The economic crunch has not deterred Governor Ifeanyi Okowa from pursuing his SMART agenda
By Festus Ahon
Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State is one of the first term Governors that came into office with dynamism and a clear cut agenda of what he wants to achieve for the people of the State.
Since he assumed office on May 29, 2015, he has been making relentless efforts towards reducing unemployment in the State through his job creation programme.
Over 1,300 youths have so far been trained and provided with equipment in their respective areas of trade and cash to start off business. While some of the youths are trained in skills, others are trained in the area of farming.
These youths who are being monitored and mentored by the State Government are expected to in no distant time be employers of labour.
Job creation programme
The job creation programme is a continuous one, and Governor Okowa is pursuing it with so much passion.
In the area of roads, Okowa is not lagging behind. He has embarked on the building of many township and rural roads. His desire to provide a good network of roads in the state is apparently not deterred by the present economic crunch.
He has embarked on the construction of the middle section of Alisimie-Ozanogogo Road; dualisation of Nnebisi Road, from traffic light to Cable Point, Asaba.
Also, he is reconstructing the old Oleh/Emede/ Olomoro Road; widening/reconstruction of Owhe-Ologbo/Abbi Road and reconstruction/expansion/construction of Kefas Road, Emore Road and Uzere Road.
In Sapele, Orerokpe and Ughelli axis, Okowa is working on the dualisation of Sapele Road, from Amukpe Roundabout to AT&P, Sapele; the construction of Ejinyere/Orodje Street, Orerokpe and construction of Oteri township roads, Ughelli .
In pursuit of his resolve to tackle the dwindling standard of education, Governor Okowa held a two-day Education Summit with the theme ‘Leapfrogging Education in Delta.’ The summit which attracted prominent Nigerians and educationists like Chief Afe Babalola, Prof Pai Obaya and a host of others, addressed the challenges the education sector was facing in the state and the way forward.
As part of his effort to revive vocational study, Okowa has embarked on the upgrade of Sapele, Agbor, and Ofagbe Technical Colleges. He is also upgrading infrastructure in both primary and secondary schools across the State.
To drive home his policy of prosperity for all Deltans, believing in the age-old truism that health is wealth, Governor Okowa’s administration is poised to implement the Contributory Health Pension scheme which will ensure universal coverage for all categories of Deltans.
The Governor has equally consented to the establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research’s, NIMR South-South out station in Asaba. This will bring closer collaboration between NIMR and tertiary health institutions in the state and that is besides providing employment for Deltans.
And in line with the administration’s commitment to open up the state for business and tourism, he has embarked on the remodelling of the 3.4 kilometers runway of the Asaba International Airport to meet international standard. The aviation authorities had recommended the measure to enable bigger aircraft to land at the airport.
The economic diversification initiatives of government have also yielded results as many investors have signed Memoranda of Understanding, MoU on key areas meant to boost the economy of the state with the State Government.
Among them is an agreement for the construction of 10,000 housing units for which 202 hectares of land have been acquired in Illah, Oshimili North Local Government Area. The project would be executed under the Public Private Partnership model-where the state’s contribution would be the provision of land and secured environment for business.
There is also an MoU with a Chinese firm for the construction of Solar Generating Plant. Land for this has also been provided along Umunede – Otolokpo Road in Ika North East local government area.
As part of efforts to open up Asaba for commerce, another agreement has also been signed with a consortium of construction companies to construct a-one-stop-shop commercial city within Asaba and about 305 hectares of land for the project has also been acquired towards the Niger bridge.
The representatives of the company have indicated that construction work on the project would commence before the end of the year. Another initiative which has elicited a lot of interest from within and outside Delta State is the Fast Track 90 scheme. This is a platform that enables a land owner or a prospective land owner to process and be issued with Certificate of Occupancy on the land within 90 days; baring all unforeseen circumstances.