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Okowa’s Legacy Projects: Koka Flyover, Many Others And The Need For Continuity
Published Dec 20, 2022 IN Column, STRONGER DELTA,
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 IF the government at the centre is not fighting with doctors, it is the university or polytechnic lecturers or professionals in many other fields, but the unfet­tered reign of industrial harmony in PDP-controlled Delta State, demonstrates that the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, truly deserves a higher national assignment. Not surprisingly, he emerged as the Vice Presidential hopeful of the party in next year’s election.

Governor Okowa holds the highest public service record in the annals of the state (SLG, a pioneer LG Boss, Com­missioners of Health and Water Resources, SSG, Senator of the Federal Republic), unprecedented in the Nigerian political terrain, as he held the aforementioned array of portfolios prior to his governorship of the state, thus he came on board upon a landslide electoral victory, with all it takes for the realisation that as a state government, they can be no separation between growth and how contented and vigourous is the working population, in serving as the engine room for the unfettered delivery of Prosperity for All Deltans. In comparison, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa stands tall and above his peers, including at the national level, where presently, a key sector which has a direct bearing on the national growth and wellbeing, is crippled by a messy industrial dispute, ostensibly against an adamant party, thus failing where Governor Okowa, summoned by his development strides to higher national service, has succeeded, in an unprecedented manner, in engendering an active, knowledgeable and consistent labour force, who exclaim joyfully that workers in Delta State have never had it so good.

On every Labour Day, on May 1, His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has celebrated with workers in the state in an atmosphere of huge fanfare, while always commend­ing them for their sustained support and contributions to the growth and development of Delta State. On hindsight, the prevailing atmosphere of industrial peace is hinged on a symbiotic relationship built on trust, faithfulness and a disposition to engender progress in Delta State. He has always lauded all workers in the state for their com­mitment and cooperation with the state government in the execution of its development plans, particularly the flagship the Stronger Delta Agenda. The welfare of work­ers at all times had remained in the front burner of his administration’s priorities.

To ensure that workers have a conducive and suitable work place, Governor Okowa embarked on the construc­tion of architectural edifice of a new Secretariat Building in Asaba, located on Mariam Babangida Way, where the state government is presently housing all Ministries, De­partments and Agencies in an integrated network, thereby making service delivery by workers seamless.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the new state-of-the-art Central Secretariat Complex built by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Asaba, is one of the governor’s legacies of inspirational and visionary leadership in Delta State. Osinbajo said this while inaugurating the secretariat complex, named after the Asagba of Asaba and Nigeria’s oldest professor, Obi Prof. Chike Edozien. He said that the civil service building of any country or state is one of the major monuments, not just in the seat of power, but also the splendour and the authority of government. He commended Governor Okowa for providing Del­tans with such a historical building and monument and said that the secre­tariat would provide the state’s workforce with a functional building and environment that would bring out the best in them. “Thank you, Your Excel­lency, Governor Okowa for doing me the honour of sharing this historic occasion with you, the government and the people of Delta state. This is historic indeed because the seat of the civil service of any govern­ment, anywhere in the world, is usually one of the major monuments, enshrining not just the power but also the splendour of the authority of government. This imposing complex clearly meets these requirements. In due course, such buildings become historical monuments. The civil service and the people of Delta are today being presented with a state-of-the-art, functional and befitting secretariat complex after so many years. This in itself is worthy of great celebration,’’ he said. He also stated that the other thing was that Delta “is at the same time immortalising the name of one of Delta State’s and indeed, Nigeria’s great and illustrious sons, His Royal Majesty, Professor Chike Edoz­ien, the Asagba of Asaba. Professor Edozien is unarguably Nigeria’s oldest living professor in any discipline and an internationally-renowned Professor of Medicine. But more importantly, he is an outstanding bridge-builder and patriot, as your Excellency confirmed. His Majesty has played and continues to play an important role as a symbol of unity in this state, and during his 30 years reign, the town of Asaba has changed dra­matically. His traditional leadership has ensured that the growth and in­creasing diversity of Asaba has proceeded without tension and antagonism amongst the people who live in the city.

“Your Excellency, I be­lieve that in naming this building after His Royal Majesty, you are not just celebrating a highly re­spected and deserving son of Delta, but also sig­naling the sort of excel­lence in public service that we wish to see incubated within this building. More importantly, you are also saying to a generation that is not even old enough to be employed in the civil service today that integ­rity, diligence and service to community and country still pay. It is my hope that this place will like the eminent personage after whom it is named and be a symbol of distinction and unity.”

Osinbajo commended Okowa for his dexterity in recognising the role of the civil service in building the edifice in spite of dwin­dling revenue receipts. He remarked that the governor deserved commendation for giving the public servants in the state such magnificent edifice as secretariat “because in spite of dwindling revenue receipts and severe re­source constraints across all levels of government in our country, you have been able to provide the funding for this project. “Your recognition of the critical role of the public sector is notable because optimal public service delivery requires an efficient public service which will require a work space that is well equipped, conducive and inspirational. Public servants require an environ­ment that brings out the best in them and this secretariat complex will provide such environment.

“I congratulate you once again my dear brother, Gov­ernor Okowa, for the successful completion of this very important project which is yet another demonstration of what you have shown over the years that with visionary leadership, state governments can do incredible things and this notably will be one of your most worthwhile legacies.” In his address earlier, Governor Okowa com­mended the Vice President for coming to celebrate the landmark event with Deltans, and said that the vice president had aptly demonstrated that he was a true statesman and uncommon leader by always respond­ing whenever the state called on him. “The Government and good people of Delta State appreciate you today and always; we value your friendship, partnership, and genuine interest in the progress of our state. I stand here today feeling very proud of this legacy project. Indeed, I am filled with a great sense of joy, satisfaction, fulfilment, and triumph. It was an arduous journey from the time construction commenced on November 27, 2017, to this momentous occasion. As you would expect, constructing an edifice like this would task the ingenuity, resources and patience of any government in the times we live in. It

 was quite demanding and exacting, and there were times we were tempted to throw up our hands in despair, and even questioned the wisdom for embarking on a project of this magnitude.

“The turbulence that has plagued the economy since 2017 was worsened with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing major financial disruptions during the construction process. However, we persevered and weathered the storm, fully persuaded of the huge benefits accruable to the state once the structure was completed,” he said. Okowa added that with the completion of the complex, the state would save hundreds of millions of naira spent annually in renting offices while the coordina­tion and synergy among MDAs would be enhanced, lead­ing to higher morale, better time management, efficiency and greater productivity.

“This sprawling office complex occupies a total floor space of 45, 000 square metres and designed around five clusters with multiple floors, each cluster around a courtyard. This concept allows plenty of natural light and ventilation into the offices. All the 27 ministries and their commissioners and permanent secretaries will be housed here, with the entire secretariat interconnected through a system of voice and data networks. There are nine seminar/conference rooms, a training room, clinic, creche, banking hall and three restaurants in the build­ing, while the car park has the capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 cars. Electricity supply to the secretariat as with other government buildings is powered by the 8.5 Megawatts Asaba Independent Power Plant. As already announced by my humble self, this building is named ‘Professor Chike Edozien Secretariat’. Perhaps unknown to many, Professor Edozien, the Asagba of Asaba, is a notable scholar in the field of medicine.

“It is in recognition of his accomplishments in the medi­cal profession and his disposition to peace-building and peaceful coexistence among the different ethnic nationali­ties of the state that we decided to name this secretariat in his honour,” he said

He commended the major contractor, North China Construction Nigeria Limited, the consultant architects and project managers, the supervising ministry, sub-contractors, suppliers and site workers for their focus and diligence while the project lasted. “This project tasked their intellect and resourcefulness, and they certainly impressed with their discipline, creativity and never-say-die attitude. “It is my earnest expectation that ministry staff will be motivated to put in their best while striving to keep this facility in excellent condition always. The narrative of poor maintenance culture that has bedeviled the civil service must give way to a sense-of-ownership, complemented by decency and responsibility. This is imperative for the integrity of the civil service establish­ment and the progress of the state and I expect the chief accounting officers of the various ministries to institute strict measures to encourage, enhance and enforce the culture of maintenance,” Okowa stated.

Welcoming guests earlier, Commissioner for Special Projects, Chief Henry Sakpra, said the project was con­ceptualised in 2016 by the Okowa-led administration to provide conducive working environment for the state’s public service. He said actual work commenced in No­vember, 2017 following completion of contract docu­mentation by the state government and the contracting firm. The ceremony was witnessed by the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, Deputy Governor of Delta, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, his Edo counterpart, Comrade Phil­lip Shaibu, Minority Leader of House of Representatives, Chief Ndudi Elumelu and Senator James Manager.

In the past, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, on Workers’ Day, said his administration was fully aware of the challenges of workers, assuring workers that his administration would continually meet its obligation to workers in the state, despite the harsh economic realities of Nigeria. “As we celebrate this year’s Worker’s Day, let me reassure you that my government is fully aware of the challenges faced by workers. We are continuing on the path of development and progress. Despite the tight finan­cial environment, we will continually meet our obligations to the workers in Delta State as and at when due. All we expect from you in return is greater dedication, patience with us and remaining loyal to the government of the day. I urge you to remain resilient, hopeful and focused as we accelerate our determination and resolve to build the Delta State of our collective dream. Let me remind our workers that they have a huge role to play in nurturing, as well as sustenance of our dreams and aspirations as Deltans. You are the engine room of administrative procedures and bureaucracy. It behooves you to render services in line with the vision of a Stronger Delta. An efficient, effective, proactive and responsive civil service is an integral com­ponent of our dreams for a Stronger Delta. Be rest assured that my government will continue to protect and be the guarantor to the constitutionally enshrined rights of all workers across the state’’. Earlier, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku, called on governments at all levels to be more proactive on the issues of insecurity currently plaguing the country, just as they made cases as it concerned their affiliate unions. But the NLC boss commended Governor Okowa for the industrial harmony, among other develop­mental strides, that has prevailed since his assumption of office in 2015. He urged workers to partner government in ensuring the progress of the state through profitable synergy. Also in his message, the State Chairman of the NLC, Goodluck Ofobruku, urged workers to continue to support the present administration, describing Okowa as a worker-friendly Governor. Ofobruku thanked the Okowa administration for the development of state infrastructure across the three Senatorial districts, while urging him to sustain the tempo. The labour leader noted that with the Ultra Modern Central Secretariat for civil servants, work­ers’ output has been greatly enhanced.

Recall also that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, had long ap­proved the full implementation of the new minimum wage as earlier approved by the Federal Government in 2019. This came after a series of meetings between the Delta State Government and the Labour unions on the new na­tional minimum wage for workers in the state. The state government also approved the arrears of two months with effect from November 1, 2019. With the development, Delta State has emerged the sixth state to implement the new minimum wage in the country and the first in the South South and South East regions. The state government had since commenced payment, as well as settled the arrears of the new minimum wage along with that year’s January and February salaries. Indeed, the state govern­ment’s action was in line with the directive of the National Income and Wages Commission. It has always been willing to pay the new Minimum Wage, just as it was assured that Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa would continue to prioritise the welfare of workers, but that the state workforce should at all times, reciprocate the state government’s gesture through hard work. In the past, both the government and labour teams, had been commended for their resilience in making the outcome of any negotiations fruitful. On his part, the Labour Team Leader and state NLC Chairman, Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku and the State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Martins Bolum, commended the state government for its transparency and sensitivity during the negotiation exercise. Whither Okowa’s ‘Prosperity for All Deltans?’ The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, inaugurated on May 29, 2015, has brought joy to all categories of workers- the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa directed the Job Creation Office of the state on ways to calm the suffering of the Delta Steel Company (DSC) workers. No fewer than 26 of the unpaid workers had reportedly died of hunger. Okowa said he would do everything possible to help the workers, express­ing regret over the development. Okowa said he was aware of the situation facing the workers and promised to assist them. He said, “We need to create a programme through the Job Creation Bureau to render assistance to some of the families. We don’t have the capacity to run the company as a state and we are aware that government is divesting interests in running business organisations.”

Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, rightly said that workers are valuable assets in any policy, programme and project implementation. Governor Okowa amidst applause from cheering workers, reeled out his administration’s achieve­ments in meeting with his electoral promises to workers. According to the Governor, “this administration is constant­ly aware of the sacrifices of workers and their contributions to the development of our dear State and country; our workers remain unarguably very important assets in any policy, programme and project implementation, that is why the present administration has sought and will continue to seek the hands of labour, so that together, we can attain the enviable heights of progress in our beloved State.” I sincerely request your (organised labour) cooperation and understanding as partners in progress; we are always conscious of ensuring harmony to bring out the best in the workforce and I assure you that working together, this administration will continue to protect workers’ rights and shall promote incentives for greater productivity leading to greater prosperity”, the Governor said.

He continued, “my dear workers, you are no doubt aware that the state government has approved owner-occupier for the workers residing in the junior staff estate; at the same time, the buildings on the new housing estate on Ibusa road are to be completed and handed over to work­ers; the present administration has continued to keep our promises to our workers; we are paying salaries promptly and when the next Paris Club money is received, we shall assist the local government councils that are indebted to their workers to pay off all that they owe.” The state govern­ment has since redeemed the promises. “It is important that we make clear distinction between state government and local government, what we do as a state must be seen as assistant because, it is not the duty of the state government to pay salaries of local government councils,” Governor

 Okowa clarified. He also clarified that his administration spends about N1 billion monthly for the payment of pensions, noting that the backlog of pension arrears was much but, his administration was making arrangements to clear the backlog. Governor Okowa also, thanked civil servants for their cooperation in ensuring that the clock – in, clock – out mechanism introduced in the state was effective, stating, “with the clock-in arrangement, we will ensure that only those who work receives salaries”, although the measure was suspended due to the COVID-19.

“I am committed to the promotion of worker’s welfare, I have never at any point, suspended promotion of civil servants, but I urge all civil servants to be committed to their duties and ensure effective service delivery,” the Governor stated. Labour said: “our Governor, while we assure you of the workers continuous sup­port to your administration, the organised labour in the state appreciates the giant strides your administration has made in the past three years through your SMART agenda.” Okowa, who thanked organised labour for their support and cooperation for the success of his administration, described the partnership with labour as cordial, respectful and beneficial to Deltans and the state. “I must thank the unions, all our workers for the sup­port and understanding we received; with the prayers and the support of the workforce, Deltans and leaders across the state we were able to consolidate on the promises that we made as a government,” he said.

The governor equally directed that the over 530 staff of Delta State civil service who falsified their retirement age or refused to appear before the Verification Committee On Age Discrepancy And Date Of Birth and Employment of Public Officers in Delta State should be expunged from the payroll immediately.

Receiving the Final Report from the Committee which had Chief Nkem Okwuofu as Chairman, on Monday August 07, 2017 in Asaba, Governor Okowa decried falsification of documents and laxity in the part of those who aid and abet such actions in the public service. He bemoaned the connivance of staff in the falsification and handling of records especially those that are dead and retired, directing the office of the Head of Service to take disciplinary action against the Heads and Directors of affected Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

“It is quite unfortunate that at this point in time we are still dealing with this situation in our public service where people can still voluntarily work with other people to change their date of birth and date of appointment and it is something that all of us must frown at; I frown at such and I believe that the public service and its management must continuously frown at such an act because it is not possible for any staff to unilaterally change his or her date of birth or appointment, so obviously there is a collusion in the entire system and it worries me that at this point in time this is still ongoing”, he said,

“Head of Service, with effect from today, the 402 absen­tees have to be disengaged from the payroll completely and the people that are due to retire, must be expunged from the payroll between today and tomorrow, we cannot continue to tolerate this, it is very unfortunate that we continue to see people who are dead and are still receiv­ing salaries, it is very unsettling and I do not know what the reporting system is; when someone is dead he/she is dead and the name must be removed immediately”, Sena­tor Okowa said

“I think that there is a lot of laxity in the entire system and we must find a way to improve on the workability of the system and people must be held liable and disciplined if they do not do their duties; the permanent secretaries, the directors are there, so henceforth any place we find such laxity the people at the head including the permanent secretary or the director must be disciplined themselves otherwise such acts will continue and it should not be because it is very embarrassing to see people that have died over three years ago and we are still paying them”, he added.

The governor commended the Committee for the exer­cise and assured them that government would implement their recommendations for the betterment of the civil service.

Earlier, while presenting the report, Chief Okwuofu disclosed that a total of 4,742 persons were screened, out of which 1,695 were cleared, 137 were asked to proceed on retirement, 810 had their dates of birth and employment corrected and 2,085 verified and affirmed, while 402 were absent. The correction of dates of birth of some staff in the payroll who ought to have retired but, for the falsification of records and others whose dates of birth were altered though not within retirement age, has resulted in total financial gains of N12,319,762,921.20 for the state government.

Furthermore, On Okowa’s welfarist leadership and general development of the state, it is pertinent to note that despite the economic challenges that greeted his as­sumption of office, Governor Okowa displayed remarkable resourcefulness, resilience and strong managerial acumen, as reflected in the spread and balance of infrastructural projects across the three Senatorial districts of the state, employment generation and notable transformation in the education sector”. They continued, “In less than four years, his administration embarked upon 357 road projects, comprising 1, 056. 15 kms of roads and 352.78 kms of drains; also, his administration has trained huge numbers of young graduates in choice enterprises, while training and empowering Deltans to own their own businesses.

In circumspect, keen observers of the unprecedented development in Delta State, have bestowed added en­ergies to the developmental strides of the performing Okowa Administration, thus bidding it greater speed in the full realisation of the promised Prosperity for All Deltans; their commendations were not meant to serve as idle praise singing or to ruffle the feathers of arm chair critics, who even in the comfort of their arm chairs, cannot deny the glaring fact that Delta State, under the able leadership of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, have never had it so good, just as he continues to soar upon the building blocks of the past years of the state’s existence and to chart unprecedented inroads of democratic dividends- a narrative underscored by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governance in Delta State.

As a performing government, it does not pander to the interests of praise singers and has no need to curry the favour of award givers; but accepts varied acknowledgements because they are the result of the independent verification of a burgeoning era of Prosperity through a people-centred governance, with manifest testimonies of a new dawn across multiple sectors of the state’s economy. Of note is the popular recognition by the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers (NICE), coinciding with his “Finishing Strong Agenda”, thus it is the reflection of a leader, who has never wa­vered in the Godspeed to realise the Delta State of the collective aspiration of all Deltans, while recognising that the greatest recognition would be a good place in history, as he marches on, focused and undistracted, in enthroning a Stronger Delta, now and for posterity.

Analysts ascribed the leap from poverty to prosperity, to the point of leaping towards global reckoning, to the deliberate business climate creation and engagement policy of the Okowa administration. Governor Okowa reeled out several initiatives to actualise his ‘Prosper­ity For All Deltans’ mantra, which has over the years assumed a momentum far beyond mere sloganeering. To achieve the feat, Governor Okowa created the Office of the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer (the first of its kind in Delta State), as a Special Purpose Vehicle to drive the job and wealth creation component of his vision of Prosperity for All Deltans. The office initiated three main programmes namely: Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP); Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Pro­duction and Processing Support Programme (PPSP), all aimed at diversifying the economy of the state and empowering the beneficiaries to become makers of the cake, rather than sharers of same. The programme has become a huge success to the acclamation of Del­tans. The barometer for measuring the success of the programme is in the NBS 2020 statistics on poverty-population among the 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The verdict: More Deltans have exited the bracket in Okowa’s barely five years as governor.

 The average annual growth rate in Delta State from 2013-2015 was 8.9 per cent, but growth accelerated at annual average of 13.2 per cent from 2015-2017. One remarkable social impact of the job creation programme is the mindset shift, among youths, from government (salaried) employment to entrepreneurship and self employment. Through the training and reorientation modules of STEP and YAGEP, the youths are imbibing the principles of skills acquisition and entrepreneurship as a viable employment option. They are now looking beyond and outside their academic certificates for employment and livelihoods, as owners and managers of skills-based enterprises.

For instance, the testimonies: Loveth Enyenakpor was jobless for nine years after graduation from the university. As one of the 2016/2017 Cycle beneficiaries trained and established in fish production, she has grown into a reputable farmer with specialty in catfish and fish feed production. Enyenakpor added another feather to her cap as she was enlisted into the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Foundation. “It is good news to be part of the Tony Elumeu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme”, she enthused. “Out of over 216,000 appli­cants from several African countries, I was among the 3,050 selected.

No doubt, my training under the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) gave me an edge. I am grateful and I believe this is the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey.” The job creation programme is also impacting positively on the growth and develop­ment of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) sector in the state. By providing services as training centres, facilitators and mentors to the programme trainees, hundreds of small and medium enterprises have been stimulated and supported to upgrade their technical, entrepreneurial and managerial capacities, increase visibility/patronage and improve the quality of their services and achieve enterprise development.

The point must be made that the Okowa administra­tion’s intervention programmes for economic empower­ment and wealth creation was not limited to only YAGEP and STEP, the Job and Wealth creation scheme also has the Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (GEST), one of the programmes organised by the Girl Child Em­powerment Office. It aims to provide Delta girls between 18 and 30 years with training in various skills, as well as life building, business and entrepreneurial skills. The ultimate is to create a group of skilled and determined young female SME operators who will turn the state’s and country’s economy around.

There’s also the Women Empowerment Programme designed to enhance the welfare of women in the state. Between 2016 and 2019, women have enjoyed various empowerment programmes as follows: 850 women trained in confectioneries and industrial production, 500 women empowered with cassava processing machine, oil processing machine and fish dryer, while PWDs and women living with HIV were also empowered by the Ministry of Women Affairs in 2019. It should also be noted that in 2020, Delta State Women Empowerment and Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP) was created in line with Governor Okowa’s commitment towards ensuring the sustained empowerment of women in order to enhance economic status of families and peace in the state. So far, 460 women drawn from the 25 lo­cal government areas have completed their training under WESAP and presented with starter packs in their respective areas of vocation. Interestingly, the Job and Wealth Creation Scheme has helped to achieve financial inclusion in the state. The SMART agenda of the admin­istration has surpassed every pillar of the agenda with passion and commitment through strategically designed structures to empower the youth, girl child and women through the job and wealth creation programmes, culmi­nating in the creation of over 100,000 direct and 1,000,000 indirect jobs.

What all these goes to show is the presence of a knowl­edge economy, on the match towards global reckoning: indeed, Shimite Bello, Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on Export Initiative and Cordinator Delta-UNIDO Center, enthused that the state government is committed to supporting workers in the export sector in the state financially and otherwise to ensure there is ‘zero rejection’ of their products at the international scene. A performer extraordinaire, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has turned Delta State into a massive infrastructure haven, encompassing the length and breadth of the state.

It underscored his astute management of the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic situation and his creation of a novel infrastructure base for building a Stronger Delta now and in the future. Indeed, Governor Okowa’s non-stop infrastructural and general development strides across Delta State since May 29, 2015 has been a strong reply to the rigid and close-minded few, whose stock in trade was engaging in idle talk, while Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa came, saw and conquered on the infrastructural turf and across varied sectors of the state’s economy.

 It is noteworthy that Governor Okowa’s resilience and drive for the needed infrastructure turnaround of Delta State was axiomatic with the creation of Prosperity for All Deltans. Given his rich governance experience and most active involvement for a better Delta State and Nigeria, he said: “it’s crucial that we align our programmes with world traits and upscale our vision deliverables by means of considered allocation of resources, prudent administration, in addition to strict and efficient monitoring. Additionally essential in this regard is the creation of Public-Private-Partnership financing fashions, which would speed up infrastructure growth, actualise essential investments and foster inclusivity.” All of the above Governor Okowa exemplifies through fiscal discipline and holding public expenditure within income limits. “This approach has been very helpful in serving Deltans and realising rural-urban integration and concrete urban renewal by means of huge growth of infrastructure, which is among the pillars of our Stronger Delta Agenda.

“My administration launched the development of 799 roads, with a mixed size of 1,577.8 kilometres of roads and 908.34 kilometres of drainage channels, as at June 30, 2021. The 20.28km Obotobo I – Obotobo II – Sokebolou–Yokri – Highway beside the Atlantic Ocean is a basic instance of our dedication to offering infrastructure of the most positive impact on the populace. Certainly, the riverine communities of Burutu,Oporoza, Okerenkoko, Benekuku, amongst several others, now savour the experience of well paved roads, which are no longer the exclusive preserve of the uplands.”

He continued: “Asaba, the capital metropolis of our state, has been remodeled into one of the fastest rising cities in Nigeria. The Asaba Storm Water Drainage and the ultra-modern Central Secretariat, are two of the flag­ship initiatives within the Delta State Capital Territory.”

At this juncture, it is pertinent to say that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has ensured high quality of infrastruc­tural projects, which has not gone unnoticed, hence the rain of numerous awards on the performing Governor. He domesticated the COREN model of project coverage, with the inauguration of the Delta State Expatriates Monitoring Committee and the State Technical Com­mittee, saying that, “it would see to the enforcement of requirements and professional ethics within engineer­ing practice in our state. My administration has since inception, been organising and coaching our engineers via refresher programmes within the Delta State Civil Service, as a way of upgrading and updating their pro­fessional knowledge and abilities on a continuing basis.

Our self-assessment and monitoring has certainly strengthened the present high quality management mechanisms and enhanced the impact of engineering activities by the state.” While workers and governments in many other states are doomed to a cat and mouse rela­tionship, what obtains in Delta State is a solid and robust relationship built on trust, mutual understanding and a promise kept by the Labour-friendly Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to the effect that workers in the state agree that they had never had it so good.

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