The Oasis Reporters
December 31, 2020
By Greg Abolo
I am Niger Deltan. Born by Delta parents though I have lived more outside of the state, than inside. I decided recently to spend some time on break in my home state and with my eyes on the sights of the state, I was able to view the missing gaps in the development arena of Delta that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa can fit in, and do some superlative work that can earn him front seat with Edo and Delta ‘A’ class greats like Dennis Osadebey, Samuel Ogbemudia and James Ibori.
This is not to say that Okowa has been sleeping on the steering. Far from it. He’s really been working hard and he deserves commendations, especially on roads rehabilitation and construction of new ones under daunting terrains. But he indeed can do much more.
But this write up is about superlative performances, things beyond the ordinary that will cause people to smile as they say, ‘wao’, what an outstanding feat!
I was pleasantly surprised at Asaba, the capital city. I was sleeping in that city for perhaps, the first time in over thirty years. The previous local government headquarters had transformed into a big city, without big infrastructure, growing in a lean way as if it were adding weight upon it’s tiny legs, without swallowing enough calcium supplements or eating the foods that would give it strength and stamina.
Then first premier of the then Mid-western region, Dennis Osadebey promptly laid the foundation of an industrialized state by establishing a Glass factory at Ughelli, a cement factory at Okpella and a textile mill at Asaba, thus planting the seed of industrialization in Central, North and South of the young region that had been newly carved out of the Western Region.
Let me focus on Delta. While at Asaba, I saw the textile mill. I equally saw Asaba Aluminum as well as quite a few more aluminum companies including other companies which signified growth and progress, the way Osadebey would have wanted it.
One thing I noticed at Asaba was that it was steaming hot, despite being watered by the majestic River Niger. All the industries were running their own show, as if they didn’t expect anything from the government that they were paying taxes to. I spent two nights in a hotel around the bustling Koka area.
The electricity shortages were legendary. Just as bad as they are in Ughelli, Warri and all the local government headquarters like Kwale, Ogwashi-Uku, Oleh, Sapele, Eku, Abraka, Obiaruku etc. For the two nights I spent in Asaba, it was the generator all through, at huge costs to the hotel management.
Before coming back to the issue of electricity, I slipped into the commercial city of Onitsha by paying the bus fare of 200 naira to cross the Niger bridge.
At Onitsha, I visited several shops selling items that were being produced at Asaba. Like Aluminum products, etc. Onitsha was also humid, with electricity shortages as well. But that’s a problem for Anambra state.
Now, if Asaba and environs are production hubs for Onitsha that hosts some of the biggest markets in West and Central Africa, what can Okowa not do to tap into the Onitsha economy?
Luckily for him, his predecessor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan constructed an International airport in Asaba which is strategically across the River Niger that separates the twin cities of Asaba in Delta State and Onitsha in Anambra State.
Now, are you thinking what I am thinking?
Just imagine what Governor Godwin Obaseki would have done with such a contiguous opportunity!
Okowa needs to do something in that direction. If a less financially endowed Edo State can engineer such a financial arrangement to carry a project like that out, what stops a rich state like Delta?
Here, see what Obaseki did. Rather than weep about a lack of electricity, he built one!
Assuming that Okowa were to do the same thing by building a power plant to serve Asaba and environs as well as another one in Warri, a huge percentage of electricity consumers would pay to have electricity 24/7, for the benefit of their factories, and that’s good business! They would pay, as homes and facilities around Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium are happily paying to Edo Electric, all to boost the IGR of Edo State under Obaseki.
Isn’t that superlative smartness ?
Okowa can do that and reap much more ! He’s been there for 5years. Three years more and he can do superlative ‘A’ team work and take front seat.
I’ve not talked about portable water supply or many other money yielding infrastructural foundations. Neither am I going to talk about roads infrastructure. For they’ve all tried. From Ibori to Uduaghan and now, Okowa, ‘waa kor bi ruo’, ‘una well done’. You guys have broken grounds. You have tried.
Okowa, do the electric dance and we shall praise and lift you onto the pantheon of all time Delta greats.
Delta, nn daalu ni. Delta waa ooo ! Ishee egwari !