Olorogun David Edevbie has assured the Ijaw nation of massive development of their communities as part of his agenda for the modernisation of Delta State.
Speaking to a section of Burutu PDP stakeholders in Warri, on Tuesday, the frontline gubernatorial aspirant said he is committed to effective connection of the riverine communities of the three Senatorial zones of Delta State with the upland areas to boost exchange in commerce and industry towards achieving massive scale employment generation and wealth creation to better the lot of Deltans.
The immediate past Chief of Staff to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and former Principal Secretary to President Umaru Yar’adua said his plans include the reactivation of the Burutu Port and the establishment of an institution of higher learning in Ijaw land.
“The riverine communities constitute over 50 percent of Delta State, but in 1999, they were essentially disconnected from the mainland. As Commissioner of Finance, I moved to address this problem by working hard to increase the revenue that accrues to the state. In 1999, the state’s budget was N6bn which increased to N60bn in four years. This provided the platform for constructing the Omadina Bridge, the Bomadi Bridge and Aboh Bridge, all of which I funded after fighting for the implementation of 13% derivation, which is now being enjoyed all over the Niger Delta.
“Since then, a lot has been achieved in opening up the riverine areas with roads and rural electrification, but more needs to be done.
“It is true that because of the terrain, construction is expensive, but the riverine communities provide a large part of the state revenue, so we must invest in the area.
“Some of the initiatives I have in mind include the reactivation of the Burutu Port to generate industrial and commercial activities as well as boost water transportation, employment and enterprise in the area.
“I know that the Ijaw are yearning for an institution of higher learning in their land. We shall look at the possibility of establishing a university, but, as a short-term measure, we can upgrade the existing School of Marine Technology in Burutu to a higher standard.”
Edevbie said with access now created into Ijaw land and various other riverine communities, he will ensure a network of interconnecting roads is implemented across the communities while also boosting water transportation to activate haulage and cargo services in the area.
“Some of the most beautiful cities in the world are in the riverine areas, and I see no reason why we cannot make our own the same.
“I have the knowledge and expertise to do so and, more importantly, raise the funding required,” he assured.
By Ebi Perekeme
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