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Arch. Mike Onolemhenmhen: Has He Fared Well As The Nation's Foreman

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The Ministry Of Works: Who do we have at the helm? He is none other than Arch. Mike Onolemhenmhen , one great Nigerian of Esan extraction, a living example of what man can be and what he can accomplished in the realm of excellence and virtue.

The journey to heading Nigeria's Works Ministry commenced years ago while probably still at school and today he stands tall among most of his contemporaries for his unblemished integrity, love and skill in creating nature-friendly buildings before being called upon to serve the country after selection from among several others short-listed through competitive bids. He got the job to design, restructure , reconstruct , construct our roads and has put the under-listed values into play while discharging his duties as the foreman at the nation's Works Ministry . And these values include: Accountability, transparency, innovativeness, customer friendly, quality driven, professionalism and ethical conduct, value for money and environment friendly.

To have quality, efficient, cost-effective construction industry that is capable of meeting the adverse needs for safe and environmentally friendly construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads, buildings, as well as electrical and mechanical works and other works that facilitate social economic development of the country, Arch Mike Onolemhenmhen readily came to mind and he has since proven himself to be a round peg in a round role all the while. The above-named values have been dutifully observed while discharging his duties. That President Jonathan has a cabinet of efficient ministers is not in dispute and the ”Action Minister” as he is fondly called has distinguished himself by by formulation of policies, plans and strategies towards development, upgrading and management of the construction sector covering short, medium and long term.

The ”Action Minister” has doubtless carved a niche for himself in the temple of fame by effective monitoring, supervision and coordination of various activities of Agencies/parastatals, Boards and Institutions which are under the Ministry of Works via development and implementation of appropriate sector policies, strategies and standards.

Under the able Honourable Minister's watch we have seen and recorded giant strides that have been made in construction policies and their implementation, roads, bridges, government buildings, engineering and design works, performance improvement and development of human resources under his ministry , public works, material laboratory, extra-ministerial departments , parastatal organisations agencies programmes and projects under his ministry , safety and environment , e.t.c.

The indefatigable Minister has been increasingly setting standards and monitoring of quality compliance in construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads throughout the country, government buildings and bridges , the second Niger Bridge on which work has commenced is a case in point after many years of inactivity and airy promises by his predecessors.

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We here in the diaspora have in deed been watching behind the scenes. However , it is not under contention that Nigeria's Works Ministry under the above-named honourable Minister now parades some of the best roads and highways on the continent by constant supervision and monitoring of preliminary and detailed designs of trunk and regional roads. The East-West Corridor running from Shagamu to Benin is a case in point. Before the rehabilitation of this ever busy road motorists had frustration to contend with resulting from maddening and agonizing delays by failed sections and washouts while motoring on it. That road in question was in fact so bad that could force a pregnant woman to involuntary abortion but today all is now changed for the better as a journey that used to take more than 8 hours to the Benin end now takes less that 3 hours! Work on the ever busy Lagos-Ibadan highway is on-going and I have this on good authority. Motoring on this road also used to be an adventure that has sent many Nigerians to their untimely graves!

The Honourable Minister's vision of a six-lane Abuja – Kaduna motorway is a standing testimony on how nature and business can be blended well.

Security and environmental protection systems undertaken for development of road infrastructure were skilfully applied and that ever busy motorway compares and competes favourably with what we have here in today's Europe. I salute his spirit, doggedness, commitment and tenacity in this regard.

There is no denying the fact that management and accountability of resources have greatly improved under his watch via reforms in the Ministry and its institutions. Programmes for infrastructure development and maintenance have doubtless been implemented thereby improving working environment and capacity building for service delivery. This doubtless gives or makes him a cut above his predecessors.

Men like him with a proven track record and sheer determination to serve are difficult to come by , if you ask me. It is not in dispute that what Nigeria urgently stand in need of now are credible leaders with impressive pedigrees to revitalize the obviously decadent paralysis. Arc Mike Onolemhenmhen of Esan extraction who is also the Minister of Works, a prominent member of President Jonathan's cabinet unlike his predecessors is trusted, tested and proven in fact he has toiled so hard to fix our roads across the country which were in a terrible state of disrepair.

This doubtless is a man whose invaluable services should be retained to reposition Edo State and lead her towards socio-political and economic development. Men like him you know as well as I know are hard to find. Edo State , I think , will regain its lost glory with a man like him in Denis Osadebey House , Benin City come 2016.

Iyoha John Darlington, aka Lington Donovan writes from Turin, Italy

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