Admittedly, the more things change, the more
they remain the same. Kidnapping has been with
man from time. In our younger days, at the shout of
“Gbomo gbomo”, every child ran inside and locked
the door. Gbomo gbomo were the kidnappers of
that time who did not carry out their trade for
They took away children for rituals. They were
petty traders but along the line, they also stole
In the tradition of Gbomo gbomo, the Federal
Government of Nigeria is on rampage, looking for
roads to steal. It could be that they deal on other
items and projects but in Edo State, their major
specialisation is on roads, good roads. The reader
will recollect that this was what spurred us into
doing the work titled, “Stealing by Sign Posts”.
Since the appearance of the work in this Column
on December 29, 2011, which sparked off a lot of
controversy at the time, they slowed down to allow
the dust settle.
It is necessary to pause a little and find out if the
reader has been to that part of Benin City called
Five-Junction, so called because it is a confluence
where the roads coming from Lagos, Iyaro, Wire
Road, TV Road, and New Lagos Road, all
converge. Until the arrival of the Oshiomhole
administration, it was the worst part of the town.
The area was water-logged and the roads had the
biggest potholes (rather, pig holes!) imaginable. At
that time, each time it showered, at a single drop of
water, the whole place was impassable. Traffic was
held up for hours unend. It provided a nightmare for
motorists and other road users.
Then came the Oshiomhole administration, which
took on the area head long and gave it a 360
degree turn-around. The worst became the best. It
is a sight to behold. It provides the type of wonder
which some British men saw when they visited
France and surmised, “See Paris and die”.
Apart from the major road, about 15 adjourning
streets and arteries have been carefully revamped
and properly manicured to fit the standard of roads
found anywhere in the world. If you think the road is
good, just wait till the flood lights go on at night.
When the streets were newly commissioned,
children were playing football on them till midnight.
That’s what propelled the inhabitants of the area to
vow that no a single vote of theirs will be denied the
ACN at any election.
If only the Federal Government understood this,
they would work instead of going about
“kidnapping” state projects. In the Gbomo gbomo
tradition, the Federal Government was at its best
during the so-called Good Governance Tour in
EdoState. They came; they saw; and they
kidnapped. The team passed through the Five-
Junction and other areas of the State in absolute
bewilderment. In the evening of the last day, they
collected themselves in a hotel in the GRA in what
they termed a Town Hall meeting. The meeting had
in attendance, a cluster of their party men. Then it
was time to announce to the audience that the
Five-Junction project was for the Federal
Government. The Works Minister received a
standing ovation on behalf of the Federal
Of course, this was irritating to the Oshiomhole
administration, which had decided that it was not in
the best interest of the tax-payer who already sees
what he is doing to pay a heavy bill for others to
come and inform the people what the
administration is doing. The projects speak for
themselves. All the same, the administration was
not going to open its eyes and watch others claim
credit for its achievements.
First thing the following morning, a visibly enraged
Comrade Oshiomhole was at the Five-Junction. He
was not happy that the Contracting Firm, Reynolds
Construction Company, RCC, did not provide
enough signs to show who owned the project. Not
to worry. The Company’s Project Manager, Mr.
Yaniv Dabar, was on hand to explain the situation.
Hear him: “Edo State Government is doing Five-
Junction. The road, the erosion control,
beautification and street lights at the Five-Junction
are being financed and executed by the Edo State
Dabar should have realised that it is folly to be wise
where ignorance is bliss. He should have known
that under the PDP administration, only falsehood
can set one free. For telling the truth, he must be
punished. We hear that Dabar’s truth was what
made him a persona non grata. He was apparently
bundled into the next available plane and
repatriated to his country. If it is a coincidence, it
must be a great one. A witch cried all night and the
following morning, a baby died. Do we need a
soothsayer to explain the cause of the baby’s
death? The company has since issued a flimsy
statement that Dabar travelled home on vacation.
Unknown to the Federal Government, these are
the small things that go into equation when
deciding where the scale shall fall in judging a
country. Again, President Jonathan has carved out
a niche for himself: The most criticised politician in
the entire globe and he is enjoying it. This tradition
must be sustained. This explains why when he is
not busy granting unpardonable pardons, his men
are busy kidnapping state projects.
In all this, why would he not remain the most
criticised? This is one man whose administration
has kept demonstrating a penchant for the
disobedience of law. In which other country would
an administration openly ask its functionaries to
brazenly disobey a law duly enacted by the
National Assembly, as the Budget Office, Ministry
of Finance, has just done with the 2013
Kidnap, under any guise, is contemptible.
EdoState, which is in a hurry to develop, must now
devote a good part of the resources that would
have gone into further development to avoidable
labeling of projects, all because Gbomo gbomo is
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