By Festus Ahon
Since his emergence as Governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has never hidden his intention to develop the twin cities of Warri and Effurun alongside other parts of the state.
During the maiden State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting under his watch, the Governor announced his intention to engage construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, to construct three flyovers, a cloverleaf and road expansion in Warri and Effurun.
After months of vigorous planning, meetings, reviews and tough negotiations, Delta State Government, Tuesday, signed the contract worth N78 billion. The projects which are expected to be completed within 27 months, would see the State Government making a down payment of 25 percent of the total project cost which amounts to N19.5 billion.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement at the Government House, Asaba, Governor Oborevwori said the ceremony was a culmination of days and months of critical planning and deft negotiations and a major step forward in his administration’s plan to start an infrastructural revolution that would change the face of Warri and its environs.
The Governor, who said the choice of Julius Berger was informed not only by its excellent record, but also by its experience in road construction in riverine terrains, tasked the contractor to deliver the projects on schedule.
He urged the contractor to replicate what it had done in other states, adding that upon completion, the projects would not only change the face of Warri and its environs, but also ease the traffic congestion in the area and alleviate the hardship faced by the commuters.
Governor Oborevwori assured Deltans and residents of the state that the M.O.R.E agenda was on course, adding that they should expect more landmark projects across the different senatorial districts in fulfillment of his pledge to make life more meaningful for the people.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, while thanking Delta State Government for giving the company the opportunity to deliver on the projects, commended Governor Oborevwori for the vision and foresight in the huge investment and for the commencement of a new era for the people of the state.
In a related development, South-South Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih, has described Governor Sheriff Oborevwori as an enviable leader showing the way for others to emulate.
Orbih, who stated this during a visit to Governor Oborevwori, also said they were in the state to formally congratulate him on his victory at the governorship poll and its subsequent affirmation at the election petitions tribunal.
He described Governor Oborevwori as a product and symbol of loyalty and commitment to the party and commended him for his outstanding accomplishments in just a few months of being in office as governor. He commended the Governor for building roads and bridges and for being an exemplary leader.
He lamented the poor state of federal roads in the region and commended Governor Oborevwori for not abandoning critical federal roads in the state and urged other state governments to emulate the Governor’s leadership example.
Orbih said the South South remained the stronghold of the party in the country and assured that from the steps taken so far by Oborevwori as Governor of Delta State, the people stood to gain immensely from his M.O.R.E Agenda.
Responding, Governor Oborevwori thanked the party hierarchy for their support, assuring that he would continue to do his best to provide sterling leadership for the people of the state who trusted him with their mandate. He said his administration had done quite a lot in the past few months, assuring that better days awaited Deltans in terms of infrastructural development across the state.
Earlier on Monday, Governor Oborevwori had lamented that flood and water pollution were hampering food production in Nigeria and called on the Federal Government and the United Nations (UN) to tackle the menace to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
Governor Oborevwori made the call in his remarks at the 2023 World Food Day Celebration with the theme: “Water is life, water is food, leave no one behind” held at the Cenotaph, Asaba.
Represented by his Deputy, Sir Monday Onyeme, Oborevwori said the aim of the day was to promote global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger, and to highlight the need to ensure healthy diets for all. He said although water makes up over 50 percent of the human body and covers about 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, only 2.5 percent of water is fresh, suitable for drinking, agriculture, and for most industrial uses.
He said Delta State was blessed with an environment suitable for agriculture, fish production and its value chain but regretted that flooding and water pollution had become a recurring decimal in Delta and most other states of the country.
He expressed delight at the high demand for agricultural produce from Delta State in different parts of the world, from oil palm, maize, cassava, yam, fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, pepper, poultry and fish from both freshwater and brackish water to tapioca, spices, among other agricultural products and by-products.
In his speech earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Perez Omoun, said that through the Delta State Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), the State Government was developing three sites for greenhouse farming across the three agro ecological zones at Mbiri in Ika North-East Local Government Area, LGA; Deghele in Sapele LGA, and Kpakiama in Bomadi LGA.
He remarked that over 300 Cassava Farmers had been empowered to cultivate 330 hectares of farmland across the state and the government was working assiduously to increase this figure through direct investment and partnership.
Under oil palm production, Omoun said over 1,490,000 oil palm seedlings have been raised across the three oil palm nursery sites at Ejeme-Unor, Oleh and Aragba-Okpe in the past six years to establish an additional 9,933 hectares of oil palm plantation in the state.
He said because of the suitable environment and incentives provided for aquaculture and its value chain in the state, over 5,000 youths have engaged themselves in Aquaculture in cluster fish farms managed by cooperative societies across the state.
Similarly, Governor Oborevwori has pledged his administration’s commitment to make functional healthcare systems readily available to Deltans, no matter where they reside.
Oborevwori gave the pledge on Thursday when he received on an advocacy visit, the State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr (Mrs) Faith Ireye, and her delegation at Government House, Asaba.
He commended the WHO and all other health partners for their consistent support to the growth and development of the health sector in the state and country, assuring that he would continue to support their operations to ensure health and overall well being of all Deltans.
He said his administration had sustained the free maternal and children-under-five healthcare programme in recognition of the importance 9attached to their wellbeing and survival.
Earlier, Dr. Ireye, lauded the state government for its free medical treatment for children under the age of five years and pregnant women and for providing free supplements and nutrients for under-nourished children in the state, stressing that the noble initiative should be sustained.
While acknowledging the support of the state government towards the organisation in the realisation of its core mandate, she noted that healthcare workers in the state had started the integration of primary health care service.
*Ahon is Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Delta State.