By Ovedhe Hezekiah.
The Governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has said that, embarking first on Storm Drainage project in Warri, Effurun and it’s environs was a bold step towards deflooding the cities.
Governor Okowa stated this while commissioning the widened Warri/Sapele Road, from Effurun Roundabout to Enerhen Junction, stressing that, he predicated the foundation on his administration’s bold step of deflooding the twin cities, as it did in Asaba, to pave the way for construction of roads in the area which would be sustainable.
He said many governments would shy away from undertaking such projects that would not be visible to the people, positing that, critics were uninformed about the importance of deflooding the cities, and explained that if he wanted accolades and praises, he would have deployed the resources put on the drainage to roads in the cities that people would have applauded him for.
Okowa noted that, his administration had laid solid foundation for sustainable infrastructural development in the commercial cities of Warri and Effurun.
The Governor in his words said; “Any road constructed in Warri and Effurun area without first doing something about the perennial flooding in the area would not stand the test of time.
“People have asked why we have not done so many roads in Warri? And, I told them that I like to plan for today and for tomorrow. When I got into Asaba, it was the same thing.
“We found that roads were being ravaged because of the storm water. I spent time to design and to start the storm water drainage.
“Many governments will not go into such projects because at the end, most of the drains will be under ground; you will not see them.
“So, when people come two, three years later, they don’t remember anything. But you have actually done a lot to stabilise the place but we took it upon us to do that,” he said.
The governor also inaugurated the 5,085 kilometres comprising 13 network of paved roads using HFP Concrete Stones in Warri.
He said “when I came into Warri, we had to undertake studies for a whole 18 months before eventually awarding the first set of projects and they are the major projects.
“There are two more projects which can be called the minor projects or small projects. We are spending a huge some of over N20 billion on those drains.
“If I put N20 billion on roads in Warri, people will shout and clap for me everywhere. But, after a year those roads will all be gone. So I rather will put it on laying the foundation and allow other governments to build on the foundation.
“This is because not too many governors will come in and choose to do such a project that people will not see and glorify them, but for me, it’s not about the glory that I get because all glory goes to God.”
Okowa remarked that he was leaving the state in the hands of a man who was capable of continuing with the development of sustainable infrastructure across the state.
“Yes, I am exiting as governor but it is my prayer that the next governor, who is what I will call a ‘home boy’ when it comes to Uwvie, will do much more than I did in this particular local government.
“I am glad that this is one of the projects I am inaugurating today. But very importantly, of all the projects I am doing in Warri, the Storm Water drainage project stands out for me.
“We have not yet inaugurated the storm water drainage project because it has not actually been fully completed. But it will be completed in the course of this year.
“It’s about laying the appropriate foundation for people to build on. So, I thank God that we are laying that foundation, so that when more and more roads are built in the future, those roads will last.
“We have laid that foundation and we know that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori will build on that,” he stated.
Earlier on, Commissioner for Works, Mr Noel Omodon, had said that the expansion of Warri-Sapele road had improved the socio-economic activities of the area, adding that work done would improve free flow of traffic from the area.
Omodon said that the state government was also considering construction of adjourning roads to Effurun-Sapele road to completely address traffic challenges in the area.
While the Uvwie Local Government Council Chairman, Hon Ramson Tega Onayake, in his welcome address, commended Governor Okowa for sustaining peace in Effurun, Warri and it’s environs, as well as curbing unemployment in the area through the Job creation office various programmes.
On his part, President-General, Uvwie General Improvement Union, Chief Hope Erute, said the impact of the state government’s interventions had helped to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
He commended Governor Okowa for the storm water drainage projects in Warri and Effurun, and said that the people would not forget his imprints in a hurry.