By Egufe Yafugborhi
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has said the flag off of Africa’s first marine university in Okerenkoko, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State is a proof that there can be no development without peace.
The President was addressing stakeholders at the palace arena of the paramount ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom, yesterday, before proceeding to perform the flag off of the university at Kurutie as well as ground breaking for the maritime shipyard/dockyard at Okerenkoko.
“Everybody wants development, but the fact remains that there can’t be any development without peace. The last time I visited here (Gbaramatu) to see the people after the troubles before amnesty, nobody was smiling. I could not smile and the people I had come to see now could not smile”, he said.
“Today, we have come to open a marine university and everyone is smiling and happy. Without peace, the atmosphere would not have supported this.
Nobody would have thought of this. So I thank the Gbaramatu people, the people of the Niger Delta for embracing peace to create the enabling environment and the supervising Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, for leading the justification for the projects”.
The President, however, lowered the colour of the event by appealing against excessive cultural celebrations, dances and display in honour of the missing Chibok girls, saying it was only reasonable to have the event low keyed as the “world joins Nigeria is ensuring that our innocent children being held by those who don’t wish the nation well are released alive.”
Earlier in his address, the Minister for Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, noted that the marine university and shipyard/dockyard, complementing each other are, beyond spreading national development, located in Gbaramatu based on the community’s comparative advantage of affinity and proximity to shipping routes as well as the presence of abundant hydrocarbon resources in the locality.
The Director General of NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, said the university would take off immediately on temporary structures located at Kurutie while simultaneous construction of the permanent site and that of the ship yard/dockyard go on at Okerenkoko.
Host Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and his Anambra State counterpart, Dr. Willie Obiano, were in the entourage of Jonathan during the visit.