By Festus Ahon
ASABA—GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, yesterday, said the Independent Power Plant, IPP, project in Oghara would gulp over N200 billion, saying the project might not be completed in his tenure due to present economic realities.
Speaking during a town hall meeting with the people of Ethiope West and Sapele Local Government areas in Oghara and Sapele respectively, Okowa said it would be difficult for the state government to solely finance the project.
Noting that adequate power supply was required to boost the socio-economic life of the people, he said: “We have to study the project. If I tell you that it will be functional during my administration, I will be telling you lies. A lot has been done. We have done the calculation but, it is obvious that we cannot execute the project as a state for now because the project will gulp over N200 billion.”
At Oghara, where the former governor, Chief James Ibori, led a cream of politicians to the meeting, Okowa said: “There are two options, either we enter into private partnership with the private sector or we outrightly sell the IPP to the private sector so that it can make the project functional, so as to create jobs for our people and other benefits derivable.”
He explained that with the present economic recession, revenue to the Federal Government and other tiers of government was affected, noting that “we will continue to do the best we can even with the challenging times and we will continue to remain focused.”
Governor Okowa, who was accompanied to the events by his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top government functionaries, thanked Deltans for their peaceful ways of resolving issues, observing that the protest by the people of Sapele against epileptic power supply was peaceful.
While listing projects executed by his administration in the area which included construction of roads, schools, markets, and others, he expressed joy that since his coming on board two years ago, the Songhai Delta had become functional as a training ground for youths in different fields of life, especially agriculture.
Okowa said; “I can rightfully claim that I am from Okpe and Sapele Local Government. I want to thank you for coming out in your numbers to attend this town hall meeting which will provide the opportunity to tell you what we are doing and the prospect we have for the future, while I listen to you to enable us include your needs in our budget. We are encouraging participatory democracy which I think we should have.
“I am happy with what I saw at the Songhai Training centre; in the past two years, that centre has been very active and yesterday, I saw a new system of farming, not new to the world but, new to us, the drip irrigation which is the first in our state. It will help to grow tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables.”
and with the drip irrigation system, tomatoes will be grown at least three cycles in one year.
“So many of our youths have been engaged already in our empowerment programmes and we are happy that our youths are also acquiring new skills through the revamped technical colleges in the state,” assuring that the Sapele market and other project’s would come on stream in the cause of the year.