Resolution of crisis in the oil producing communities
Recall that when he assumed office, there was serious crisis in the riverine and oil producing communities in the state over lack of development despite producing the nations oil resources that accounts for sizable percent of the total revenue available to government at all levels in the country.
He identified infrastructural transformation and youth empowerment as panacea for hostilities in coastal communities in the state. He saw that the provision of basic amenities like roads, bridges and other infrastructure stemmed incessant hostilities in the riverside communities of Delta and so had to set up a peace advocacy committee headed by the Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro to engage the people assuring them of his administration’s resolve to better their lots. As the Otuaro Committee set out to work and eventually secured peace in the state, he braved the odds by embarking on projects with direct bearing on the lives of the people.
He provided good governance; rapid rural development; traders and youth empowerments; worked harmoniously with his Deputy Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro to ensure peace and harmony among the political class and critical support for security agencies, among others, and has indeed kept faith with his campaign promises to the people of Delta State.
Speaking recently to TVC, Governor Okowa said that what the coastal communities lacked previously was infrastructural development, and that his administration took the bull by-the-horn by embarking on projects like bridges, roads, schools, health centers, among others which had direct impact on the lives of citizens. He assured that more of such projects would be done within the limit of funds available to the state government for development.
“We have been in good communication with our people; we engage all stakeholders and ensure that they understand the need for us to give peace a chance. As at today, a lot of our youths have been engaged in intelligence work and in other aspects of governance and a lot of them are also being trained.
“They are beginning to see a lot of things in the proper direction and they are happy about it. Secondly, we have done a lot of construction of infrastructure in the various riverside areas which has enabled them to buy into the programmes of peace that we have. A lot of roads have been constructed in various areas – Okerenkoko, Oporoza, Ogulaha, and these are all oil-producing communities, including Burutu. In Ogidigben, we are also doing road construction and these are things they never saw before, and because they saw development brought into their place they began to see the need to cooperate with government to ensure peace for more development to take place.
“The Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, led a stakeholders’ committee to engage the people and we also have the Advisory Committee of the state made up of very prominent members in the state, they all did a great job as opinion leaders engaging the people. We have engaged the traditional rulers and various youth formations and it is helping us quite a lot but very importantly, the people saw that it was possible to bring development to their area, hence saw no need to continue with disruption of oil facilities. The whole thing about hostility was going on before because the people felt neglected even when they were producing the oil. There is no neglect at the moment because they are seeing a lot of infrastructure,” he stated