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WHAT GOVERNOR OKOWA MUST DO FOR IKA NATION

The best legacy Governor Ifeanyi Okowa can bequeath the people of Ika nation is the laying of a solid foundation for economic prosperity. The will to do this is not lacking, going by his antecedents when he was a Commissioner, Secretary to the State Government and now the second term Governor of Delta State.

Agreed that the lean financial position of the state occasioned by the world lockdown as a  result  of  COVID-19 pandemic with the dwindling revenue from the Federation account is a major setback, but a determined Okowa can make a way where there seem to be no way.

Already, efforts are being made to tar many streets and roads in Boji-Boji urban and many other roads in the other clans of Ika nation. Road infrastructure no doubt, is one of the key components of economic development. Strategic streets/roads in Boji-Boji Agbor and Ime-Obi Agbor such  as the road from Dein’s Palace to Uromi road Junction, a  broad  road  running  from  old  Abraka  Road  to  Owa-Ekei  Road in  Boji-Boji  Owa should be identified for tarring and  the  tarring  should  be of high quality so that the roads can stand the test of time.

Another area Governor Okowa should not forget is the provision of portable water. It is shameful that a town as large as Boji-Boji Agbor and indeed Boji-Boji urban has no treated public water supply. When I was growing up as a student of St. Columbas Grammar School, Agbor, in  the  early seventies, there were public pipe borne water scattered all over Boji-Boji Agbor and its environs. Unfortunately, today there are no such things again.

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The most surprising aspect about this water issue is that there exist water board offices as a parastatal of one of the state ministries with workers on their pay roll who collect salaries at the end of the month without doing anything. What a waste of public funds? If individuals can sink boreholes to provide their homes with water, why can’t the government provide its citizens with treated water which is one of the basic necessities of life? The drilling of industrial boreholes for the supply of treated pipe borne water is not rocket science. That the individual is able to do it shows that the cost is not prohibitive.

All that is needed is the political will on the part of government to provide this social amenity. The rebuilding of the old garage market in Boji-Boji Owa into a modern market with good passage, parking lot and drainage will also uplift the economic wellbeing of the Ika nation. The market as it is now is unplanned, rowdy, inaccessible and heavily flooded when it rains. The same could be said of Baleke market in Boji-Boji, Agbor.

One other project that could frog lift the economy of Ika nation is the building of either a university or polytechnic in Boji-Boji Agbor or its environs. If the State Government has any constraint in doing this, let it encourage prominent Ika sons and daughters who have the wherewithal to do this. Educational institutions will continue to survive as long as human civilization survives and the economic contributions to its host community are innumerable.

Another major setback Ika people are confronted with today is the inability of those in Boji-Boji urban to receive Radio and TV signals from Delta Radio and Delta TV in Asaba except those using satelite dishes. Not everybody can afford it. Surprisingly, one can get clear signals from Edo Radio and TV in Benin City and receive signals from Ondo Radio and TV from Akure. All that is needed to solve this problem is to build a repeater station or a booster station close to Agbor so that the people of Boji-Boji metropolis can hear and see what is happening in Asaba their State capital and the State in general.

I understand there was at one time in his  first tenure a good plan to build Agbor shopping mall and that a few members of the landlord association were protesting against  the  choice  of  the  site,  and this  should not be. This is a laudable initiative which should not be allowed to die. This shopping mall has its economic advantage to the development of Ika nation. As a shopping mall, that government field location is the most ideal.

Whatever purpose the Government Field is serving can better be served by the Agbor township stadium which is just a stone throw from the government field. I want to join all other well meaning sons and daughters of Ika nation to support the building of this shopping mall at this location. Governor  Okowa  has  done  extremely  well  in  his  first  tenure  and  the  people  of  Ika  nation  are  expecting  more  of  the  dividends  of  democracy  from  him  in  his  second  and  last  tenure.

Let  me at  this  point  in  time join  all  well  meaning  and  patriotic  Deltans to  congratulate  this  illustrious  son  of  the  Ika  nation  on  his  resounding  victory at the polls  and the  Supreme  Court  over  the  forces  of  ineptitude  and  retrogression. A week  to the buildup  of  2019  gubernatorial  election,  I  watched  with  utmost  dismay  the  now  embattled and garrulous  Chairman  of  the  All  Progressive Congress (APC)  and  a   one  time   colleague  of  mine  in  the Nigerian  Labour  Movement boasting  that  they  will  capture  Delta  State  and  their  candidate  great  Ogboru  will  be  sworn  in  as the  next   governor  of  Delta State. He rhetorically asked  his  gullible  audience  “ Where  will  Governor  Okowa  get  the  needed  security  to  withstand  the  onslaught  of  the  Federal  might”?. Governor  Okowa  like  the  biblical  David  relied  upon  the power  of  the  Almighty  God  and  the  goodwill  of  Deltans  to  floor   the  APC  biblical  Goliath, Great Ogboru .

It  is  heartwarming   to  note  that  Governor  Okowa  has  started the  construction  of  a  training  school  for  the  Road  Safety Corps  at  Owa-Oyibu  and  mother  and  child  hospital  at  Owa-Alero. As  laudable  as  these  projects  are,  their  potential  for  employment  is  very  low  and  as  such their  economic  impart  to the  economy  of  Ika  nation  will   be  marginal.

Like  I  have  earlier  advocated  in  a  similar  forum , what  is  needed  to  boost  the  economy  of  the  Ika  nation  is  the  establishment  of  a  specialised   Polytechnic  or  University  at  Agbor  or  its  environs. Such  a  Polytechnic  or  university   should  be  in  the  area   of  Communication  and  Information  Technology.

This  is  the  new  area   of knowledge that  is  driving   the  world economy  and  the  economies  of  nations. This is now the new area of   focus. Not  only  will  such  institution  create  a  huge  employment   opportunities  and  boost  the  economy  of  the  people  of Ika  nation  it  will  also  chunk  out  graduates  who  will be  workers  without  national  boundaries ,  self  employed  and  employers  of  labour.

Former  governor  Onanefe  Ibori  knew  well  enough  the  economic  benefits  of   educational  institutions  and  that  was  what  informed  his  establishment  of  four  major  institutions  of  higher  learning  in  his  home  town  Oghara  which  was  hitherto  a  sleepy  town. There  are  so  many  Ika  sons  and  daughters  who have  the  wherewithal  to   build  a  specialised  university    at  Agbor  and  indeed  Boji-Boji  urban.  The time to act is now.

WRITTEN BY BENSON IDUH

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