-By Austin Ogwuda:
Delta State, created in l991, known as the ‘Big Heart’ prides itself as not only one of the major oil producing States in the country but as a reservoir of human resources in high caliber.
Mention men and women of great intellectual capacity, the financial moguls, key players in the banking industry, the media industry, the academia, name it, Delta is not lacking.
But what is lacking, is probably, whether the actual development is commensurate with the quantum of the trillions of naira that came in since the State came into existence.
However, the quantification of income vis-a-vis the expenditure is not the subject of this piece. But take note that well meaning Deltans both home and abroad are entitled to ask this very question. It is their inalienable right.
The only reason why such question is not asked or is being whispered is simply due to political jingoism whereby pulling wools over the faces of the sophisticated Deltans, I earlier described in the intro becomes the other of the day instead of laying the cards on the table.
Even the Fourth Estate of the Realm whose responsibility it is to ask critical questions, interrogate issues with facts and figures, some of us have fallen short of this responsibility and rather choose to cry more than the bereaved in some circumstances or close one eye instead.
Let me focus on the subject matter: that is agenda setting for the next governor come May 29.
Yes, the Governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, by May 29 will be sworn in while the Election tribunal continues to hear petitions filed before it challenging the outcome of the governorship polls in the State.
Whether the outgoing government of Senator Arthur Okowa performed creditably or optimally is also not the subject for this discussion.
Rather, my concern is how to move forward.
….Need to drive Oborevwori bus into the system
Most times when a reporter who is not partisan puts pen on paper on a critical issue, he is buffeted, name calling but for me I don’t care a hoot provided one is unbiased, professional and with sense of responsibility calls a spade a spade.
Government is continu, it is said.
Therefore, as a Deltan, I am humbly asking the in coming administration to consider revisiting the mass transit program introduced during Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s era.
I recall during the electioneering campaign the APC candidate and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo Agege alluded to the fact that Delta State has turned into a dumping ground for ‘keke’.
I can recall vividly that the former governor Uduaghan introduced the keke when he banned the operation of commercial motorcyclists known as okada.
In addition, he also introduced macapolo buses, otherwise known as Uduaghan bus.
These buses were plying Asaba to Okpanam; Asaba to Ibusa, Ogwashi Uku; Asaba to Anwai etc in addition to operation of commercial tricycle aka Keke.
The then Transport Commissioner, under that administration Hon Ben Ibeakpa was up and doing ensuring synergy in the operation of the mass transit system which turned out to be successful but not without some hitches though. The fare was affordable for the teeming masses.
I can also recall that some civil servants were commuting from Ogwashi Uku to Asaba and back from Mondays through Fridays.
The re-introduction of Uduaghan bus now to be christened Oborevwori bus is key.
Although Asaba is flooded with keke, the buses are more comfortable especially during the raining season, fast approaching.
The keke operators have since been banned from using tarpaulin to shield the rain because of reported cases of all sorts of abuse, ranging from robbery, rape, kidnap and other heinous crimes under the tarpaulin cover.
The re-introduction definitely shouldn’t be limited to Asaba the state capital but to other urban towns like Warri, Agbor, Kwale, Sapele etc.
The idea of jettisoning programs and projects of previous administrations, not only in
Delta State but across the country, to my personal opinion, is not the best.
- Austin Ogwuda is a veteran journalist