Posted by Grand News | 3 October 2017 | 986 times
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR DR. IFEANYI ARTHUR OKOWA, THE
GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, AT NIGERIA’S 57TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY
CELEBRATION, AT THE CENOTAPH, ON SUNDAY, 01 OCTOBER, 2017
Today, we are gathered to celebrate this great national event, the
57th independence anniversary of our dear country. It is the day we
got freedom from British colonial rule. The freedom did not come on a
platter. It was a product of sustained struggle by the founding
fathers of this great country.
Let us once again, salute those people who fought for the
independence of our country by rededicating ourselves to the service
of this great nation. In the last 57 years, our country has made
reasonable strides in all fields: technology, education, sports,
finance and various other fields, which were almost impossible before
our sovereign freedom.
This day also reminds us not only of our freedom from colonial
rule but it affords us opportunity to make a critical analysis of
our progress so far and to reinvigorate us to tackle new and unfolding
challenges by drawing lessons from both our strengths and weaknesses
including recognizing opportunities and threats. I therefore join
other Nigerians to rejoice with the President and Commander-in-Chief
of the armed forces of the Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on
this 57th anniversary of our dear nation’s independence.
The pride of belonging to an independent country where sovereign
power of deciding our destiny rests with us, imposes a huge
responsibility on us. We, particularly the elites in this society,
indeed have extra responsibility to dedicate our services and lives to
the progress of the nation for we shall be failing in our
responsibilities as citizens and leaders of an independent nation, if
we do not devote ourselves to the service of this country, with our
As we celebrate, there is no doubt that we are weighed down by
the economic challenges in our dear country. The recent announcement
by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, of positive GDP growth in the
second quarter of this year, is a silver lining in the sky, signaling
the end of the longest recession in our nation’s history. I know how
difficult things are and how tough life has become and it will take a
while for the impact of the end of the recession to be felt in our
households but I remain optimistic. I am also conscious of the fact
that our people are making necessary sacrifices to cope with present
challenges. By the special grace of God, such sacrifices will not be
Let me also assure all Deltans that I feel your pains and I am
doing everything under the current challenging circumstances, to bring
succour to you, my dear people. I
remain committed to ensuring prosperity for all and we have reformed
governance processes to ensure greater transparency and prudence in
the application of our resources. As a State, we remain undeterred by
the present circumstances as we are working hard to build solid
structures on which our people will stand to cultivate and harvest
good fortunes for their benefits and those of the State.
The focus of this administration has been on job creation and
youth empowerment. That is why we embarked on the re- construction of
the State-owned technical colleges in Agbor, Ofagbe and Sapele. This
was in furtherance of government’s desire to promote technical and
vocational education, which is at the core of our educational policy
and the enhancement of human capital.
This was followed by our empowerment programmes of youths
training under the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme
(STEP) with provisions to support them to start their own businesses.
Another group of youths was trained under the Youth Agricultural
Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP). We also introduced Graduate
Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP), designed to cater for
unemployed graduates. In the last two years, 42, 000 new jobs has
been tracked as directly created from our government’s programmes and
projects. This, of course, excludes private sector jobs created
through investments arising from the conducive environment that we
have created. However, we will not rest on oars as we intensify
efforts to expand opportunities.
As part of the faithful implementation of our SMART agenda,
this government has completed the construction/rehabilitation of
fifty-five critical inter and intra-city road projects, including
concrete-lined drains, while others are at various levels of
completion. In the health sector, this government is focused on
development of hospitals and primary healthcare centres, including the
procurement of drugs and cutting edge medical equipment in major
healthcare facilities in the three senatorial districts. The robust
foundation for our comprehensive healthcare delivery is hinged on the
State’s health insurance programme, which is aimed at providing
universal healthcare coverage for our people. Government is also
paying attention to the teaching hospital at Oghara while the central
hospital here at Asaba, is near completion.
This administration is working tenaciously to end the perennial
flooding of the State capital and other key towns and cities across
the State. While work is on-going to ensure storm water control in
Asaba, a comprehensive drainage master plan for the territory is
nearing completion. We are indeed determined to reduce the impact of
flooding in our cities.
Let me use this opportunity to once again commend our gallant men
of the Armed Forces and Police for their commitment to bringing peace
and security including maintaining unity and territorial integrity of
the country, especially in the north eastern parts of the country. We
should also spare thoughts for our men and women on the frontlines,
including their dependants and those of the officers and men who paid
the supreme price in the service of our dear country.
I also commend the noble role of religious organizations,
traditional rulers, the media, civil society groups and a cross
section of well-meaning citizens for the immense contributions they
have continued to make to jealously guard democratic institutions in
our country. Their incisive criticisms and counsel have helped to
stabilise the polity and stay the hands of those who would have either
abused or exploited the unfettered freedom that democracy affords
citizens of every country that subscribes to it.
I must specially salute and commend all Deltans for their
patience, steadfastness and perseverance under the present economic
difficulties. I urge you to remain resilient. We should not be
consumed by our petty differences; rather, we should be united by our
common humanity, because we are stronger together. No part of the
State is more special than the other. Together, we can make progress
with our collective effort and work towards the Delta State where we
should all be proud to belong.
Thank you and may God bless our dear State and country.
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