The Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, believes that Delta State has come out greater despite being created amidst controversies, especially those surrounding the location of the state capital.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Uduaghan noted that although “a lot still has to be done” he was happy that “in the last 23 years, a lot has been done in terms of infrastructure” and this has impacted on the lives of the people.
He said that the major challenges in terms of infrastructure would be power, school, hospitals, water, transportation and the state has done well in these regards and continues to do more.
The Governor also spoke about the state’s developmental strategy, ‘Delta Beyond Oil’, which has been his administration’s focus.
He explained that the strategy has been approached in two ways. One arm was to create the infrastructure that would bring in investments into the state and the other arm was to empower citizens with tools for economic productivity through the state’s micro-credit facility.
He also explained that the Government has been able to set its priorities in terms of infrastructure. While power, seaport and the airport would be targeted at creating enabling environment for investment, social amenities like healthcare, schools, water, and others meant for the comfort of the citizens have also been taken very seriously.
Governor Uduaghan, however, noted that the notable development of the state has also created an influx of people into the state, thereby creating congestion in certain places. He cited the establishment of an airport and the development in the health sector among the social facilities impacting on the state’s population.
The Governor believes that Local Government Areas should be better empowered to enable the states develop better. He mentioned the payment of teachers’ salaries as one of the areas in which the roles of the State and Local Government should be better defined, noting that LGAs as they are currently cannot handle such roles.
There were questions on the economic impact of creating new states in Nigeria, in a situation where the cost of running governments have been considered high, but the Delta Governor believes that the new states and the civil service jobs that come with them could also be seen as a way of empowering the people.
He noted that people should now learn from Delta State’s strategy of ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ by creating alternative sources of economic empowerment for the people.
He applauded the Federal Government’s initiative in Agriculture with special mention of the Minister of Agriculture’s recent promotion of home-grown rice.
While admitting that the challenge of any new state is usually funding, the Governor, however, was of the opinion that for the agitation for state creation to be reduced, there must be a way of ensuring that there is even development across Nigeria.
The National Conference, in its final submission on state creation, recommended the creation of Anioma State from the current Delta and the Governor says that this does not underline a problem peculiar to Delta State but one for the entire Nigeria as the agitation for new states is always an ongoing request.
Despite the government’s emphasis on peace, love and unity among the Delta State people, the agitation by the Anioma people would seem to be disappointing for the Governor but he said that it was not, as he believes that ethnic groups would always have reasons to agitate but what should be given attention are the factors that cause ethnic distrust – development, empowerment, inclusion and other issues.
Delta State is known for outstanding performances in the area of sport and the conversation naturally tilted in the direction of its impact on the average Delta youth.
Governor Uduaghan revealed that the secret behind the successes was the decision of the government to professionalize the sector in a manner that professional sportsmen and women are put in charge of managing the state’s sport programmes.
Supported by infrastructures to support their programmes, he said that the citizens and especially the youths have grown to see sport successes as part of their lives.
Governor Uduaghan noted that any Delta State Governor who fails to win at least one National Sports Festival would have that used against him as a campaign tool.
Ready To Curb Ebola
Governor Uduaghan also said that the Government has made adequate preparations to prevent the outbreak of the Ebola disease in the state and to control its spread if at all it finds its way into the state.
He gave a brief insight into the strategies that have been put in place to ensure that the people are not caught unaware, adding that sensitization has also been one of their major activities in recent weeks.
He noted that the isolation centres have been built in different places in the state but the locations have not been made public to avoid protests from the citizens who would not want to have them around due to ignorant beliefs.
Dr. Uduaghan also decried the circumstances surrounding the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease to Port Harcourt in Rivers State. He wondered why a medical doctor would decide to treat a patient of Ebola in an hotel, despite the level of knowledge he must have had of the virus.
He said that as a professional, he felt bad that a colleague would ignore some basic things that must have been taught from his days in medical school.