BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
WARRI- FORMER Chief of Staff to governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chief Solomon Arayenka has said dredging of the Excravos Bar to Warri Port, will create an upbeat economic climate for the South south region, calling on the federal government to ensure implementation of the dredging project.
Arayenka who spoke Tuesday in Warri, Delta state said it would be unfortunate if the federal government fail to implement the project after the approval of funds for it.
He said it was necessary to express fears because the approval is coming barely some few months to a general election year , pleading that the federal government should not make it appear a mere political promise to the region because of the 2019 elections.
“I will say that it should not be another political promise. I pray politicians will not just make promises because election is coming. Politicians should implement promises for the good of all, they should fulfill the promises, it is not for the itsekiri alone, it is for the entire region. The economic aspect of the Warri, Sapele, Koko, Burutu ports are stagnated. If there is a decentralization of the Lagos port it means all parts of the region will be busy. Federal government should make sure this is not an electoral promise, it should be executed for the benefit of all“, he said
“As an Itsekiri man and a prominent son of the Niger Delta I will appeal to the federal government to implement the dredging project. Many of us were brought up by parents in employment of shipping companies in the Sapele , Koko, Warri ports. We saw UAC, John Holt Nigeria limited , several shipping companies on our waterways and even prayed to grow to become managers in the places.I want to appeal to the federal government not to make it an electoral promise alone.
They should try to mobilise to the project . We don’t want it to be like Onitsha bridge that has been a reoccurring campaign promise that almost all governments in the country, even military governments that wanted to stabilize used it as a bait to win a section of the country. This promise should be different , they should do it for the good of all. “, he added.
Arayenka who is currently the Executive Chairman, Delta state Rural Development Agency, said the dredging could be completed within a space of two years if the government was committed
He further enjoined youths and the various ethnic groups in the region to come together to ensure the success of the dredging exercise when it takes off
“Let us give them two years. Youths of the Niger Delta should give peace a chance. they should look for legitimate means for empowerment instead of harassing contractors they should take advantage of this promise to equip themselves ahead of the projects.
I don’t see any trouble from Ugborodo when the project commences. The Ugborodo issue has been laid to rest. It was blown beyond proportion by the media at a time. The Olu of Warri is the imperial majesty of every Itsekiri”, he said.
Arayenka also commended the Olu of Warri , saying that his recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari contributed largely to the federal government’s decision to commence dredging of the area.
“I remember not quiet long, Ogiame Ikenwoli has been highlighting this, for the ports to take off in his speech when he played host to top government functionaries. Again when he visited the President it was one of the issues he raised. I do comment him for this. “, he added.