Viewpoint

May 29, 2024

Oborevwori: One year of impactful leadership

Oborevwori

Oborevwori

By Nelson Egware

May 29th, 2024, is exactly a year since Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori was sworn in as Delta State Governor. I remember vividly the massive and impressive celebrations that heralded Oborevwori as Governor at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

There is no doubt that Oborevwori’s one year in office has witnessed the conceptualisation and commencement of major projects in all sectors that are capable of transforming the economy of Delta State and giving the people a new lease of life. A critical look at some of the sectors would buttress the fact that Oborevwori’s reign will change the course of history of the State.

Speaking recently at a thanksgiving service to mark the first anniversary of his administration, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori disclosed that his administration had turned the state to a huge construction site with 317 ongoing road projects in the last one year. He said out of the 317 projects, a total of 76 roads with a cumulative length of 171.49km and 85.30km length of drains were initiated by his administration.

Notable among the new projects started by the Oborevwori administration is the N78bn Julius Berger three flyovers cloverleaf, pedestrian Bridges and Road expansion projects in the Effurun and Warri megalopolis. The projects which are expected to be completed within 27 months are currently ongoing with piling and casting works going on simultaneously.

In the last one year, the administration has completed some roads while others are at various stages of completion. Amongst the completed road projects are: The Construction of Trans-Warri-Ode-Itsekiri Bridges and Access roads phase 1, the rehabilitation and Resealing of Otolokpo/Ute-Okpu/Ekuku Agbor/Ndemili/Obeti/Umutu Road, Construction of Oviri-Olomu/Egodor Road; the Construction of Ibusa-Achala Road Phase 1, Completion of Perimeter Fencing of Asaba International Airport, Construction of Okwuama Road in Osubi to link Etakpo Lane/Macnero Road, Osubi and Construction of Old Okpe Road, Jeddo.

Others include construction of failed portions of Okuvo/Okugbogbo/Mereje Road, rehabilitation of 1.16 km Section of Ogume-Emu Road; construction of Hon Abinoko Way, community road and Ekuobodo Village Access road Phase1, Okuobodo Village, construction of Kokodiagbene community road in Warri South West LGA, the construction of Awharode Street/Awharode Lane in Oghior Town Udu, construction of Urueode Internal Roads in Ofagbe, onstruction of impacted section of Ellu/Aradhe Road, construction of Umutu – Eku Road, construction of Agboghor Road in Odorubu Town, Patani LGA and construction of Comrade Izeze Road in Oginibo amongst others.

Mr Charles Aniagwu, Commissioner for Works (Rural and Riverine Roads) explained that as part of the activities to celebrate Governor Oborevwori’s one year in office, the Okpanam-Ibusa, Isheagu-Ewulu roads and the Emevor-Orogun roads are ready for inauguration.

The roads, which spanned 5.3 kilometers, 9.1 kilometers and 4.4km respectively, are completed, connects major towns and would boost the socio-economic lives of the people in the areas.

Speaking to journalists after inspecting the roads recently, Aniagwu expressed satisfaction with the speed of the projects and directed the contractors to expedite completion and prioritize the installation of road markings and other essentials in readiness for inauguration. He reiterated the governor’s commitment to delivering quality projects to Deltans in line with his MORE Agenda.

Interventions By Warri Uvwie and Environs Development Agency (WUEDA)

Some of the recorded achievements of the agency that are in consonance with the Governor’s MORE Agenda are summarized as follows: Flood Control Measures in Effurun/Warri and Environs (Phase I), Flood Control Measures in Effurun/Warri and Environs (Phase II), Rt. Hon. Funkekeme Solomon Close, Ekpan in Uvwie LGA, Access Road to Federal Housing Estate, Ugboroke in Uvwie LGA, Rehabilitation from Ogunu Bridge to Shell Gate, Ogunu (Agogo) Community Main Road and Internal Roads in Warri South LGA, rehabilitation of First Marine Gate/Osaigbovo Street, and Rehabilitation of Odibo Street (On-going).

In addition, the Governor has approved the Phase III of Flood Control Measures in Effurun/Warri and Environs aimed at curbing the incessant flooding in the areas not covered in the phase I and II of the Storm Water Project.

The Delta State Government through the State Judiciary has also approved the setting up of five mobile courts in the Agency’s mandate areas to prosecute and sanction offenders of environmental laws as a way of ensuring effective waste management in the Oil City in order to uphold a cleaner environment to attract investors to the area.

Interestingly, these modest milestones achieved so far within this short period has created a tremendous impact on the environment and residents have expressed appreciation to the Governor for the laudable achievements and his good intention for the area.

Oborevwori’s Public Service Milestones

Because the civil service is still an essential tool for developing, carrying out, and advancing good governance a contemporary civil service needs to proactively spearhead sector-wide revolutionary reforms. Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has restructured Delta State’s public service strategically to ensure effective and efficient delivery in acknowledgment of this.

The last one year of Governor Oborevwori in office has been characterised by deliberate changes meant to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Civil Service.

Prior to the 2023 elections, in his lengthy conversations with civil servants, Governor Oborevwori acknowledged their function as the backbone of government policies and initiatives. He promised to take care of any unpaid promotion arrears if elected after listening to their worries. As promised, he has since approved the payout of approximately ₦5.5 billion to 23,887 public personnel and 362 retirees within weeks of assuming office in response to the demands of civil servants, proving his commitment to honouring their hard work.

Governor Oborevwori approved a three-month ex-gratia stipend of ₦10,000 for each of Delta’s 40,168 civil servants, in light of the financial difficulties caused by the termination of the duel of subsidy. For relief, he also instituted rotating work schedules.

Understanding the importance of the Head of Civil Service in overseeing and growing the state workforce, he gave approval for 200 officers who were about to be promoted to director positions to enrol in a seven-week senior management course. The administration’s dedication to lifelong learning was demonstrated by their collaboration with the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).

Inter-cadre transfers and orientation programmes, which benefited 227 officers directly with the governor’s assent, as well as the 1,250 others who received specialised training, demonstrate his commitment to developing a cadre of competent and flexible civil servants. Additionally, the government has encouraged professional development by supporting academic endeavours by approving study leaves.

In an initiative that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to the leadership development of the Civil Service, interviews were conducted for 2,193 officers who were scheduled for promotion in July 2024 in order to expedite career advancement and avoid promotion delays. These initiatives are a part of his larger plan to create a committed, focused, and orderly civil service.

The administration is still dedicated to processing payroll in a timely and effective manner using a centralised system under the direction of the Office of the Head of Service. Governor Oborevwori reinforced the state’s commitment to employee well-being by allocating ₦200 million for housing loans and ₦150 million for vehicle loans in order to better assist the welfare of public personnel.

In a bid to address manpower gaps in some sectors of the state’s public service, the governor authorised hiring of over 3,000 teaching and non-teaching staff from all 25 local governments and medical professionals for state-owned hospitals in order to fill labour shortages. 27 ministries housed in the Professor Chike Edozien Complex were also given top priority in provision of total comfort and top security.

To celebrate 2024 Democracy Day, the governor gave Permanent Secretaries brand-new automobiles as a token of appreciation for their leadership in the running of the ministries and as efficient accounting officers. Their productivity has expectedly increase as a result of this action, which reflects his commitment to giving Civil Service officials more authority.

“Redefining global best practices” was the focus of a recent two-day programme, demonstrating the continued need of leadership training for Permanent Secretaries. Their function as stewards of civil service principles, bridging policy makers and implementers, was highlighted by Mr. Reginald Bayoko, Head of Service of Delta State.

“Let us remain unwavering in our commitment to upholding the highest standards of public service, serving as paragons of good governance and custodians of public trust,” Bayoko stated.

The first year of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration has demonstrated the effectiveness of transformative leadership. His achievements in the last year demonstrates his commitment to providing effective, dynamic, and encouraging public service that will strengthen and revitalise Delta State going forward. Thinking back on his accomplishments serves as a reminder that strong leadership is essential to a flourishing public sector and, consequently, to a prosperous society.

Revamping The Health Sector

In the department of planning research and statistics which oversees infrastructure development, over sixty-five (65) contracts have been awarded since the inception of the Governor Oborevwori’s administration. They are in the area of construction, renovation/upgrade of health facilities, procurement and installation of medical equipment for hospitals and supply of furniture in Colleges of Nursing Sciences, procurement of essential items for the re-accreditation of programmes for the State Teaching Hospital, Oghara and School of Health Technology, Ofuoma.

Also, in the department of Medical Services and Training, the followings were achieved; the State Emergency Ambulance Service, through its call center that runs a 24 hours service which is connected to the toll-free National Emergency Number-112, received and responded to 80 calls. Also, the Ambulance Service responded promptly to the June 2023 accident that involved sport athletes along Kwale road which led to limited casualties.

With the support and resources, both human and financial, put into the development of the Asaba Specialist hospital, it was found worthy and accredited as a teaching hospital for medical students of Novena University, a private institution in Ogume Delta state.

The Department of Pharmaceutical Services is not left out in the scheme of things. It is responsible for ensuring the availability of safe and efficacious medicines/pharmaceuticals in the State in general, and in particular the government-owned health facilities, and also ensuring they are in safe and qualified hands.

So far, so under the Oborevwori administration, the Drug Revolving Fund, DRF, an agency under the ministry, achieved its mandate by ensuring the prompt supply of medicines and commodities to State tertiary health facilities, 66 secondary health facilities and over 300 primary health facilities across the State at reasonable prices.

Through this DRUG’S to s efforts, the State joined others in the commemoration of the United Nations Day against drug abuse in June 2023; set up of over 90 Drug Free Clubs in secondary schools across the State; conducted sensitization/awareness campaign on the dangers of drug abuse in various communities across the State, motor parks and markets, and carried out advocacy visit to the ministries of Economic Planning and Secondary Education.

In addition, the State Task Force on counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods has sealed up over 150 illegal premises selling drugs and is currently prosecuting an offender with the help of NAFDAC, under this current administration.

Over 200 pharmaceutical premises and 426 patent medicine stores have been inspected by the Pharmaceutical Inspection Committee (PIC) which led to them being granted license to operate by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria and the activities of these premises/shops are monitored regularly by the PIC.

The State Traditional Medicine Board charged with the development of herbal medicines under this government has been able to cultivated 1,000 Dika nuts at the botanical garden in Mosogar, procured simple garden tools for the botanical garden, trained 100 traditional birth attendants across the State, registered 48 traditional medicine practitioners and 6 traditional homes/clinics.

Over N600m Paid As 2023 Bursary For 30,116 Students

The Sheriff Oborevwori administration within the year under review concluded the payment of the 2022/2023 bursary to 30,116 students of the state origin in Higher institutions across the country.

A statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Board, Dr. Godfrey Enita said over 30,000 students of Delta State origin from 195 tertiary institutions across Nigeria received the Delta State Bursary Award for 2022/2023 session.

He said Delta State University Abraka, led the pack with 8,330 beneficiaries, followed by the University of Benin and Delta State Poly Otefe-Oghara with 3650 and 2686 beneficiaries respectively.

He expressed appreciation to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for approving the release of funds for the payment. According to him, 42,269 students applied for the Students Special Assistance Scheme (Bursary) in 2022/2023 session, but only 30,116 students met the requirements for qualification, which includes being a student of Delta State origin in 200 years level and above, with NIN registration and a 2.2 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

“Beneficiaries of the bursary are students of Delta State origin in Federal and State owned universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, schools of nursing, Health and Monotechnics, as well as private universities and polytechnics.

“This gesture of Delta State Government’s inclusion of privately owned tertiary institutions among beneficiaries of the state bursary award is borne out of the government’s desire to extend such opportunities to all Deltans irrespective of their institutions.

“It underscores the second plank of Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori’s M.O.R.E agenda “Opportunities for All. Our profound appreciation to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori for approving the release of funds for the payment which will go a long way in providing for the needs of the students.

“The bursary award also reflects the Governor’s prompt attention towards the well-being of Delta’s young men and women. It is expected that beneficiaries of the bursary award will continue to excel in their academic pursuit and be worthy ambassadors of the Delta State.”

Notable Interventions In Oil And Gas

The Ministry of Oil and Gas recorded massive achievements in the last one year under the leadership of Chief Vincent Oyibode as Commissioner. With a mandate to regulate the Oil and Gas sector in collaboration with relevant Federal Government agencies. Its key thrust is to draw a balance between providing the much required environment for oil and gas businesses to thrive and ensure accrued benefits to Host Communities.

With the inception of the Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori-led administration, the Ministry has developed working models in tandem with the MORE Agenda. Consequently, production and operation downtimes in all International Oil Companies (IOCs), Marginal Field Operations and ancillary businesses in Delta State have been reduced to an impressive minimum.

Following the State Government interventions, Delta State crude production has tremendously improved, Youth restlessness has been curbed, every mployment opportunities have increased in the oil and gas sector, and Host Communities have witnessed appreciable development with the execution of Corporate Social Responsibility projects by the oil companies.

The Ministry has conceptualized new Dispute Resolution Mechanisms, Oil and Gas Business Opportunity Pathways and Oil Companies – Host Communities Engagement Patterns. It is also latching on the abundance of gas resources in the state to facilitate programs and activities aimed at deepening gas utilization. Delta State is now an active player in the National Gas Expansion initiative.

The Ministry is instrumental to the development of the newly approved protocol and coordinates to process for the spatial location of LPG Plants, Filling Stations and related businesses in the state.

In the first year of the Rt. Hon. Sheriff Francis Oborevwori – led administration, Delta State has witnessed Zero protests/disputed engineered Shut Downs across the upstream, mid and downstream oil and gas subsector.

Delta State won the Ms Nafisa Aliyu Haruna Award for the “Safest & Most Peaceful State for Oil and Gas Investments in Nigeria in 2024” at an award ceremony sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Abuja. This is no doubt, a testimony to the timely intervention of the Ministry of Oil and Gas under the supervision of the Honourable Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Chief Vincent Oyibode in arresting potential crisis between the Oil Majors and critical stakeholders in host communities where they operate.

The Ministry’s swift aversion of intended shutdown of Otumara Flow Station in OML 43, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State over Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) fallout which would have cost Delta State 20,000/bpd of its production quota is one of many steps taken to ensure production of oil and gas resources are stabilized to boost production capacities and in turn engender a stable and improved economy.

In the period under review, the Ministry successfully resolved over ten years ownership tussle and claim to Well 9-Owhe Field in OML 30, operated by Heritage Operational Services Ltd between Otor-Owhe and Olomoro communities in Isoko South and Isoko North local government areas of the state.

Swift resolution of a near crisis situation between Uzere Community in Isoko South LGA and Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd over the Independent Power Plant Project. As at today, there is great jubilation in Uzere as the project is now about 85% completed.

The Ministry successfully brokered a free gas supply arrangement by Heritage Energy Operational Services to the plant for the next two years on completion. Stability in the petroleum products’ supply chain in Delta State with the swift resolution of a dispute within the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union. The Ministry was also instrumental to the peaceful composition of the PTD (NUPENG) leadership in Delta State.

After an unsuccessful entry amidst ownership claim to the area by over 7 communities, the Ministry successfully midwifed engagements to allow for the drilling of KURI Well 2 in Kuri Field (Makaraba field area) operated by SHN Energy Ltd which is near completion.

Resolution of over ten-year industrial dispute involving the Udu/Ughelli South and North OML 34 Host Community Workers Association and NPDC ND Western. “Our intervention has brought about almost 100% increase in the salaries and welfare packages for the Host Communities’ staff and resolution of OML 26 AMT operated Pipeline Surveillance dispute involving Jeruvie Nig. Ltd/Ozoro Monarch and the Ikpide family of Ozoro kingdom in Isoko North LGA.

Resolution of the PIA implementation logjam between Egbema and Chevron Nigeria Plc meant to Limited. The Ministry facilitated the successful setting up of a Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) to engender peace and harmony between all stakeholders and facilitated the implementation of the PIA and setting up of the HCDT in OML 147 cluster operated by PANOCEAN Nig. Ltd.

Interventions In The Energy Sector

In the last one year of the administration of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, the Delta State Government has undertaken several interventions in the energy sector, including the reinforcement of Electric Power Supply and Installation of one 500KVA, 33/0.400KV Transformer and Installation of Solar Powered Streetlights at Okpaka and Environs in Udu Local Government Area; installation of one 500KVA, 33/400KV Transformer and incorporation of a 33KV Outdoor Auto Recloser Unit at Winners Street and Environs, Opposite Chibuzor Farms, Ogbe-Obi Quarters in Ugbolu in Oshimili North Local Government Area, as well as the installation of 91 Felicity 150W (FL-D2-150W) Solar Powered Streetlights at Mosheshe Estate and Environ, Airport Road, Effurun.

The ministry has also embarked on the installation of one 500KVA, 11/0.400KV Transformer at Police MTD, Area Command, and its Environs in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area, installation of 151 Felicity 150W (FL-D2-150W) Solar Powered Streetlights at the Mother and Child Specialist Hospital, Advanced Diagnostic Centre, Staff Quarters, and Environs, Owa Alero, Ika North East Local Government Area.

It has likewise engaged in theprovision and installation of two 65KVA Soundproof Perkins Generators (FG Wilson) at the Delta State Multidoor Courthouse, Asaba, installation of 210 Felicity All-In-One Solar LED (12 Bulbs) D-series Streetlights at Oleh Town and Environs in Isoko South Local Government Area.

The ministry has replaced one burnt 300KVA, 33/0.400KV Transformer at Obior Town in Aniocha North Local Government Area, installed one 300KVA, 11/0.400KV Transformer at Retreat Anglican Centre by St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Owa-Oyibu, in Ika North-East Local Government Area, and expansion of Asaba 8.5MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) Distribution Network to Liberty Estate, Oshimili South LGA.

Equally remarkable was the installation of Solar Powered Streetlights at Marble Hill Road and Environs, Oshimili North Local Government Area, additional works for the Reinforcement of Electricity Power Supply and Installation of one 500KVA, 11/0.415KV Transformer Substation at Akpalata Community, Achalla Ibusa Road, Asaba in Oshimili South Local Government Area, procurement of two 500KVA, 33/0.400KV and 6Nos. 500KVA, 11/0.400KV Distribution Transformers to enhance public power supply in the State.

Price Variation and Additional Works for the Installation of 1(No.) 2.5MVA, 33/11KV Injection Transformer Substation was witnessed in the period under review, including the reinforcement of the existing one 2.5MVA Transformer, replacement of Faulty 200KVA, 11/0.415KV Transformer Substation at Urushue Village and Creation of Additional three 11KVA power feeders for the existing 2.5MVA, 33/11KV Injection Transformer at Eku, in Ethiope East Local Government Area.

Lastly, the ministry rehabilitated and reinforced electricity power supply at Ute-Erumu and Owa-Alidinma, Ekuku- Agbor, Obi-Iduhor, Agbor- Alidinma and Obi-Agbor as well as Egbudu-Akah in Ika North-East, Ika South and Aniocha South Local Government Areas respectively, apart from installation of Solar powered streetlights at Ugolo/Okukpirie Community in Okpe Local Government Area and Conversion of BEDC’s 11KVA Network to 33KVA network and installation of 33KV Transformers in Mosogar, Ethiope West LGA.

Commendation From Monarchs

The Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers has lauded the developmental strides of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s administration in the last one year.

Rising from a meeting in Asaba, the Chairman of the Council and Orodje of Okpe Kingdom, Maj. Gen. Felix Mujakperuo (Rtd) Orhue 1) said Oborevwori’s administration performed excellently and congratulated the Governor and his Deputy, Sir Monday Onyeme, FCA on their first year anniversary in office.

In a three-point communique, the monarchs acknowledged the relative peace in the State and urged the people to imbibe the virtues of harmonious and peaceful co-existence at all times.

“As the Governor and his Deputy prepare for the first year anniversary in office, we wish to express our deep appreciation to the administration for their developmental strides within the period of one year in office”, he said.

As Governor Oborevwori begins his second year in office, it is safe to say that the Governor has redefined governance, taking sustainable development and advancing Delta beyond mere promises. For him, the era of abandoned projects was over in Delta, because what we are witnessing is a regime of initiating and delivering quality projects skewed towards leaving behind, an enduring legacy for Deltans.

The next three years promises to be the best years for Deltans as the governor has assured of “Advancing Delta” through the faithful implementation of his administration’s MORE Agenda. With faith in God and with the unity and peaceful co-existence of all Deltans, the State would have become a place worthy to be called an “Oil-Rich State” because with Oborevwori, Delta is truly in the hand of God!

*Egware is Senior Special Assistant (Media) to Governor Oborevwori.