The Edo Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said that the planned probe of the 200-bed Accident and Emergency ward in the Benin Central Hospital has confirmed its position that contract for the hospital was shrouded in fraud.
Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has recently given indication that it would “investigate allegations of fraud and irregularities with the contracting for procurement of the hospital equipment.”
The hospital was built by the administration of Adam Oshiomhole.
State chairman of PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, who addressed a press conference in Benin Thursday, commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for coming out to vindicate the stand of the party even though it was coming late.
He however warned the Governor to resist the temptation of using the issue to settle his political differences between him and his “political godfather,” Oshiomhole.
He said: “We initially resisted the temptation of commenting on recent issues regarding the Edo state government owned central hospital and the recent declaration of intentions to probe the contract.
“Politically, we don’t want our reactions to be misconstrued as taking sides in the current dirty fight between the godfather, Adams Oshiomhole and his godson, Godwin Obaseki.
“However, we have decided to come out with our position as a result of the overriding public interest and unwavering resolve to expose the deceit of the past and present APC government in EDO state.
“Without sounding immodest, Edo PDP under my leadership came out as far back as 2012 to condemn the fraudulent and inflated award of the contract for the 200 bed Accident and Emergency Ward Complex.
“The shoddy construction and deceptive commissioning of the project by President Buhari was vigorously criticised and condemned by us. The APC government of Godwin Obaseki now agrees with our position that the the project is indeed a five star classic fraud ridden scam starting from the unadvertised without due process award of the contract to the sad collapse of the building of the north western section of the project on June 4th 2012 and the eventual commissioning of the of the uncompleted project.
“By 2016, the government had wasted over N10,267,413,000.00 and every year, the Obaseki Government have been allocating and spending millions of Naira to “complete” the already commissioned project.
“By way of comparison, the specialist new hospital (not ward) in Calabar, with comprehensive package of secondary gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, laboratory services, basic cardiology, dermatology and other medical services was built, equipped and commissioned at a cost of N6.4bn. The Akwa Ibom and Bauchi specialist hospitals were constructed at even lower costs.
“Let state once again [recall] my earlier position that the Edo state 200-bed accident and emergency ward, poorly equipped and non functional, is the most expensive hospital ward in the world. No patient has been admitted or treated since it was commissioned. It is a glorified edifice for blood pressure test and diagnostic services.
“Interestingly, after several past denials and defense by Godwin Obaseki’s government, they have now come out to admit that the project is a fraud.
“They stated that the phased opening of the hospital to public use is as a result of fraud in the contract and non supply of equipment fully paid for by the government.
“Let me commend the belated admission and disclosures by the government as contained in the press release of July 4th by Crusoe Osagie. Government admitted that ‘based on the advise of local and international experts on the operational state of facility, the state government is carrying out a major structural adjustment on the facility.’
“While the timing of government admission of fraud in the award and execution may look political because of the current disagreements between the godfather and his godson, the issues cannot be ignored. Government must resist pressure to resolve current political disagreements with this issue.”
Orbih said that in the interest of the people, all those connected with the award, poor execution and commissioning of the project must account for their roles.