I read in your last week’s publication, an interview by my community elders in respect of the construction and resurfacing of Alihame/Agbor-Nta/Oki Road.
This response is necessitated for two major reasons; First, it behoves on me to enlighten my community elders on the process of road construction and secondly, as a Political Aide of the Governor of Delta State on Community Development, it also behoves on me to very properly intermediate between Government and the community as it relates to development of the community.
Let me start by correcting the hasty conclusion that the Contract handling the project is doing a substandard job when the work is very much in progress. When constructing drain on an existing road , the ideal thing to do is start from one side of the road so as to leave space that is passable for the residents. This is exactly what the Contractor is doing, then you hear complain that the road is project has one sided drain. How can someone say that the drainage work that is on going is faulty, that is very unfair.
I want to also remind my people that flowing water naturally has its course in line with the topography of the land which is not man made. Before the construction works started, whenever it rains, that flood flows to the direction that it is currently flowing. The Contractor did not redirect the flow to any particular Community. However, when drains are constructed during road construction, there MUST be a discharge to either an existing larger drain or a discharge pit or to a canal or river if any of the above is nearby. In all these, the budgeted fund is seriously taken into consideration. It is not reasonable to apply all the drains meant for the road to discharge drain only. The road will suffer in the very short run.
I want to state that there is just no way water will flow from Agbor-Nta to Alihame-Inwan. That is not true at all. There is a Crest at the middle of Aliagwa from where water flows back to Agbor-Nta to empty into the Discharge pit already secured at Agbor-Nta.
What the Contractor planned to do was to secure discharge pits on the path or at the end of the already existing discharge drains that where constructed over 30 years ago and the owners of the spots shall be adequately compensated.
The challenge that one can envisage is securing a discharge pit at Aliokpu to receive the flow from part of Aliagwa, Ewuru and Aliokpu. Although the discharge drain is not supposed to be more than 200 to 300 meters, we shall appeal to the State Government so as to find a way to extend the discharge drain which will invariably push the pit further away from the houses in the community. But let me remind us that these Communities have and will witness massive growth in no time. Therefore, houses must be built near the pits as it is already existing in some Community.
Let it be known that Delta State Government is known for construction of roads with double sided drains and not one side drain.
Let us be patient with the Contractor who is from Agbor and he is bent on going the extra mile not minding profitability to ensure that the best is delivered to the community.
Discharging water to the river which is over 1.8km is an up hill task that may not be possible due to very limited fund to meet unlimited needs of Delta State.
We must continue to appreciate the Governor for ensuring that the execution of the project continued even with the COVID-19 Pandemic that caused a downward review of the State budget.
Furthermore, let us all continue to pray for Our Governor, his entire family and all Deltans that have tested positive to the COVID-19 that God in HIS infinite Mercy and Grace will heal them quickly.
On behalf of Alihame Community and the entire Ihu-Iyase, I want wish my boss, His Excellency Senator Dr Arthur Ifeanyichukwu Okowa a very happy birthday while reminding us all to continue to adhere to the NCDC health guidelines and protocol to keep safe. A healthy Community will be a prosperous Community.
—Hon Fred Ofume
Executive Assistant to the Executive Governor of Delta State, on Environment.