Citizens Must Be Involved in Project Monitoring, Says Okowa


* Assures 2019 PDP aspirants of free and fair primaries

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

The Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has said that he wishes to see more involvement of the ordinary citizens in the monitoring of projects being executed by his administration across the state, adding that it is only through such collective effort that projects that will stand the test of time can be delivered.

Okowa, who noted that projects being executed by his administration across the state were too numerous to itemise, however, expressed confidence that the contractors handling the different projects were capable of delivering projects in line with job standard specifications.

He urged the people to feel free to reach him or his aides if they noticed any shoddiness in project execution, reaffirming his determination to ensure equitable distribution of people-oriented projects across the state.

The governor gave the advice when he played host to members of Oil and Gas Producing Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSTCOM) led by Mr Gabriel Isibeluo, who paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Asaba, at the weekend.

While expressing appreciation for the role the body was playing in ensuring peace in oil and gas producing communities, Okowa remarked that the government was prepared to partner them especially in project monitoring.

“HOSTCOM is a voice to our various oil producing communities or communities that are impacted by oil,” the governor said, adding: “We will, as a government, continue to partner with you; we hope HOSTCOM will be involved in the monitoring of our projects. We have a lot of projects across the state and I want to see these projects done rightly.”

He also pointed out that the Delta State Oil Producing Area Developmental Commission (DESOPADEC) was enjoying freedom in carrying out its activities, saying: “DESOPADEC has a lot of leverage to do things on their own.”

He nonetheless commended members of HOSTCOM for their desire for self-development through loans from the state government’s micro-credit scheme, which he said would continue to be given to cooperative societies with credible track record.

He however charged HOSTCOM to impress it on its members the need to maintain peaceful environment for desired economic activities to take place.

According to Okowa, “We should work to consolidate on the peace that we have. We can say as at today we are the highest oil producing state in the country because of the peace that exists in the state; we thank you for the collective roles you are playing for our economy to thrive.”

In hhis address, Isibeluo commended the Okowa administration for its developmental strides, assuring it that HOSTCOM would continue to partner with government to achieve results.

Meanwhile, Governor Okowa has allayed the fears of aspirants for different positions in 2019 of possible executive interference, assuring them that aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has nothing to worry about as the primaries would be “free and fair”.

He gave the assurance at the Delta North Senatorial District PDP stakeholders’ meeting in Asaba at the weekend, stressing that the power of the people to choose their candidates was sacrosanct as it remains a supreme power in any democracy.
He advised those who have the intention to contest for the party’s primaries to consult with the people and shun any recourse to the use of foul or inciting language.

Okowa said: “We have the right to aspire for any political positions, but we should conduct ourselves in honourable ways in our campaigns. In campaigning, you talk about yourself, you don’t talk about others, I campaign with what I can do and what I want to do and let the electorate decide.

“Aspirants, please do not malign others so that we do not destroy ourselves before the elections, we are going to have free and fair primaries and all party chairmen should work with us in that direction. No local government party chairman should take a strong position on any aspirant; and, if before the election we hear that there is any local government party chairman who is taking a strong position on any aspirant, that chairman will be removed from office.”