Okowa bags award, canvasses better environment in Delta
• Agency to develop Warri, Uvwie swings into action
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has sought cooperation of the people for the effective tackling of environmental challenges in Delta State.
He made the call during an inspection tour of ongoing drainage and road projects in and around Asaba.
This comes amid his recognition on Tuesday by the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, publishers of Tribune titles, which conferred the “Nigeria’s Torchbearer in Infrastructure and Environmental Development” on him for his developmental strides during an event to mark the newspaper’s 70th anniversary in Lagos.
Represented at the occasion by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, Okowa had dedicated the award to Deltans, especially traditional and religious leaders, for their peaceful disposition to his administration.
But briefing newsmen after inspecting facilities at the Asaba General Hospital, the governor said all the projects would be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of next year.
He noted that on account of the daily works, there was need to safeguard the environment.
Accompanied by top government officials, including the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, Okowa expressed satisfaction at the pace and quality of work.
Meanwhile, the Warri Uvwie and Environs Special Area Development Agency (WUEDA) is to officially begin work next Monday, its pioneer director general, Comrade Ovouzorie Macaulay, has disclosed.
The agency was established after the passage of an executive bill in May by the Delta State House of Assembly.
Governor Okowa set up the interventionist agency for an all-encompassing development of the area.
According to him, the agency was to “intervene and formulate a permanent holistic master plan for the development of Warri and Uvwie areas.”
Macaulay, who spoke with reporters, queried, “why should Warri be a city of caravans?”
He pleaded with the residents of the two areas to support the agency in this onerous task.
The former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) state chairman regretted that in the past when caravans were removed or demolished, their owners re-erected them within three weeks, adding that this time around, “it will be a different ball game entirely as we will constitute a task force to monitor compliance.”
He went on: “Effective urban renewal actions are inevitable in our contemporary cities if they must compete with their peers in the developed economies.
“Those who witnessed the oil boom of the early 70s through the 80s will agree that the Warri metropolis was the hub of industrialisation and the perfect definition of what a fast-developing city should be. Regrettably, Warri and its environs have become stunted on account of a number of interrelated factors. Chief of which was the prolonged crisis that lasted between March 1997 and September 2004.”
Macaulay submitted that the disturbance and the accompanying militancy led to the relocation of oil firms and other viable industries from the city, leaving the economies of both areas in doldrums.