As Nigeria marks 60 years of nationhood, Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to embark on a total reconstruction of the Benin-Warri highway, saying the road has collapsed.
He also urged the government to give urgent attention to the Agbor-Eku road within the state, which is also in a deplorable condition.
The governor made the call at an interdenominational thanksgiving service at Government House Chapel, Asaba, on Thursday, to mark the independence anniversary of the country.
He said that the poor state of the roads had accounted for loss of many lives and goods in accidents and robberies and also often resulted in loss of man-hours through unending traffic congestion.
The governor assured that as soon as the rainy season was over, work on Warri storm drainage project and concrete tarring of some roads in the area would commence, affirming that his administration was committed to giving equal attention to every part of the state.
“I will use this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government to attend to the Benin-Warri road; it requires total reconstruction.
“The interventions we have been doing over the years definitely cannot bring any solutions at the moment. We will see what we can do as soon as the rains are over, but that road requires total reconstruction. It is beyond our limit as a state and we hope that the Federal Government will look into that.
“Between Agbor and Eku has been very bad too, and almost impassable. We intervened in 2019, a palliative intervention; in 2018 we also intervened on that road. We intend to intervene soon after the rains.
“We have been talking with the Federal Ministry of Works but that road (Agbor/Eku) is already under contract but that contract is slowed down because of paucity of funds at the federal level to meet with the needs of the construction.
“So, what we have to do is just to do a palliative touch that can get the road motorable, hoping that funds will be available for the government at the federal level to drive the contract because both roads (Benin/Warri and Agbor/Eku) are federal roads.
“We will continue to do our best. I believe that the work on Ughelli-Kwale-Asaba dualization is going on as fast as it is humanly possible. We will continue to do our best to fund that road,” he said.
Okowa implored the National Assembly to re-visit the Electoral Act amendment to guarantee free, fair and credible elections at all levels.
According to him, with 21 years of unbroken democracy, Nigerians votes need to count in every election as it did in the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo. This will enable them to believe that the power to occupy elective positions is in the hands of the electorate.
He reminded Nigerians of the need to use the independence celebration to reflect on the journey so far and come out with workable plans on how to retool the nation such that the interest of the nation would take centre stage above other considerations.
The governor expressed worry that the population explosion in the country was at variance with economic growth of the nation hence the need to comprehensively fashion out ways to meaningfully engage youths rather than allow them to become security risk.
To all political appointees in the state, he urged them to extend hands of fellowship to the people at the grassroots as a way of giving them a sense of belonging in the scheme of things.
Earlier in a sermon titled “Abuse Of Liberty”, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Delta, Senior Apostle Sylvanus Okorote, said that every freedom came with responsibility and called on Nigerians to work as a team in moving the country forward.
Okorote, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters, pointed out that Nigeria needed spiritual liberty to overcome its challenges.
He appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari not to allow anyone to lure him into borrowing to address infrastructural challenges in the country.