State creation: Delta celebrates 25yrs with common sense

From right, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adiosun; Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibekachukwu (behind); Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie and others, during the exhibition of localy made goods at the Economic Summit to mark the 25th anniversary of Delta State.

IF there is anything Delta State has celebrated at the 25th anniversary of its creation, it is peace and unity that now prevail among the ethnic groups.

Gone were the years when ethnic groups, especially those in the creek, were at war. For quite a number of years in the political dispensation, there were maimings and wanton destruction of lives and property in various communities, but all that is now history.

So as the people gathered in Asaba, the state capital, to take a retrospective look at the beginning of the journey in 1991, the last page indicated that peace has truly returned.

Although there are misgivings about the adulthood of the state, there is no gainsaying the fact that it has made some significant strides in various sectors of  human endeavour.

Apart from parading arrays of media and banking executives, it has made foray into the oil and gas, sports and entertainment.

There are three polytechnics, a university with two satellite campuses, a teaching hospital, two colleges of education, three schools of nursing, two schools of midwifery, a college of physical education, school of health technology and a school of marine technology and over 66 general hospitals among others.

The state has more major urban centres compared to some states. They include, Asaba, Agbor, Warri, Ughelli, Kwalle, Ozoro, Oghara and Sapele etc.

However, as regretted by the first Executive Governor of the state, Chief Felix Ibru before his death recently, the master plan of Asaba, the state capital, is yet to be implemented as people became reckless and built on water channels, mapped out markets and parks etc.

Despite that, Asaba has sprawled to neighbouring communities to become one of the fastest growing capitals of states created in 1991 with streets adorned with lightings.

The abysmal economic position in the country notwithstanding, the state government rolled out drums for the celebration, which turned out to be the best in recent years. The celebration, according to the Governor of the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, was done with common sense.

A cross section of traditional rulers.
A cross section of traditional rulers.

Caged in financial doldrums, the administration proved a point that a friend in need is a friend in deed by appealing to the private sector to support the celebration.

In the process, some companies, including banks, oil and gas outfits and individuals donated over N165million out of the N250million earlier budgeted for the celebration.

Okowa appreciated the gesture and was quick to add that the state government did not spend a dime.

At the cultural carnival, the 25 local governments showcased their best. Okowa led the people from Delta North, while his deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, led the south troops and speaker of the House of Assembly was in charge of those from central district round some streets in Asaba before they all converged on the Cenotaph. All the groups were winners, but attention was shifted to the maidens who featured from Ethiope West (Oghara) with their bare tops exposing God’s precious gift.

Addressing the mammoth crowd, Okowa used the occasion to admonish the people to remain resolute to uphold peace which is a panacea for investment and harmonious living.

“We are strong willed and by God’s grace, we are not depressed.

“We have a lot of work to do, the strength of love can conquer any challenge we have.

“The peace we seek has come and I hope it will be sustained”.

The governor was quick to explain at every forum, including the economic and investment summit, details of the state income since assuming office in 2015, saying, “compared to two years ago when the state was getting about N20billion as allocation, what comes to the state for the past four months was between N3b to N5b.