By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
DELTA State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, stunned those who do not believe in his ‘finishing strong’ catchphrase when he embarked on a three-day commissioning spree of completed projects across the three senatorial districts of state on Thursday. There was excitement among the people from Mbiri kingdom, in Ika North East Local Government Area, where he kicked off with the inauguration of the 7.8 km Umunede-Mbiri road. Mbiri is one of the food baskets of the state and for many years, there was no passable road to the community.
For the monarch, HRM Ifeanyichukwu Alekwe, who announced Uduaghan as a grand patriot of Mbiri kingdom in recognition of the “landmark projects” in the area, Thursday’s commissioning was a dream fulfilled for the people.
The community raised the issue of the road to the Mbiri Farm Settlement, which had not been executed since Uduaghan awarded the contract. The governor said it was a design problem, as what was designed earlier was an earth road. He explained that when he found out on inquiry three days before the visit, he directed the appropriate government officials to come up with a fresh design, as he wants the road tarred before he leaves office.
He also assured that the bumpy road to the palace would be tackled. At Umunede end of the road where the commissioning was done, he took time off to campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan, the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, senatorial candidate, Chief Peter Nwaboshi, House of Representatives’ candidate, Hon. Victor Nwaokolo and others.
His next port of call was Aradhe community in Isoko North Local Government Area, where he commissioned the Aradhe-Ushie Road. The community said he brought development to the town with the construction of the road, the 300-kilometre access road at Ogbe-Ike Street and other projects. The people, however, expressed dismay that the contractor for the Aradhe Grammar School, one of the model schools in the state, had not mobilized to site. The governor gave the contractor up till next week to mobilize to site or government would re-award the contract to a more competent contractor, saying, “I have just asked the commissioner, who is one of your sons and the excuse I got about the contractor is not acceptable.”
At Aboh kingdom, the traditional ruler, HRH, “Obuonwe”, Obi Imegwu II and his people were filled with joy over the completion and commissioning of the 13 km Aboh-Ashaka road. The Aboh Traditional Council and chairman of Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Mrs. Nkechi Chukwurah, who listed her achievements in the last three months, poured encomiums on the governor for his lofty development strides in the area.
But like Oliver Twist, Aboh leaders urged the governor to extend the Aboh-Ashaka road into Obi Oputa road end and link Umuti, Azuaboh, Obodougboma and cause Setraco to maintain the three dilapidated portions of the road before Igbukwu Junction. They also complained that no stipend was paid to victims of the 2012 flood disaster from the area and pleaded with the governor to fast track work on the newly approved Delta State Polytechnic, Aboh.
The commissioning was a carnival of sort as sons and daughters of Aboh kingdom came home for the event. Governor Uduaghan told the story of how he came to the community with the former governor, Chief James Ibori, in 1998 and discovered to his chagrin that there was no road to Aboh. He said they crossed to Aboh from Kwale end through pontoon and undertook the remaining journey on a rickety road. He said Ibori started the first phase of linking Aboh to the rest of the state with the gigantic Igbukwu Bridge, which was commissioned by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Uduaghan explained that because the PDP government understood the yearnings of Aboh people, he embarked on the construction of Aboh –Ashaka road and was happy that Aboh, which was like a no-go-area before now, is now accessible within minutes from Kwale. The governor also said that as Commissioner for Health under the Ibori government, he made sure Aboh got its first government hospital.
On the polytechnic site, he laughed as he said the community gave government what he would term an “evil forest” to develop. He said the structure of the land is very difficult and government was finding it tough because of the enormous resources required to prepare the site for construction of structures. He, however, said that work was going on the project.
Commenting on the flood victims, he said besides the direct intervention by government in providing reliefs and accommodation for the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, a committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court with members drawn from the private sector, including an Aboh son, was constituted to manage the N500 million given to flood victims in the state by the Federal Government.
He said the committee informed him that the money had been disbursed and since an Aboh son was a member of the committee, the people could find out more from him. Governor Uduaghan was, however, disturbed by the obvious abandonment of Mary Magdalene Secondary School, Ashaka, which is one of the schools handed over to the Catholic Church by the state government. He said it was one of the model schools of the government and he was taken aback when he saw that the school was overgrown by weeds.
He said government would take back the school if the church was not prepared to run the school and asked the Commissioner for Education to liaise with the church and brief him appropriately in the next few days. The governor did not fail to solicit votes for all PDP candidates at Aboh and Aradhe. He also asked those who had not collected their permanent voters’ card to return to the INEC office to ask for it, saying, “Without it, you will not be able to thumbprint umbrella for more development in your areas.”
It was an all-day affair as Uduaghan, who took off from Asaba ended up in Warri around 6.20 pm. And by 9.00 pm, he was at the Refinery Road, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, to commission the road with its beautiful street lights. He said Uvwie was very strategic in the development of the state and urged the people to maintain the government projects in their domain.
Yesterday, he continued with the commissioning of Ovwor township roads and 10 MVA step down transformer in Ughelli South local government area, dualization of Ughelli township road in Delta Central senatorial district.
Today (Saturday), he continues with the commissioning of Umeh road in Isoko South local government area, which he is emotionally attached to. Umeh is an agricultural community, which did not have road for evacuation of farm products. A prominent son of the town launched a campaign, “Umeh needs road” on the Facebook, which attracted Governor Uduaghan’s attention.