Pharm. Matthew Aisagbonriodion Urhoghide (FPSN)
Pharm. Matthew Aisagbonriodion Urhoghide (FPSN) was born on August 8, 1955 to Late Pa. Daniel Ediagbonya Urhoghide and Madam Rebecca Avanrenren Urhoghide (nee Obasohan). He attended St. Matthews Primary School, Sokponba Road, Benin City and Eghosa Grammar School in Benin City. For his tertiary education, he studied at the University of Benin, Benin City from where he graduated in Pharmacy. He is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and currently the Chairman, Management Board of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Representation in Governance
Representation is about the people. Governance is the relationship between the people and those who lead them. The people can be represented at different levels of governance. Productive representation is one in which those represented derive tangible benefits. These benefits are deliverables on campaign promises made in good faith. Good governance is measured by the quantum of benefits that those represented or governed get in the process. This should be the minimum expectation.
My Social Contract with Edo South people:
When elected to the National Assembly as the Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, I Pharm. Matthew Aisagbonriodion Urhoghide, with all sense of sincerity and responsibility, state that I shall pursue the under-listed projects with every ounce of energy I can muster and they shall qualify as my social contract with the people of Edo South Senatorial District upon which I should be judged.
- Revisit Edo State Boundary Adjustment Delineation:
Edo State is one of the Niger-Delta states in the country because it is an oil and gas producing state. The oil deposits are found only in Ikpoba-Okha, Orhionmwon and Ovia North East Local Government Areas in the state. Edo State is only described as one of the Niger-Delta States because of the oil deposits in these three LGAs in the Edo South Senatorial District. This makes it entitled to its share of the thirteen percent derivation that is allocated to the oil-producing states in Nigeria. From all records, Edo State currently gets the least amount accruable to it from the sharing. What a state gets is dependent on what it has as deposits on land and the adjacent continental shelf. The continental shelf is the body of water that is within the immediacy of a land mass. In the past Edo State had access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Bight of Benin and consequently had oil deposits in the estuaries of the River Niger as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. As it stands today, Edo State has become landlocked, a consequence of unfair confiscation by Delta and Ondo States of her right to the sea. By reason of this, revenue accruable to Edo State from the thirteen percent derivation fund from oil is diminished as the State is assessed by the oil on its land. Revenue would have been more should the state be assessed only by the quantity of oil on land and water. The benefits of increased federal allocation to Edo State from this source cannot be overemphasized. Increased revenue will enable the state have more funds for development. I will revisit this boundary delineation with the National Boundary Commission to correct the inequity if elected to the Senate.
- Ensure Commensurate Representation at the House of Assembly
Going by the demographics released by the National Population Commission in 2006, Edo State has a total population of 3,233,366. Edo South Senatorial District has a total population of 1,686,041. The people of Edo South Senatorial District are therefore more than half the population of all the people living in Edo State. In fact, Edo south Senatorial District has 52.15% of the total population of the state thus making it larger in population than the North and Central Districts put together which is 1,547,325 representing about 47.85%.
Edo State is delineated into 24 State Constituencies which translates to 24 seats in the House of Assembly. Presently, one of the major indices for representation is population. The question here is how come Edo South with a population of over 52% has only 10 of the 24 seats and the other two Senatorial Districts with a population of 47.85% have the remaining 14 seats in the state House of Assembly. This unfair and awkward arrangement is tantamount to under-representation of the Senatorial District in the State Assembly. It is only reasonable that Edo South should have more than half the number of legislators at the state House of Assembly. As a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I shall start the process that will ensure that Edo South gets more than the 10 seats it presently has so as to fairly reflect its size and for adequate representation.
A critical look at population figures and representation in Edo State will reveal some inequities. If LGAs like Etsako West with a population of 198,975, Esan North East with a population of 121,989, Akoko Edo with a population of 261,567, Orhionmwon with a population of 183,194 and Ovia North East with a population of 155,344 have two-seats representation at the state House of Assembly, it is only fair that Egor LGA with a high population figure of 340,287, Ikpoba-Okha with a population of 372,080 etc should have two or more seats.
- Support for the Introduction of Local Government Development Centers or Areas
Local Government Administration which is the third-tier of government at its creation in 1976, was meant to ensure a government that would bring development closest to the grassroot. As well-intentioned as it was then it is now evident that this objective has not been achieved in practically all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria. One of the major reasons for this failure is the distance between the LGA headquarters or seat of government and some of the people and places they were established to cater for. For example, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, the Council Headquarter is situated at Idogbo Ward 8 which is deep into Upper Sokponba Road. This local government area has 10 wards. Four of the wards, that is, Wards 1-4 are situated in Ikpoba Hill axis. This makes these places and people too far from the seat of government of the council. Even Ward 10 in the same local government which is Ologbo is too far from Idogbo. In Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Abudu is the seat of government and this makes it too far from some of its jurisdiction like Urhonigbe or Orogho. In Oredo Ward 2 which has rural components comprising of over 36 villages in Iyekogba the Council headquarters which is situated at the Ring Road is too far removed from the people it is created to serve. Ovia North East has components at Ekehuan known and referred to as Oghede and Oduna Wards, which are too far from the headquarters in Okada. This untidy arrangement prevails in most LGAs in Edo South. As a Senator, I shall support and encourage the state governor to create Local Government Development Centers or Areas to bring governance closer to the people that will occasion more development at the grassroot and in the process, create more jobs.
- Introduction of Edo South Senatorial District Scholarship Scheme
As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will support and encourage the seven local government councils in Edo South Senatorial District to create a fund for the purpose of helping indigent and needy students as education scholarships and bursaries as we used to have in times past. The fund will be known as the Edo South Senatorial District Scholarship Fund. Contributions to the fund will be from the local government councils, well-meaning individuals like me and organizations.
- The Senator Urhoghide Scholarship Scheme
I believe that human capital development is always adjudged as one of the best achievements of any society or government. The development of science and technology that drives the world today is based on education. I strongly believe that education forms the bedrock for the development of any environment and its people. Education therefore must be given its top priority and massive funding. As a Senator representing Edo south Senatorial District, I shall create a personal scholarship scheme to be funded by my allowances and the scholarships from this scheme will be accessed by everyone living within the District. A body of administrators will be carefully selected to manage the scheme fairly.
- Infrastructure Development
As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I shall attract quality physical developments from the center to the senatorial district and these will be evenly distributed. Citing the projects shall be on a needs and exigency basis which shall be determined by reasonable coordinates agreed upon as a fall out of item (j. 3) below.
- Youth and Women Empowerment Centers
- I shall construct a state-of-the-art Youth Center with donations that shall be requested from banks and other establishment in fulfillment of their corporate-social-responsibility. The center shall have: A FIFA-sized football field, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a library, lawn-tennis and basketball courts, a rentable sports outfit shop, a rentable barber shop, restaurant and skill acquisition center. It shall have a heritage hall and two floors as event centers that can generate money to run it. After school, youths can meet here to develop ideas and relax. Feasible ideas developed by any youth shall be sponsored and exceptional youths shall have either his bust or picture framed and placed in the Heritage Hall. I shall bring professionals to look at the youths who are footballers, musicians, businessmen, actors etc for possible engagement. I shall, as Senator of the Federal Republic, get fellow senators to endow a number of the departments which shall be named after the donors. Location of the center has been determined and discussions are ongoing with facilitators. My constituency office shall be located within this building thus putting me right there with the people.
- I shall also establish a Women Center where women can acquire skills through vocational training and develment. Young women and widows can take advantage of these provisions to improve their lot
- Establishment of Cottage Industries
The need to, not only gainfully employ the youths and women within Edo South Senatorial District, but also to engage them in wholesome and respectable occupation. This has been a burning desire in me since I first showed interest to run for public office. As a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I shall establish cottage industries where women and youths can find meaning and purpose for their lives. These industries shall be established in places where they enjoy comparative advantages.
- Low Interest Loans
I shall create a low-interest revolving loan scheme where petty traders and small business operators can access loans for their businesses. The loans will attract little or no interest. The purpose of this is to give a chance to entrepreneurs who may not find financial support for their enterprise any other way. Eligibility to loan benefits shall be open to all serious traders, artisans and small business owners within Edo South Senatorial District and interest on the loans, where it exists, shall be charged after a three-month loan-turn-around grace period. Administrators of this scheme shall be appointed after careful consideration of applicants.
- Legislative Duties/Representation
A Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria statutorily:
- Makes laws for the good governance of Nigeria.
- Performs oversight functions for the development of our national institutions, Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
- Represents his primary district or constituency.
The representation referred to in No. 3 above includes the convening of quarterly Town Hall Meetings with stakeholders within Edo South Senatorial District so that the people of the district can have access and connect with governance in a participatory way. Decisions reached at these meetings shall form the work program of my senatorial duties. The proposed regular Town Hall Meetings between the representative and the represented has not been a practice before now in Edo South Senatorial District. My commitment to these statutory duties is sacrosanct.
With these set objectives in mind which are achievable with the cooperation of the people of Edo South Senatorial District, I intend to bring back the pride of Edo South people and all her institutions to national relevance, prominence and visibility where our due respect and portion of the national resources are guaranteed.
The quest for a vocal defense of the Benin aspiration is finally here and our collective determination to build a new political culture that will form the basis of a sustainable socio-economic development of all the peoples in Edo South Senatorial District is the impetus for my desire to represent the District.
This desire came to the fore and was tested at the first opportunity to serve in an appointive capacity. As Chairman of the Management Board of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, I have facilitated the employment of over 36 Edo indigenes in positions as Honorary Consultants, Resident Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses and Administrative cadre staffers without regard to their ethnicity. For me, one of the qualifications for these beneficiaries outside of their educational appropriateness was their Edo origination.
Sustenance of this love for our peoples would enlarge the coast of progressively increasing number of Edo indigenes and that, by and by, would guarantee access, prominence, relevance and visibility for those I have been elected and have sworn to represent.
This vision will form an endurable foundation on which our collective will, aspiration and ambition can be built as a people just like the other domineering ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.