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Cablegate: Nigeria: Edo Commissioner for Local Government

VZCZCXRO5372
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0439/01 3120820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070820Z NOV 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0278
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9925

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000439

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
DOC FOR 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
STATE PASS USTR FOR USTR AGAMA
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN AND MSTUCKART
STATE PASS TDA FOR LFITT, PMARIN
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON ELTN SENV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: EDO COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AFFAIRS OUTLINES GOVERNOR OSUNBOR'S PRIORITIES

1. (SBU) Summary: The Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP)
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs of
Edo State, Austine Momodu, told PolOffs October 24 that the
priorities of Governor Oserheimen Osunbor (PDP) included
building roads, rehabilitating hospitals and building police
barracks. Momodu stressed that people fleeing violence in
the Niger Delta have moved to Edo State where there is no
militancy; consequently crime in the State is increasing.
Momodu denied attacks by the military Joint Task Force (JTF)
against communities in the State. The Osunbor government is
under intense pressure to produce tangible gains for the
electorate as it awaits the outcome of its appeal of the
election tribunal's declaration that the Action Congress
candidate, Adams Oshiomhole, won the 2007 gubernatorial
election. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Commissioner for Local Government and
Chieftaincy Affairs of Edo State, Austine Momodu, told
PolOffs on October 24 that Governor Oserheimen Osunbor has
made the construction of passable roads his top priority
since taking office. Momodu stressed the deplorable condition
in which the present government found the roads, noting that
a particular problem had been clogged drainage systems which
caused the roads to flood extensively during the long rainy
season. (Note: the previous administration of Governor Lucky
Igbinedion also belonged to the PDP. End Note) The Osunbor
government selected key road projects in each of the three
senatorial districts in the state.

3. (SBU) The second priority of the government is hospital
rehabilitation. The unreliability of electric power is a
major problem, which is why the Edo State government is
working to ensure that all hospitals have their own
generators. Momodu noted that many doctors drawing salaries
at state hospitals were in fact working in private practice
and had to be induced to return to their jobs. He also
mentioned the need to equip hospitals properly, although he
gave us no specifics as to what, if anything, the Governor
was doing in this regard.

4. (SBU) The construction or rehabilitation of police
barracks is a third priority in the state. Every single LGA
was tasked with ensuring, either by building new facilities
or renovating existing facilities, that police housing in
their jurisdiction is adequate. (Note: Absence of adquate
police housing is a nationwide problem having significant
impact on police morale. End note)

5. (SBU) Turning to education, Momodu admitted that many
primary schools in the State lack even chairs. Primary
schools are under the jurisdiction of the Local Government
Areas, but these work closely with the state Ministry of
Education, Momodu alleged. The state also carries out monthly
inspections of the schools, he said, and offered to allow
PolOffs on their next visit to go along on the inspections.

6. (SBU) Asked about potable water in Edo State, Momodu noted
that there had been many water projects in the State over the
years, but most of these had broken down due to insufficient
maintenance. However, the State has identified key projects
which warrant re-habilitation. A Chinese firm has been
contracted to carry out this work.

7. (SBU) PolOffs asked about press reports that ethnic Ijaw
communities in Edo State had been attacked by the JTF and
"wiped out." Momodu sharply denied the truth of these
reports, stressing that he, as Commissioner for Local
Government Affairs, would certainly have heard about any such
cases.

8. (SBU) Comment: The Osunbor government is under great
pressure to produce tangible results as it awaits the
decision by the court on the governor's appeal of the
declaration by the elections tribunal that Action Congress
candidate Adams Osiomhole won the 2007 gubernatorial
elections. Clinging to power as a result of the appeal,
Osunbor has undoubtedly done some if not all of what his
commissionor claims.

9. (U) This cable was cleared by Abuja.

LAGOS 00000439 002 OF 002


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