Driving the `Smart Agenda` of Okowa`s administration
The primary objective of government is the security and welfare of the citizens and the executive arm of government are most suited for this role. Therefore the implementation of government policies are some of the functions of the executive arm, at the state level is the state governor. Since the governor cannot play God, he has to enlist the support and understanding of his commissioners in carrying out the implementation of such policies. The failure or successes of such commissioners are seen as the failure and success of the governor. Here in Delta State, the various commissioners are the active drivers of the smart agenda of the Okowa administration.
And recently in interactive sessions with the press, some of the commissioners spoke about their successes and challenges. Mr Joycee Overa, the Commissioner of Science and Technology disclosed that he and his team had been able to utilize science and technology in the art of governance and the people of the state were better for it. He said that the establishment of Delta State innovation hub has helped in the advancement of learning, research and incubation for start-up and software developers in ICT innovation. He also disclosed the Hub organised computer awareness seminar for a total of sixty five women and mobile app development training for youths last year. And that at the end of the day, a total of 14 youths were trained and equipped with mobile app development skills.
Overa spoke further on the achievements of his ministry:`The launch of the technological hall of fame and e-government academy at the DS-iHUB on the 21st July 2016 : A platform that recognizes distinguished personalities in innovation, science and technology was formally launched by Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the Honourable Minister for Communications and other eminent Nigerians. The governor was duly certified on the e-government academy at the end of the launch. Google Developers Group DevFEST Roadshow: a social meet-up event for software developers in Delta State on the 19th of November 2016 was organized in partnership with Google Developers Group to equip youths with latest skills in software development as well as provide technical and motivational support to the youths. The event was well attended by 65 software developers in the state`. Overa maintained that about 2,000 youths participated in a workshop programme in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology and the Rockefeller Foundations, USA. It is the hope of the commissioner that with full utilization of e-governance, the democratic dividends would flow to the people in fulfilment of the prosperity agenda of the Okowa administration.
On his part, Chief James Augoye, the Commissioner for Works disclosed that the ministry embarked on the construction of 71 road projects at a total cost of N32.905 billion between May 2015 and November 2016 covering over 282 kilometres of roads and 136 kilometres of concrete-lined drains. He also observed that the value of projects currently being handled by the ministry, including those inherited from the previous administration is put at about N110 billion. This covers about 381 kilometres of roads. Augoye stated that the ministry was also responsible for the on-going works on the rehabilitation of the Asaba Airport Runway and Taxiways at a cost of five billion Naira.
Augoye underpinned the policy thrust of his ministry: `To increase the length of all weather roads in the state from the estimated current level of 2,550km to a minimum target total functional road length of 5,000km through the construction of new roads and maintenance/rehabilitation of existing roads. To incorporate optimal drainage system in road construction projects. Transformation of urban centres through the provision of good road network to enhance effective flow of traffic`.
The works commissioner, however, admitted that these lofty dreams may not be fully realized because of some challenges. He explains thus:`It is pertinent to state here that the terrain of the state also results in additional high cost of constructing roads with respect to the swampy nature of some parts which require the replacement of huge quantities of unsuitable materials and several hydraulic structures on the one hand and erosion prone parts of the state where drainage structures are necessary`.
Barrister Neworld Safugha, the Commissioner for Energy in his stewardship account paid glowing tributes to the state governor and that the achievements of his ministry were due to the support and understanding of the governor. He explained the philosophy behind the Ministry of Energy : `It was created with the aim of co-ordinating activities of the state government in the energy sector through ensuring a sustained partnership with the federal government and the private sector for the development of infrastructure for generation of adequate and reliable electricity power for use by Deltans. The ministry also explores avenue for the utilization of renewable energy resources in the state for energy services as well telecommunication and electronic engineering technology development`.
On the achievements of his ministry, Safugha said that the government has undertaken a total of twenty-five supply projects since May 2015 to December 2016 at a total cost of N936,459,218.69. Some of the projects according to the commissioner are :`Installation of Injection transformer and and 11KV line to evacuate power from the injection transformer to the new Central hospital in Asaba, Re-activation of electricity power supply schemes in Ogbein Ama town in Bomadi local government area, reinforcement and rehabilitation of electricity power supply in Ibusa, Mosogar and Effurun and installation of various capacities of transformers in the state capital and other locations.` He also said that in the area of renewable energy development, adequate attention were given to solar energy development, bio energy development and wind energy development. He assured Deltans and residents in the state that when these schemes fully come on stream, there will be adequate supply of power for industrial and private uses and this will accelerate the rate of development in the state.
Julius Oweh, a journalist, Asaba, Delta State, 08037768392