on principles of administration which have become increasingly intertwined with this quintessential gentleman as a public office holder.

Many who cannot find any reason to withhold their support from this amiable bridge- builder across Edo state have resorted to the same old political gimmick of cries for zoning. But as the gubernatorial elections draw near in Edo State come 2016, one certainty is that, Osarodion Ogie as he has always said “Edo is a work in progress” is a tune in time because there is no better man that can work the progress better than the man whose spanner in the wheel has made the progress work so far.

Obehi Abibu Eromosele is a legal practitioner from Ewu, Edo state and tweets as @obehiabibu.

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