The Oasis Reporters
September 29, 2019
A traditional wedding ceremony of the niece of The Oasis Reporters publisher, recently took the crew to Kwale, political capital of the Ndokwa nation in Delta State.
The visit turned out into a tour of some emerging towns in Delta state and the burden upon the shoulders of the communities and local governments that they seem to be blissfully unaware of.
While on the tour, the crew touched Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North Local Government Area, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area, Ughelli in Urhobo land, also a major city, Oghara, Warri metropolis, Sapele township, Irri etc, in no particular order.
One thing we noticed was the exquisite network of roads all over Delta State. It was kick started by it’s 1999-2007 governor, James Onanefe Ibori. Give it to him on that score even though he could have done much more than he did with what was available to him, Ibori built Delta State. Other governors like Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan added, just as Dr. Okowa the current governor is doing.
We noticed the derelict nature of the Federal Highway between Warri and Sapele. Commuters were slowing down to a crawl for an extra four hours, a journey that should normally get done in less than an hour.
Well, Governor Okowa is rehabilitating the Federal express road and work is still ongoing. Largely speaking, Delta state has a good network of roads.
Another thing we noticed was the mainly mansions in their villages, with little or no occupants. People say that after the militant struggles in the 90s, oil prospecting companies saw the need to start employing the indigenes, which meant real income in the pockets of workers, and that translated to beautiful buildings in villages.
While the local government headquarter towns grew, one problem surfaced.
This neglected aspect of town planning is fast turning the emerging towns into stinking slums. People dispose of waste by the roadside, no matter what it is. Worst hit are the tail ends of towns. We saw this in virtually all the towns, even in Warri township, which is a crying shame.
Waste disposal is the goldmine that local government councils have not thought you .
What to do:
Make the people own waste drums for which they should pay a very token sum. Make it really minimal. Let waste disposal trucks pick thrash every fortnight. And if there are waste to wealth entrepreneurs around, there lies an opportunity.
With local governments having some financial autonomy, can they pick up the gauntlet ? Having stinking towns is not healthy. Have designated spots where waste should be deposited, not just at any point along lonely roads.
Culturally speaking, people in Kwale town are beautifully expressive and very welcoming. Though, it produces oil and gas, first spearheaded by Agip Oil , which also built Nigeria’s first Independent Power Plant under President Olusegun Obasanjo, it suffers critical electrical shortages. Yet the IPP at Okpai under Kwale, Ndokwa East Local Government, is rumored to be servicing Abuja with electricity as ordered by Obasanjo.
In the heat of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970, Col. Ojukwu was said to have ordered a Biafran Arny daring raid on the Agip flow station, kidnapping the Italian AGIP oil workers there. Col. Ojukwu made a stirring broadcast on the “Kwale Incident”, and this singular event forced the Catholic pontiff into active engagement in the issues surrounding the starvation and human catastrophe in then Biafra land. For further reading on this, read Chinua Achebe’s ‘There Was A Country’. Search for the Kwale incident.