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UROHI, LEFT IN THE LIMBO

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By Okosun Dennis

 

At first, it looks like a relic of a war-ravaged city with exponential ruination. The sights are horrific and unfriendly. It didn’t look like a place student once sat and enjoyed the best of lectures.

Welcome to Urohi Secondary School, Urohi, established in 1981 by the first Executive Governor of Bendel State, now Edo State, the late Professor Ambrose Folorunsho Ali.

Other decaying infrastructure includes the Health Centre built by the community over two decades ago; the abandoned NDDC road that ought to have crisscrossed into other neighbouring communities and the maternity home located at Eguare-Urohi.

They have decayed beyond recognition as no concerted efforts have been made by successive government in Edo State to give it a facelift despite being the only Secondary School in Urohi Kingdom with over 5,000 population of indigenes.

Unfortunately, the students have been facing excruciating weather conditions as they study under falling roofs.

With several contacts and visitation to the local government council in Ekpoma, and the Ministry of Education in Benin City for intervention, the community has resigned to fate as no one in authority seems bothered to listen to their hues and cries.

Unfortunately, despite promises made by the government of Governor Godwin Obaseki to enhance infrastructure in the community, nothing has been done in one of the state’s food baskets.

During campaigns leading to his second term, Governor Obaseki visited the Onojie of Urohi, HRH Dominic Otokhine 1 at Eguare-Urohi where the traditional ruler pointed out areas that needed urgent attention and intervention including the Primary and Secondary schools and Health Centre located at Urohinagholo.

Nothing has happened. And Obaseki is winding down his administration.

What kept the school on has been the efforts of the community that have put resources together to maintain it and kept it to standards. But with the economic crunch and rising cost of standard of living; that have also affected their incomes.

An old student of the school, Barrister Akomen Adaghe expressed shock that despite efforts put by the community to maintain the school over the years, successive government haven’t seen the need to complement the efforts of the community hence the structures have worsened due to ‘wear and tie’ over the years.

In a protest letter by Urohi Community and signed by Godwin Oseghale Ovu and dated 23rd September, 2022, addressed to the Office of the Commissioner, Ministry of Education through the office of the board Secretary, TVET, they expressed disappointment with the government for the non-inclusion of Urohi Secondary School among the plans of the state government to build 20 modern technical Schools across the state.

The letter further stated that “Urohi Secondary School was built to serve the purpose of giving vocational education to the people of Esan land but successive governments have played politics of sentiment, refusing to continue with the original plan of government.”

In his reaction to the deplorable infrastructure in the community, the Onojie of Urohi Kingdom, His Royal Highness, Dominic Uwuigbowen Otokhine 1 expressed concern and lamented the unfathomable level of decaying infrastructures built by the former Governor of Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Folorunso Ali at the only secondary school in Urohi.

HRH Otokhine 1 worried about government’s irresponsibility to listen to the yearnings of the masses and make life conducive for them in the rural area.

Adding that revamping such infrastructure and building more could actually galvanize a process where some of the youths are encouraged to invest in agriculture in the rural areas rather than embarking on massive urban drift for opportunities that don’t exist in urban areas. By extension, that will check social malfeasance and criminal tendencies.

Lambasting the care-free attitude of government to the growing concerns and abandonment of Urohi Community, an indigene of Ohon, one of the communities making Urohi, Godwin Ovu, a Social Democratic Party candidate for the Edo State House of Assembly, noted the original plan of the late Prof Ambrose Ali to make the school a Technical Education School to serve the whole of Esan West Locals has been distorted.

He also revealed speculated sinister plans by state government to move the Urohi Secondary School built in 1980 by Ambrose Ali to another community; a development that would further accentuate the deepened frustration being undergone by the community.

However, it was learnt that the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Right Hon. Marcus Onobun, an Esan man who is seeking election as a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), into the House of Representatives, has expressed his willingness to assist in renovating the Secondary School. As that is expected, it is still a dream in the pipe and until that is achieved, it’s like waiting for Samuel Beckett “Goddot.”

Also lending his voice, Elder Momodu from Evbhokhure-Urohi appealed to the government to come to the aid of the community. He noted that apart from the ugly sights of the schools, the road has been abandoned by NDDC for several years.

However, the only road to Urohi Community from Ekpoma, which was awarded by NDDC have been abandoned for the past five years or more. Ordinarily, the road was designed to link Ujogba, Amahor through to Benin City.

Also, one of the feeder roads through Evbhokhure in Urohi to Riboribo dovetailing into Uhi and linked Ehor extending to Benin City, has also been abandoned and impassible. All cosmetic efforts to keep the road pliable are strictly by indigenes of the communities using the road.

The only market located in Eguare was abandoned by the Esan West Local Government council for years until the indigenes took up the challenge to renovate it few years ago. Despite its abandonment, officials of Esan West revenue team go to the community on market days to extort the community through taxes and levies during market days.

With farmers as predominantly rural dwellers, Urohi produces pineapple, yam, cassava (garri), plantain and are abundantly available in the village.

In the area of electricity, the poles and transformers are only standing as appendages as electricity supply to the village is once in a blue moon. At the moment, most villages have solar powered street lights provided by the indigenes; making the community well illuminated at night.

The only means of access to water is through boreholes at Eguare and Ohon sold at reduced prices. Those that can’t afford it or not close to, take advantage of the streams in some communities.

Many of the community members that spoke to our correspondent are of the opinion that the sooner government attention is gotten to revamp the schools, roads, health centre and others amenities, the better which would invariably contribute more to their production capacity in agriculture and enhance their purchasing abilities and make life more pleasurable.

As expectations grow, it’s not yet Uhuru for Urohi people in Esan West local government delineated as Ward 8 in the state electoral constituency.

https://any.peopleandpowermag.com/urohi-left-in-the-limbo/

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