Ben Agande, Abuja.
President Goodluck Jonathan has reassured the urhobo nation that his administration attaches the highest value to their contributions to national development and will therefore do all within its powers to address issues that are of concern to the ethnic group.
Speaking during an audience with a delegation of the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), led by its President-General, Major-General Patrick Aziza (rtd.), President Jonathan promised that all the concerns raised by the Union will be referred to the relevant Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies for prompt attention.
“Government is to solve problems. Our duty is to see how we can address the concerns of all of our people,” the President told the delegation.
President Jonathan assured the delegation that his administration had no intention of moving the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun from its present location and urged them to disregard rumours that the institute is to be relocated elsewhere.
He thanked the Urhobo for their support for his administration, saying that he greatly appreciated their coming to share some of their concerns with him.
Briefing the delegation, as directed by President Jonathan, on actions already being undertaken by the Federal Government to address issues raised by the UPU, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, said that the East-West Road will be completed by December, 2014.
Elder Orubebe said that of the 42 bridges and 1040 culverts that were needed on the road, 36 bridges and 860 culverts had already been completed, while two more bridges will be completed by the middle of next month.
He assured the delegation that President Jonathan has approved a financial plan that will ensure that the East-West road project, which was handed over to his Ministry for supervision in 2010, is completed on schedule without further delays.
The Ministers of Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Transport also briefed the delegation on the provision of improved oil palm and cocoa seedlings to farmers in Urhobo-land, the planned location of a modern cassava processing plant in the area, ongoing and planned rehabilitation of ports in Warri, Sapele, Koko and Burutu, and the current status of the Delta Steel Company.
Speaking with state House correspondents after their meeting with President Jonathan, General Aziza said the delegations was in the Villa to pledge the support of Urhobo nation to the administration saying that they were impressed with the assurance given by the president on the various problems confronting the group.
Asked whether the group would support President Jonathan’s bid for 2015 election, the President General of UPU said while the president is constitutionally qualified to recontest, it was too early to begin to talk of reelection now.
He however added when the presdet decides, the Urhobos would throw their support for his ambition.
The delegation which was led by Gen. Patrick Newton Aziza included Chief Gabriel Ofotokun, Sen. Adego Eferakeya, Chief Ovie Omo-Agege, Chief Hon. Ogbaburhon and Justice T.K. Dugbo.
Others include Olorogun Macauley Popo Ovbagbedia, Chief Tuesday Onoge, Chief Frank Efeduma, Prof. G.G. Darah, Chief Barrister Akpomudje (SAN), Barrister Dafe Akpedeye, Elder John Onojakpor (SAN) and Mrs Veronica Ogbuagu
Others were Mrs Grace Usirare, Chief Joe Asah, Chief Moses Odibo, Dr O. Omene, Chief Simion Owhofa, Pastor John Onojeharho, Mr Odo Tadafe, Rev. Father Abaka, Blessing Ovwata, HRM, Orodje of Okpe, HRM, Ovie of Olomu, HRM, Ovie of Abraka, HRM, Ovie of Mosogar, HRM, Ovie of Ughelli ,d HRM, Ovie of Idjerhe