By Patrick Ochoga
Members of Trustee, Edo Forum of Patriots, yesterday differ with Professor Pat Utomi, a renowned Economics, whom a remark was credited to him to effect that an Agricultural Produce City is in full operation in Edo State.
Rt. Hon. Bright Omokhodion, a member of the group said Utomi while reacting to a statement made by the former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan on his alleged failed projects and economic initiatives, Utomi debunked the tag of a failed expert as alleged by Uduaghan.
He said as part of his defence and implied success story, Utomi referred to the sterling and thriving project of an Agricultural Produce City he set up in Edo state to put a lie to Uduaghan’s claim.
The Professor was quoted as saying “as we speak, more than one hundred hectares of jungle has been cleared and is continuing. An Independent Power Project (IPP) to power the Produce City in Edo state has commenced activities and hundreds of millions of Naira in investments have also been committed. In 5 years there will be more than 20,000 quality jobs created in that location.”
“While not joining issues with the famous Professor, or attempting to take side in his fall out with ex-Governor Uduaghan, we as a pan Edo sociocultural group committed to the defence of the interests of Edo people worldwide wishes to put the records straight.
“It is true that Prof. Utomi in collaboration with the former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole bulldozed a large portion of land in Ovia North East Local Government area of Edo state for the purpose of setting up an Agricultural Produce City. Indeed the project was launched with fanfare in the twilight of Oshiomhole’s administration.
“Sadly, after the official opening ceremony the caterpillars and bulldozers have all disappeared. As we speak the vast land is not only desolate but has been overgrown by weeds. No single activity is going on there, talk more of employing willing youths in the area.
“As a matter of fact, the host community believes that the whole idea about the Agricultural Produce City was geared towards handing over their land to Prof. Pat Utomi and his business partners. They feel shortchanged and have been made to hold the short end of the stick. In essence, there is no Agricultural Produce City that is thriving and ongoing in Edo state as suggested.”