Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has promised to focus on infrastructural development in his second term in fulfilment of his campaign promises, reports OKUNGBOWA AIWERIE.
Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and his deputy, Kingsley Utuaro, were sworn in on May 29.
He swung into action by making three key appointments:
Chiedu Ebie, Secretary to the Government (SSG) , David Edebvie, Chief of Staff, and Solomon Funkekeme, Senior Political Adviser.
Following these appointments, no further appointments were made, a situation that raised tension among members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Despite intense pressure from partymen for appointments, Okowa staggered the appointments into his government.
According to Okowa, the delay is to ensure that “the right set of persons are put into the right positions”.
He added: “I believe that the process of political appointments is continuous and appointments will come in batches because, we are all aware that there is room for a lot of people to be given political appointments, but, it is not possible to appoint all Deltans into office.”
“The appointment and swearing-in of this set of Special Advisers, further demonstrates this administration’s determination and collective resolve to put in place, a viable machinery of governance, which will assist in meeting the challenges of repositioning the State towards achieving our vision of a stronger Delta, the appointments we are making are premised on professionalism, merit and competence and I urge those who are yet to be appointed to be patient because, all those who worked will be rewarded in one way or the other.”
But following the release of the final batch of appointees, Okowa was critised by the ex-minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.
Orubebe’s outburst prompted an angry response from Okowa, who blamed the former minister outburst on his refusal to appoint his nominee.
The governor urged leaders of the PDP “to show some level of decorum in whatever they say or do; because, I am not the kind of man that want to be dragged into arguments with our leaders because I have a lot of respect for them, but when some leaders go off course sometimes, it is important to put things in the right perspective.”
Another pressure group, ‘The Egbema Leaders of Thought’ in Warri North Council urged Okowa to appoint their sons and daughters into his government.
The group said the appointments should be the reward for their loyalty and support for him during the last election.
Aroni Oputu, who spoke on behalf of the group said the people have not been given political appointment, despite “our loyalty and massive votes to deliver Governor Okowa and all PDP candidates in every election in the state.”
He added: “We have always supported and voted the PDP in every election, but when it is time for political appointment, the people of Egbema have never been considered. We are begging our dear governor to consider us this time”.
Okowa has made strides in the development of infrastructure people complain that road projects are substandard.
He has tackled the perennial flooding that have bedeviled Asaba, the state capital, by embarking on a N11.5 billion drainage project.
When completed, the three, although storm water routing projects in Asaba will address flooding in the capital, the Works Commissioner, James Augoye, said.
He said the administration engaged experts that undertook the study of the entire Asaba area.
The commissioner said that at the end of the study, eight storm water channels were outlined with their corresponding costs and three were identified to be strategic in the interim.
He expressed optimism that the perennial flooding would be a thing of the past after the completion of the projects.
His words: ‘‘The first is the continuation and completion of the construction of the 2.44-kilometre length storm water control measures in Direct Labour Road (DLA) /Jesus Saves corridor in Asaba awarded on May 15, 2017 to CCECC at the cost of N1.7 billion.
“The second is the construction of 4.33-kilometre length the storm water discharge channel along Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS)/ Umejei Adudu Way to Amilimocha River, Asaba, awarded to Setraco at the cost of N5.2 billion.
“The third is the construction of 3.5-kilometres network channels storm water drainage along Amb. Ralph Uweche Way to Anwai River, Asaba, awarded to CCECC on Jan. 25 2018 at the cost of N4.6 billon.’’
With the storm drain nearing completion, it remains to be seen if it will bring succour to long suffering residents of Asaba.
Another project which has received Okowa’s attention is the N13 billion Central Secretariat Complex awarded to Chinese construction giant CCECC .The secretariat will house ministries and MDA’s in the state capital.
During an unscheduled visit, Okowa expressed optimism that the project will save the state millions paid on rented buildings housing government parastatals.
Okowa said: “I am very impressed with what I saw.The secretariat seems to be getting massive as it is nearing completion.We are happy with the pace of work.”
Another area that has received attention is technical education, with the approval for the establishment of Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education.
According to the SSG Chiedu Ebie, the policy will motivate present and future generations of Deltans to compete with their peers on the world stage where science, technology and innovation provide the framework for living.
He said government was planning to establish technical colleges in each local government areas where none currently exist.
The SSG said the functions of the new ministry include formulation of policies for technical education and management of technical colleges and vocational centres in the state.
Other functions are the coordination of the accreditation of technical colleges and vocational centres, process the registration and licensing of vocational enterprise institutions, coordinate partnership and investment of technical colleges and vocational Centres in the state, as well as liaise with appropriate MDAs in the implementation of technical and vocational education and training programmes of the state.
The ministry is expected to take off with four departments, which comprise Planning, Research and Statistics, Administration, and as Finance and Accounts Departments.