…says FG yet to approve state’s request to rehabilitate road
By Nosa Àkeñzua
The government of Delta State has assured that action is being taken to reverse the condition of the Agbor-Abraka-Eku Road which has been of major concern to commuters on that axis.
The Executive Assistant to Governor Sheriff Oborevwori on New Media, Mr Felix Ofou, gave the assurance in an exclusive chat with DBS Television in Asaba on Sunday at which he explained that the problem is that not only has the Federal Government seemingly deliberately abandoned the road but has also continually denied the Delta State Government access to intervene.
He, however, expressed optimism that with Gov. Oborevwori’s engagement with the new administration of President Bola Tinubu and going by the body language of the new Minister of Works, David Umahi, a resolution would be achieved sooner than later for action to be taken on the road.
“The impression is being created that His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State, has abandoned the Agbor-Abraka-Eku Road but we want to put it in its true perspective. That road, as you know, is a Federal road. That means it is the Federal Government that has control over the road.
“That is not the only road owned by the Federal Government in Delta. They have parts of the East-West Road in the Delta. They have the Warri-Sapele-Benin Road and the Illah-Ebu Road. All these are Federal roads and, as you know, they have all been abandoned.
“For us as a government, we think that there is a policy, even though not spoken. The policy is that the APC which controls the federal apparatus is deliberately ignoring federal roads in PDP controlled states, particularly in the South-South, in attempt to make the governments and the Governors unpopular.
“You will recall that attempts were made by the previous administration (of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa) in Delta to work on those roads but the then Minister of Works openly said that the state should hands off the roads because they belong to the Federal Government.
“As at today, that position has not changed. Yes, we have a new Minister of Works but I cannot recall the Minister going to any of the bad spots we have identified to say something is being done. We have not seen contractors returning to those sites neither have we seen any report of award of contracts regarding the roads.
“As a government, we intermittently tried to provide palliatives on the roads because we know that our people are directly affected but, as of today, those roads belong to the Federal Government and they have not allowed the state government to go into them. That is the position of things.
“Of course, we sympathize with our people who are the ones using the roads on daily basis and, as a government, I know that His Excellency is doing all his best to interface with the Tinubu administration to see how we can have a change of face because if we leave the status quo, our people will suffer more. That is not what a government that is caring and want the benefit of the people would condone.
“It is expected that people will complain but we want to advise that, as much as possible, the complaints should be directed at the appropriate quarter, because the people involved seem insensitive and deliberate in their actions.
“We have seen roads done in other states by the Federal Government. Why is it that the Federal Government roads in Delta State and in the South-South are all abandoned and there is no attempt made to revamp them if there is no deliberate policy?”
Reflecting on Gov Oborevwori’s commitment to the provision of infrastructure across the state, Ofou noted that he has not only repeatedly assured that no project would be abandoned but has been practically seen to have intensified their completion while new projects have been initiated.
“I want to say that, like Deltans are already aware, Gov. Oborevwori inherited about 401 projects from the previous administration. None of those projects have been abandoned. He is handling those projects in addition to doing new ones.
“The truth of the matter is that the M.O.R.E. Agenda is an inclusive agenda and Deltans can rest assured that His Excellency means well and wants everyone to have a better life.
“Of course, the state government has capacity to work on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku Road but that is when the stalemate is resolved.
“Deltans should be assured that efforts are on. There is a new government and we expect that, from the body language of the Minister of Works, these things will change. But until it changes, you cannot go into another man’s property by force.
“In Edo State, the Governor, only last week, said he is working on alternative routes so that his people can have benefit. Even on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku we are talking about, the last administration tried to work on alternative routes and there are so many alternative routes for people to get to their destination without using that federal road. But we will definitely do everything possible to make sure that something is done and done quickly. Until that time, we are appealing to everyone to be calm while we do what we need to do as a government.”