As the Good Governance Team embarks on tour of Delta state, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Thursday, lauded the Delta State Government for the use of local content in infrastructural development in the state.
The Minister of Information, while inspecting various National and State projects in Asaba with the Good Governance Team, commended the level of work at the various projects and praised the State Government for reposing confidence on local contractors for the execution of projects.
“No country will come and develop Nigeria for us except Nigerians. Using local contractors will create jobs for our people and there will be no capital flight. If we encourage local contractors, we will increase the economic capacity of our people”.
Maku urged the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to continue in his great infrastructural strides as these legacy projects would be testimony of his great work in the state.
On his part, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan explained that in line with the state policy of “Delta Beyond Oil” the state government has carried out various infrastructure developmental projects which could sustain economic growth .
He said that the state belief on the ability of local contractors was unwavering. He explained that the contractor handling the Asaba International Airport and the New Government House was a Deltan.
In his remarks, Prof. Sylvester Monye, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Project Monitoring and Performance Evaluation expressed his delight at the massive infrastructural development in the state. He reiterated his support for the state government’s vision of 3-point Agenda.
He described the projects especially the New Government House and the Asaba International Airport as legacy projects for Deltans.
At inspection of the tricycles, Buses and Boats meant for the state transport scheme, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan explained that the state government has acquired 130 boats and build 30 jetties to service the various riverine communities in the state.
He said that the boats which would be given to youths through their cooperative societies at subsidized rate was an empowerment scheme to provide jobs for the youths.
He opined that a maintenance workshop has been opened in Warri for the maintenance of the boats.
While explaining that the boats could be commissioned in two weeks time, he urged the beneficiaries to put them to good use and maintain their designated routes.
Commenting, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labara Maku who commended the comprehensive transport scheme of the state government opined that it will make transportation throughout the state safer for the people.
He expressed delight that the boats were fabricated in Nigeria and enjoined other states to emulate the Delta State gesture so as to enable the company grow.
At the Asaba International Airport, another project visited by the team, Governor Uduaghan explained that the airport which cost over 24 billion naira would be concessioned to a private concern for effective management and maintenance.
He said that the process of licensing of the Airport was on with the Federal Minister of Aviation to enable the Airport take off fully.
In his words “we are working with the Federal Ministry of Aviation on the licensing of the Airport. The process is still on. We are also discussing with them on the concession of the airport so that it can be properly managed and maintained.”
The Minister of Information who was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the airport described it as world class and the best in the country. He praised the state government for taking the initiative to build the airport.
He said that the airport was strategically located and would bring an economic development to the state.
Maku disclosed that a railway line would run from Lagos to Asaba and coupled with the seaport at Onitsha, there would be an economic boost in the state.
Emphasizing further Mr. Maku said “the airport speaks for itself, it has a market and it will be a busy one as it ranks amongst the best in the world. With the Seaport in Onitsha and the proposed rail line from Lagos to Asaba, there would be an economic boost in the state”.
The Good Governance Tour Team also inspected St. Patrick College Asaba, Federal Medical Centre and GRA Model Primary School Asaba.
Meanwhile, Delta State Government has reiterated its desire to create employment for the teeming youths in the state.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan made the disclosure when he hosted the Labaran Maku led Good Governance Tour team in Asaba.
Governor Uduaghan said that creation of employment was the main focus of the state policy of “Delta beyond oil”. He explained that the state government was putting in place infrastructural development projects which would sustain the economy.
Emphasizing further he said “As a state government we are doing our best to build a state beyond oil through our 3-point agenda. Our ultimate goal is that of job creation and I believe that when our youths are engaged they will have no time to be involved in criminal activities”.
He assured the Minister and his team of the state government’s continuous support to the various law enforcement agencies to deal with issues of kidnapping and piracy.
The governor explained that Delta State was peaceful and safe for anyone to live and move around in because his administration has been committed to tackling the issue of security squarely.
Governor Uduaghan informed the team that there were some intangible programmes being carried out by the state government.
Speaking further, he noted that the state has free maternal and child care delivery in the health sector, pay NECO and WAEC fees for SS3 students and that there was scholarship schemes for Delta students in all level of education.
His words “There are areas people do not appreciate that this administration has spent a lot of money on. There are things you will not see on ground as you move round the state but are important and are part of our developmental programmes”.
He continued “In the health sector we have free maternal care for pregnant women and free medical care for children from 0-5 years. In the education sector, we offer scholarship schemes for Deltans in all educational level and pay for external examinations for our SS3 students in public schools”.
Governor Uduaghan said his administration was In support of the Good Governance tour as it would help showcase the developmental strides going on in the country to the outside world and improve the image of Nigeria.
He admonished the media to appreciate the democratic gains in the country by positively portraying the developmental strides all over the country and stop making negative issues frontline stories.
Uduaghan commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the approval of the initiative of the Good Governance tour explaining that it shows that the president was transparent in his dealings and wants to be assessed.
“I want to appreciate what this team is doing; we will continue to support this programme. I commend Mr President for approving this programme, it shows that the President is transparent in his dealings and wants to be assessed. The media should be specific in their reporting especially in negative issues. They should learn to appreciate what we have and change this attitude”.
Speaking further, he advised the team to brace up to the challenges they would encounter in the cause of the tour and accept constructive criticism cheerfully.
In his address, the Honourable Minister of Information Mr Labaran Maku informed the governor that the Good Governance tour was not a Federal Government programme but a national programme put up to help promote the country’s democracy.
He explained that it was a programme supported by the 36 state governors and Federal government to showcase the progress made so far in the 13 years of democracy, adding that the tour has nothing to do with partisan politics.
According to him “This programme is not a Federal Government programme, it is a programme supported by the 36 state governors after extensive consultations and deliberations. It is to showcase the progress made so far in different states to promote democracy”.
He continued “We are putting partisan politics aside. We will not be partisan; we have sworn to be transparent and neutral in our assessment”.
Mr Maku also commended Governor Uduaghan for the peace enjoyed in the state, stressing that normalcy had returned to Delta State after a long period of crisis saying “Delta is peaceful now, normalcy has returned to the state and this has given rise to the developmental strides we are witnessing today”.
The Good Governance team, chaired by the National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mallam Mohammed Garba would be in Delta State for 3 days to inspect various projects executed by Federal, state, local governments and hold a town hall meeting with stake holders.