Residents of the oil city of Warri, Delta State have reasons to look forward with great expectation, to the second term in office of the governor, Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, which begins May 29, 2019. The harbinger of hope is the Warri/Uvwie and Environs Special Area Development Agency Bill, recently passed by the state House of Assembly and signed into law Thursday by the governor. The Law is one of the six that came into effect same day following the governor’s assent to the various bills presented to him by the Speaker of the House, Sheriff Oborevwori, accompanied by other principal officers of the House.
These were the Bills to provide for the establishment of the Delta State Urban Water Corporation, Small Town Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, and the State Water Sector Regulatory Commission. Others were the Bill to Regulate the Registration, Establishment, Operations, Conduct, Monitoring and Inspection of Private Health Care Facilities in Delta State and other matters incidental thereto; Bill to Amend Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency; Bill to provide for the Audit of Public Accounts of the State Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Local Governments and other Matters Connected therewith; and the Bill to Establish the Customary Courts and to provide for the Composition and Appointment of Chairman and Members, Structure and Administration, Jurisdiction and other Matters Connected thereto.
In his remarks after signing the bills into law, the governor explained that the Warri/Uvie and Environs Development Agency Law was initiated following the successes recorded with the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, stressing that “it was borne out of the positive impact we have made in the development of the state capital using the Capital Territory Development Agency. Recalling that in 2015, the government saw the need for a special agency to handle the development of the capital territory, Okowa stated that “three years after, we have seen the positive impact this has made in Asaba and its environs”. Warri, the commercial capital of Delta State, had progressively witnessed infrastructure decay and neglect, especially since major multinational oil companies and oil-servicing companies relocated their head offices to Lagos and Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The underutilization of the Warri Ports also contributed to the lack of both the federal and state governments to accord the ancient city its deserved attention as a commercial hub.
But the governor seems poised to change the narrative. He assured that “from the beginning of my second tenure, we will pay special attention to the development of Warri, Uvwie, and environs as I promised the people”, positing that the agency would not only ensure the maintenance of existing infrastructure, but also the improvement of general infrastructure in the area.
Asserting that building a virile state that would be the pride of all should be the collective responsibility of all Deltans, Okowa commended the Delta State House of Assembly for being great partners in his administration’s efforts to develop the state. Analyzing the significance of the bills that were signed into law, the governor commended members of the House “for spending time to do your job thoroughly” adding that “you have done a lot to impact on our people, and we will continue to need the cooperation of the House of Assembly to develop our state”. According to the governor, as both arms of government work and partner with the rest of the state and the Judiciary, “we have cause to smile as we build the Delta of our dreams, a stronger Delta State”.
Presenting the bills to the governor, Oborevwori praised the Okowa administration for working for the interest of the people of the state, disclosing that the bills passed through all the processes required in making laws.