By FIDELIS EGUGBO
(On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa had his quarterly media briefing with members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council. Last Sunday, October 13, 2019, the first part of the feature story, “Okowa In The Eye Of The Media” which was as a result of the media chat was published on page 10 of The Pointer Newspaper. The concluding part of that piece as published on page 10 of The Pointer Newspaper of Sunday, October 20, 2019 is as follows. Happy reading:)
“As it concerns the storm drainage project, we have continued with it in a more limited way due to the rains. I know that due to the construction of the current storm drainage in Asaba that flood has been reduced because, it is scary when I see the volume of water that the drainage systems are collecting currently and I am grateful that the designs executed for these drainages are effective no matter how big the designs were.
The main drains that are required to convey the water out of Asaba and Okpanam is still ongoing, the other storm drainage projects – the first 3, are just about completed. We have awarded contracts for the other two and that is the one at the New Asaba Central Hospital and some other roads around there. We still have three other drainage projects that will ensure the complete control of flood in Asaba. Between now and the end of 2020 we will be concentrating on these other two projects that have awarded – one within the Okpanam sector extending to the Asaba sector. Before the end of the year, we shall commence with two critical phases in the Warri/Uvwie Storm Drain projects and we hope that this will bring a lot of relief to our people. We are also working hard to ensure that Okpanam road project is completed in the next dry season. The Commissioner for Works have been directed to ensure that the contractor completes that project, and I have been assured that the project will be completed on time.
There are new projects we will undertake; we are already working on things that we need to do to encourage the people to improve on the activities that will make families more comfortable. So, we are looking forward to building a Pleasure Park which will be on the Ugbolu/Asaba road and we are thinking of also putting up a film village to encourage our budding artistes as Asaba has become the hub for movie locations,” the governor said.
Naturally, after such briefing, Journalists took time to ask him questions on almost every sphere of life but, efforts by yours sincerely to ask few questions were not successful. It was not unusual bearing in mind the number of people who turned up for the media chat. I would have asked him if the governors whose states are at the bank of the River Niger have met to discuss permanent solution to the annual flood we have been recording since 2012.
In 2012, there was a catastrophic flood following the release of water from Lagdo dam, Cameroon. Many lives were lost, not to talk about economic activities that were crumbled. Till date, typical of our beloved country, no one has put in monetary terms what was lost as a result of that flood.
Since 2012, it has become a recurring decimal for states at the bank of the River Niger to prepare for flood as a result of the release of water from the Lagdo dam but, the question is, who is really benefitting from this unfortunate situation? Is there no permanent solution? If the Lagdo dam because of age can no longer sustain the volume of water that passes through it, is there nothing that both the Cameroonian and Nigerian governments can do?
Imagine the pains the people who lives by the river bank goes through annually, the inconveniences, the fear of the unknown. We are aware that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration has taken proactive steps to ensure that those affected by the flood are well catered for. There has also, been enough advocacy for those in flood-prone areas to relocate but, what they will need most is, permanent solution to the annual threat.
Assuming that Nigeria has diplomatic row with Cameroon and Cameroonian authorities decide to release water at once from their dam, that means, from Adamawa to Delta, Nigeria will witness huge humanitarian crisis.
I hope to ask that question some day and also, find out if the governor will rehabilitate the dilapidated classroom blocks in the primary and secondary schools in Ugiliamai and also, construct the Ugiliamai/Ossissa road that he said would get deserved attention in one of his previously held media chats.
Certainly, Journalism is a profession that we are proud of and we should use it to make the society better rather than cause disaffection among the people. For those who are with their android phones, we are aware that you are already communicating to a large audience, your followers but, please, google and learn the five Ws and H, it will help you in the act of carrying on with your trade.
Also, know that there is something called libel and defamation because, the desire of all is to have mutual respect for one another; once someone’s image is tarnished, rejoinder or apology may not rebuild reputation earned over the years.