Warri—The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Iyorchia Ayu on Wednesday decried the poor living condition in the Niger Delta and called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address the challenge.
Ayu made the call while inaugurating the multi-billion Naira Ogheye Floating Market; Odokun Secondary School, 3-km pedestrian road linking Oboghoro to Ogheye-Dimigun.
Other projects inaugurated by the PDP chairman were a pedestrian bridge crossing Jorojoro creek to Ogheye-Dimigun, all in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ayu noted that the poverty rate in the Niger Delta region was on the rise describing the situation as bizarre, given the volume of wealth it bore and its huge contributions to the nation’s economy.
He said the people of the Niger Delta deserved a better deal for their sacrifices and contributions to the nation’s economic mainstay.
Ayu, however, lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for his outstanding development efforts in the state, especially in the construction of the modern market which would contribute immensely to the growth of commerce in the area.
The PDP Chairman said that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government had set the country backwards for over 50 years and urged Nigerians to support his party’s mission to rescue and rebuild the nation.
“I thank the people of Delta for the support you have given to us in our journey so far to recover and rebuild Nigeria.
“I am happy to come back to the state for the second time as National Chairman of our great party to inaugurate projects executed by Governor Okowa who, by the grace of God, will become our next Vice-President in a few months.
“I first took note of Okowa’s works as Governor when he built the best State Secretariat in the country and I remember telling him that the nation was taking note of his contributions to the development of his people.
“Some political parties will come to campaign to the people, make all manner of promises to deceive the people into voting for them but when they come into the office they don’t fulfil their promises and that’s criminal.
“But the PDP which I was a founding member was formed to work for the people and we are particularly proud of our governors who are hoisting the party’s flag high.
“I am happy that there is continuity in governance here in Delta and the three governors so far, have not disappointed the people of Delta,” he said.
Ayu said Okowa’s outstanding works and contributions to the party earned him the Vice-Presidential ticket.
He, however, described him as a brilliant and articulate man who had continued to offer greater services to the party and the country.
In his remarks, Gov. Okowa appreciated his predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan who conceived and started the construction of the market.
The project was later abandoned due to financial constraints and non-performance by the contractor.
“I was part of the initiative when I visited Warri North for the inauguration of projects at Oboghoro and Utonlila communities.
“I visited the market project and assured that we will take steps to re-award the contract,” he said.
Okowa urged the party hierarchy to support the development of the region, pointing out that “it costs so much to execute projects in the Niger Delta”.
Also, the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, commended the governor for ensuring the completion of the age-long market, adding that its completion would improve the growth of commerce in the area.
The king said that the area was known for its abundance of oil and gas but regretted that the people had not benefitted from the proceeds of the exploration of the resources.
“Building the market is commendable as commerce remained the best way to reposition Delta beyond oil and gas,” he said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Works (Rural and Riverine Projects), Mr Solomon Golley, said that the Ogheye Floating Market was built at the mouth of the Benin River.
“The market comprised a landing jetty, 96 open shops, 80 lock-up shops, a security tower, a gatehouse, a canteen, an administrative building, banking hall.
“It also contained a fish processing unit, warehouse building, toilet facilities and a protective fence on the platform,” Golley said.