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.
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