•Says Gov unruffled by defection of party members
BY CHARLES KUMOLU, Deputy Features Editor
DELTA State Commissioner for Transport, Mr, Vincent Uduaghan, in this interview, explains why the re-election chances of the state governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa are bright. He also spoke on the activities of his ministry and defection of some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members among other issues.
Delta State governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa and the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seem unruffled by the defection of a few prominent PDP members in the state. What could be responsible for such comportment?
The Governor cannot be ruffled because politically he is a grassroots man. He works closely with the electorate, he feels their pulses and he has a track record of carrying people along politically. He doesn’t show the attitude of “I know it all”. So many people from the opposition also defected to the PDP recently. We are not threatened because Okowa has done well in every area to deserve a second term. Because of his track record, he was appointed the Chairman Organising Committee that put together the National Convention of the PDP in Port Harcourt. Recently, the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo commended Okowa for being very proactive on the flooding incidents across the state. The governor has so far, given adequate attention to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in various camps across the state. He was equally given an award for the best governor in the country. The award is a recognistion of what he is doing in the state.
A former governor of the state, who is also your elder brother, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC. Are you concerned about that?
Many things are happening politically. He is an adult, who was a member of the PDP for a long time. If he chose to leave, I believe he left as a result of reasons that are personal to him. So many persons have equally defected from the APC to the PDP in large number. It is politics at play. The members of the state executive council are concerned about how we can jointly help Okowa to succeed. That is why we are committed to our various assignments. With Okowa as our boss, we don’t have any option but to perform.
The state government has been adjudged in various reports to have done well in road construction across the senatorial zones in the state. Could explain more on that?
The Governor is doing his best in the areas of road rehabilitation and construction. It is an expensive venture but much has been achieved. Delta State is a mini-Nigeria where most projects are sited in the three Senatorial Districts of the State. More roads will be given attention in the state. He had equally done well in the health, education, agriculture, and information sectors, among other areas. Governor Okowa has already succeeded in his 2019 re-election bid. His report card and political prowess give him an edge.
The Governor has done well and expended so much in the transport sector. The Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA) was inaugurated, by the administration. DESTMA is established to control and manage traffic as well as address traffic issues. Presently, there is a high level of compliance by motorists. There is also a Mechanic Village which is being constructed under a Public Private Partnership, PPP. It is very important because it will bring together all mechanics and spare parts dealers scattered all over the state capital and it will facilitate the gathering of data by the government concerning the artisans. It will also create synergy among them. The accreditation of the School of Marine Technology Courses in Burutu was achieved under him. Vehicle Inspection Officers are well positioned because of the good working condition created by the Okowa administration. It is quite remarkable to know that drivers who had not been promoted for over four years were recently remembered by the governor, who approved a training programme for them. After the training, about 200 people were promoted in the first phase, while another 250 are about to commence another training for 2018/2019 session.
The Government of Senator Dr. Okowa equally deemed it fit to embark on the privatization of Delta Line Company in order to bring complete overhauling of the moribund transport company, after many years of poor management. Traffic Lights were also installed in different locations across the state. At the same time, we are constructing a tanker park in the Effurun/Warri Axis. At the completion of this project, the hazardous parking of tankers along the Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, and Refinery Roads would become a thing of the past. It will also address the issues of accidents in Effurun / Warri axis.
Delta State Ministry of Transport
It is quite interesting to know that the goal of the ministry is to provide safe, reliable, efficient and integrated transport operations and infrastructure that will meet the need of passengers and freight services. The policy thrust of the ministry is to channel all available resources to the provision of adequate, sustainable, affordable, comfortable and safe transportation services. We also provide mechanical engineering and marine services to Deltans.
The ministry is to ensure effective management, control of road traffic policies, and the safety of lives and property on our roads. The ministry also harnesses revenue accruing from motor vehicle-related transactions and taxation among others.
Has the state started reaping from the privatisation of Delta Line?
The privatisation of Delta Line was a hectic assignment. But what is worth doing is worth doing well. That is the reason the Governor took the decision to redeem the transport company through a privatization process. Over the years, the state government invested so much in the company without the desired result. There were cases of financial mismanagement, and poor attitude to work among other issues that could wreck any public or organisation. The benefits and gratuity of those affected are being disbursed to them accordingly. Even before now, the inherited salaries of staff owed by the previous management were paid up to date before the process of the payments of benefits.
My colleagues in the Ministry of Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie and Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Festus Agas were at the forefront of seeing that the process of paying all benefits to affected staff and interfacing with the union was done smoothly.