I’ll revive Warri, Koko, Burutu ports, Says Omo-Agege, Delta APC Governorship Candidate
· ‘Nothing commensurate with over N4.2tr revenue received by Okowa administration in eight years’
By Edu Abade
Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State has pledged to revive the moribund Warri, Koko and Burutu ports and other abandoned projects with a view to boosting individuals’ and the state’s economy if he emerges governor in the Saturday, March 11, 2023 gubernatorial and state Assembly elections.
He made the pledge while interacting with the Igbo community in the state and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Asaba to seek their support in the forthcoming elections, which will be held next weekend.
Maintaining that Delta State had remained largely underdeveloped due to the politics of opposition under the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration, he said it was important to lead the state in the right direction by aligning with the leadership at the federal level to attract and engender greater development of the state.
His words: “I want Delta State to be hooked up to the national political ‘grid’ (for want of a better expression) so that if there is anything we need as a government here, it will be easier to get it from the Federal Government. For instance, about two or three weeks ago, we were in Owerri for the presidential rally and the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma was saying that he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to convert several state projects into federal ones, which the President approved expressly.
“That can only be possible when there is synergy between the state and the Federal Government. I can get the Federal Government to do some of the projects that have been abandoned in Delta State like the Warri Port, dredging of the Escravos Bay if there is synergy between the state and Federal Government.
“Imagine what a dredged Escravos Bay and rejuvenated Warri Port where vessels are allowed to berth at the Koko Port and Burutu ports will do to the economy of Warri and the entire state and especially our brothers and sisters who are into trading, but that has not happened because there is no synergy between Okowa’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Federal government led by President Buhari of APC.”
He flayed the Okowa administration for wasting the huge resources accruing to the state, insisting the development projects under the current government fell far short of the money received in the past seven a half years alone adding: “Delta State has received about N4.2 trillion in the last seven and half years, but there is nothing remotely commensurate with that money that has come to the state.
“We have states in this country that have received less than Delta, but you can see the level of development in those states. For instance, Rivers State receives less from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and less from derivation. But Rivers is like a construction site in the past eight years.
“More importantly, despite all of this, Rivers State or the governor does not owe one kobo to any contractor or to any bank. Even though we receive over N4.2 trillion, Delta now owes over N850 billion to the banks and other creditors. For clarity, there is nothing wrong with taking loans. In any civilised country, they take loans for development projects, if out of N250 billion, about N10 billion is set aside to address the perennial flooding challenge in Asaba, I don’t believe anybody will quarrel with that.”
Omo-Agege also chided the state government over its negligence of the flooding challenge in the state, lamenting that government now makes money from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and once the rains start, some persons are already positioning themselves to make money for setting up IDP camps.
“Asaba is our state capital and if just N10 billion is set aside to address the perennial flooding challenge in Asaba, I don’t think anybody will quarrel with that,” he said.
Speaking further, he cited the Asaba-Kwale-Ozoro-Oleh-Isoko-Ughelli road that has been in perpetual state of disrepair, for several years, adding: “I agree that the roads may be federal roads, but if only about N11 billion each out of the loans is dedicated to the repair and completion of these roads, I don’t believe anybody will quarrel with that. Our anger is that the debts being accumulated in Delta State were misapplied and misappropriated and not applied for the purposes that have been beneficial to all of us.”