By Emmanuel Una
You hold a key position as Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, can you can tell the people of the region the state of development since you assumed office.
If you want to see how this government has enhanced development you should first interpret the actions or policies of the government which are: one, laying more than thirty percent of budgetary provisions to infrastructural development which is a propelling foundation or platform for other development issues to take place. Two, getting people involved which is the policy of inclusion.
Today you hear that we are planning to get modular refinery where communities would be share holders so they can decide their fate by the proceeds of what is got there. So if you want to talk about development vi-a-viz this administration you will find that we are redefining development in the true perspective that affects humanity and not by the deception of what people see as flash points which vanish later. Are you not surprised that within two years, the Leke rice which is a collaboration between Kebi and Lagos States is providing millions of tones towards food security? Just few days back, you heard that the Vice President went to commission fertilizer plant and today we have a minimum of fourteen fertilizer plants within two years and we are embarking on a programme of linkage assiduity between the producing sub-sector and the manufacturers in the Niger Delta region.
The issue of abandoned NDDC projects awarded by past administration has been really worrisome, how are you tackling this?
All together the policy of government is to make sure that projects are completed, that is why you hear large capital estimate in the budget for various ministries. You find that much of the money go to what is called ongoing projects because we don’t want to abandon any project. The new projects that you hear are those that can bring immediate palliatives for the people. Go to Ministry of Power, Transportation, Niger Delta Affairs and Water Resources, you find all these ministries are concentrating on projects that have been establish long ago but not completed. If we wanted to play politics with the development of our people, we would put out new projects so that they clap hands for us but all would be at the same page of stagnation in future.
What is the message to people who feel that the dividends of democracy are slow in coming. Talking about infrastructural development, the Calabar –Itu – Odukpani road awarded many months ago, construction has not started.
First, you remember that before November 2016, people slept on that road for many days, and while awarding the contract for the dualization of the road, the government took immediate action by putting on remedial repairs which today enable movement. That tells you that our programmes are such that define immediate, short term and long terms goals and people would continue to enjoy progressive action towards the final intended good.
Two, you know that when a contract is signed, the design has to be secured and when that is done, work and project management are put in place before workers would be mobilised to site when funds are now released to the ministry. But one thing is sure, we have not done anything to deceive anybody and we are working very hard.