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N7.4bn -What Delta State Could Do With It

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The Delta State Government recently awarded a contract for the demolition of certain hills in Asaba International Airport. The demolition of the hills will enable the presidential jet to safely land. The president was coming for the BRACED Commission

 Summit which held in Asaba, Delta State. The contract sum is N7.4 billion. It is a job that should be completed in ten days.

Some pertinent questions arise from the award of this contract. Didn't the state government know that there were hills around the airport before carrying out the project? Like Nnimmo Bassey of ERA observed, Asaba is in a flat geographical plane, how come N7.4billion will be used to demolish hills there? Couldn't the airport have been built in surrounding communities that had no hills to demolish? Having spent over N24 billion on the airport project and another N7.4 billion to demolish hills and is still not sixty percent completed, how much more does the state need to spend before completing this money draining project?

 The new cash cow for the very big boys of the inner circle of the government of Delta State to whom DESOPADEC is obsolete as a honey pot and to whom bleeding the state has become a pastime is the Asaba international airport. It is even more worrisome and suggestive of premeditated plunder of state resources that one of the contractors engaged to remove the now vegetative hills from the Asaba airport is the main contractor for the airport project. A commissioner in this state is designated as the Commissioner for economic planning, has he gone on indefinite leave? Were there no feasibility studies before the contract was awarded? Who were the consultants? What was the basis for choosing the present site if the topography of the site was this unsuitable and unreliable? Somebody is swindling the state and embezzling the money of Delta State with the active connivance of the chief guard of the treasury of Delta State. Couldn't the state use the N7.4 billion to impact positively in the lives of the people?

With N7.4billion, the state would have been able to construct the the Amai - Ogume - Kwale Road and Abbi - Ogume Road. The Abraka - Ugono - Umuebu - Amai Road would be constructed. If this had been done, it would have gone a long way to reduce or stop the constant conflict between the people of Amai and Umuebu. With N7.4 billion, Okpe Road in Sapele would have been dualised - complete with drainage. With N7.4 billion, Amukpe Junction to Okurivhre Junction in Sapele would have been dualised.

With N7.4 billion, a flyover would have been constructed at Enerhe Junction in Warri where vehicular movement is a nightmare. N7.4 billion would have been enough to dualise Deco Junction to Okumagba Lay Out in Warri.and drainages in Asaba and Abraka

N7.4 billion would be enough to construct drainages in Jakpa Road, Ekpan Road. The road from Enerhen Junction to Udu Bridge that has become a nightmare to the teeming commuters including Udu people as well as non indigenes who go through the Udu Road daily from Enerhen Junction .

N7.4billion will go a long way in supplying computers to all the secondary schools in the state. The computers will be cheaper if sourced directly from the manufacturers. Hopefully, President Kagame was the guest speaker in this year's summit. Delta State government should have asked him, how Rwanda, a country emerging from war and genocide was able to supply computers even to primary schools in that country.

With N7.4 billion, more primary health centres would be built, equipped and drugs made available across the state. N7.4 billion will in no small measure go a long way in equipping hospitals in the state rather than being mere consulting clinics that they are presently.

With N7.4 billion, soft agricultural loans can be given to farmers. Government can equally get modern farm implements and fertilizer which can then be sold to farmers at subsidized rates. The youths will be encouraged to go into farming if they know they have the financial support of the government.

With N7.4 billion, the police command will be better equipped to fight crime which is almost overwhelming the state government. With this, vehicles, communication equipment and other needs of the police would be taken care off.

A mini independent power project to serve a specific area could be constructed with N7.4 billion. This is the type that Gov Raji Fashola is building in Lagos State. The first is meant to serve Iju Water Works and neighbouring communities. The second is in Lagos Island is meant to serve the courts and other government agencies within the area. If this type had been done in Asaba the shame experienced by the governor of Delta State during the BRACED Commission Summit wouldn't have happened. During the summit the conference centre was put in total darkness as there was power outage for almost an hour.

 N7.4billion would have gone a long way in eliminating or reducing infant mortality in the state. It would have also reduced maternal death rate.

Social benefits to the elderly for the next three years can be taken care by this N7.4 billion that is being or was wasted by the governor of Delta state. Ekiti State which is not as rich as Delta State is offering social benefits to her senior citizens.

N7.4 billion would be more than enough to engage twenty thousand youths in the state as was done by the Aregbesola government in Osun State and Ajimobi government in Oyo State.

The scholarship to Delta State students in tertiary institutions that are paid more in the breach or in piece meal can be solved or greatly improved upon with this N7.4 billion.

Modern High Court and magistrate court buildings in the state befitting a state like Delta could be constructed with N7.4 billion. This same amount can also cover the equipping of the courts with computers and other electronic recording gadgets that can prevent our judges from the drudgery of long hand recording reminiscent of colonial type judges.

Supply of pipe borne water can be given to about a hundred communities with N7.4 billion. It is surprising that Isele Uku and other neigbouring communities as indeed with most communities in Delta State have no source of water supply. Most of these communities depend on rain water all year round. Citizens of the N7.4 billion hills blowing state are thereby exposed to water borne diseases and other health hazards.

N7.4 billion is more than enough to empower the women who bear more the economic hardship in the state occasioned by bad leadership. Loans can be given to them to start small scale businesses. Modern market stalls could be built in major cities in the state with this money that is about to be wasted. These markets should not be of the gigantic and grandiose type that traders cannot afford but the simple type that is built in every neighbourhood as done in Ondo State. This reduces street trading, is affordable and helps to ease of traffic as there will be markets in every neighbourhood.

There are more than a hundred ways by which this amount that is meant to demolish the hills whose existence at the Asaba airport in the first place represents blame worthy failure of the government of Delta State, could have been spent including saving Effurun market and most parts of Warri from being a refuse dump.

Eddy Aghanenu
Delta Rescue Mission.