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By Anslem Etolor
Those who are familiar with Delta prior to 2015 will understand the level of infrastructure upgrade that the state has witnessed in order to make it liveable and meet the challenges of a modern city state where citizens can live and do business in any part of Delta.
Okowa’s signature is inscribed in every section of the state within the last six years and has provided purposeful political leadership in Delta. One mistake most public commentators make is to jump at every fancy project other states embark upon to measure their supposition of development without understanding that development transcends fancy flyovers and parks. Nobody is saying flyover is not good, but in constructing them, you will consider the traffic level of the city as well as interconnectivity of roads that such projects intend to serve.
Aware of the challenges faced by Deltans and the need to fill the gaps created in several sectors of the state, the Okowa administration embarked upon massive infrastructural development of roads and drainage in order to provide access to inner cities and solve the flooding challenge in the state.
What we have witnessed in the last six years is an unprecedented harvest of people centred projects such as the reconstructed Mariam Babangida road, DLA Road and adjourning streets including Jesus saves, Network internal roads and interceptions in Okpanam just to mention a few, which has transformed the face of the capital territory. Needless to mention the remodelled Asaba International Airport and Stephen Keshi Stadium which have sold the state in positive light before the international community.
Other projects include the Effurun-Otor-Ovwor bridge, Ubeji access road in Warri South Local Government Area, access road from NPA to Warri Refinery and Petrochemicals in Effurun, the dualized Emore road Oleh, the rehabilitated 34 kilometres Otu-Jeremi-Okwagbe Road which are very key to the people living in those areas.
Beyond all of these, the state government has established nine new technical colleges which are at various stages of completion, to compliment the existing six technical colleges that ranks amongst the best in Nigeria with full accreditation from NBTE. The massive infrastructure in these new technical colleges is indeed a testament of Okowa’s commitment towards providing the most appropriate atmosphere for our children to learn and acquire formal skills that will place them at an advantage above their peers.
One giant infrastructure that catches the eyes on the ever busy Mariam Babangida road is the Central Secretariat Project which is at the final stage of completion and will be inaugurated in December as stated by the governor.
Research has proven that there is a positive relationship between physical work environment and employees productivity and that’s what this new secretariat project will demonstrate once it has been put to use by workers who will have comfortable offices to do their work with twenty four hours of electricity supply provided by the state government initiative of building a power plant that will supply uninterrupted power to government facilities.
The Ultramodern secretariat complex is built to meet the modern needs of today’s worker as it has a banking facility, daycare centre for nursing mothers, canteen and clinic service. This infrastructure is built and calibrated to provide workplace efficiency and ease of communication between government ministries and reduce wastage of manpower which will translate to optimal productivity.
Okowa’s infrastructural footprint are felt deep inside the creeks and you hardly can find that anywhere in Nigeria where development is spread across every section of the state without neglecting those who live in the riverine communities and rural towns
Beyond all of these, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has changed the narrative of rural communities by ensuring that people living in the creeks feel a pulse of what development entails in their locality by embarking on massive urban renewal efforts in towns and villages.
It will interest Deltans to know that this administration has shown greater commitment towards development of rural communities including those in the creeks who abinitio were neglected by successive governments both at the state and federal level.
The state government undertook the construction of critical infrastructure in Burutu, Warri North and Warri South-West local government areas which is a major milestone by the Sen Okowa led administration towards ensuring inclusive development of the state with emphasis on providing access roads to those who contribute meaningful quota to the nations earning that have been abandoned over the years.
Burutu which is the headquarters of Burutu local government and one of the thriving communities in the early eighties due to huge private sector presence and abandoned sea port was almost a shadow of itself until the rural revolution of Senator Okowa who embarked on massive infrastructure development across the state in bid to make every part of Delta habitable.
If you go to Burutu this administration haven paved all the roads in Burutu town, moved ahead to provide other infrastructure across several communities in the local government area.
It is noteworthy to state that Governor Okowa’s administration had also, undertaken the construction of Rigid Concrete Pavement Road at Obitobon-Elolo-Ajaokurogbo-Orubu, Ogidigben, construction of Access Road to Nigeria Maritime University Okerenkoko (Kurutie Campus), the main Axial road in Okerenkoko, construction of Oporoza township roads in Gbaramatu Kingdom, all in Warri South West Local Government Area.
Before now the people of Gbaramatu kingdom have never had it this good in terms of physical infrastructure as they have witnessed under governor Okowa resulting in accelerated growth within the local economy. A tour of Okerenkoko, Kurutie and Oporoza shows a rapid departure of the former abnormal state where the goose that laid the golden egg upon which the country is sustained were denied a sense of belonging in the development of the state in which they contribute largely to.
A quick visit to Ogulagha kingdom paints a picture of a thriving rural economy where most of its inhabitants are fishermen and traders who deal in the business of fish merchandise. Ogulagha is the traditional headquarters of the kingdom sitting pretty on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean but what will amaze you is the fact that a community deep into the atlantics has motorable road network running from Ogulaha through Binibeama and on the other side you have Sokebolou – Yokiri road.
The Construction of Ogulagha/Youbebe/Biniebiama road as well as the 20.29 km Obotobo 1- Obotobo 11 – Sokebolou – Yokri Road in Ogulagha Kingdom, in Burutu Local Government area by the Okowa led administration in its drive for infrastructural and urban renewal efforts considering the human, material, ecological and financial implications that this difficult terrain presents.
The 25.8 kilometers long Ode Itsekiri road with 19 bridges is another project the administration is committed to its completion haven inherited it from the previous administration.
The multi-billion naira road project which links Ubeji, Ifie, Ijala, Ogbodede, Inorin, Ajigba, Orugbo, Usele, Ode-Itsekiri had opened up the Ubeji to Ifie side of the Warri River and had attracted six tank farms and other multi-billion naira investments which is contributing to the economy of the area and the state.
Another wonder of the Okowa administration is the multi billion naira Ogheye floating market in Warri North which is nearing completion. The market when completed will boost economic activities within that corridor and provide conducive environment for our mothers and others who ply their trade.
The Tuomo/Ojobo road which is key to opening up Southern part of Burutu is another key developmental project that the Okowa administration in Delta is committed to its completion. This project which will inadvertently boost the socio-economic life of other adjourning communities in that corridor of the state as well as ease the movement of goods and services will further open up the area to investments.
Okowa unlike others who are afraid of the humongous resources that will be deployed to construct a kilometre of road in the creek or to build a structure capable of housing students and people that live in the riverine communities took the bull by the horn and broke the invisible barrier that had retarded development in riverine communities.
One unseen truth is that the efforts put in towards ensuring that projects in riverine areas are given priority attention so as to give the people a feel of their entitlement as stakeholders in the state. But these development will not be visible to the public but the Okowa led administration has been able to put in a whole lot of resources to build roads in the difficult terrains of the state and the people who live and do business in these areas are very happy with what the administration is doing.
Despite the economic challenges facing most governments, Okowa has been exemplified in the quick impact and legacy projects being delivered to Deltans particularly to rural communities.
It is only a man who believes that every section of Delta deserves to be developed, will commit so much resources towards improving the economic fortunes of riverine communities as we have witnessed over the last six years.
It is therefore imperative for us to give this administration the necessary support it needs to succeed in it’s bid towards transformation of both rural and urban areas in Delta state.