Concrete facts have emerged on the achievements of the Delta State Government that made it possible for the state to be placed on the 2nd position behind Lagos State among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), in partnership with Ford Foundation and Tony Elumelu Foundation, recently released the Sub-National Index Overall State Ranking for 2017 which saw Delta closely occupying the 2nd slot on the table behind Lagos State.
Addressing a press conference in Asaba on Tuesday at the Ministry of Information conference hall, the state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr. Kingsley Emu, disclosed that four critical parameters were used by the independent body to arrive at its final decision.
He revealed that Delta State placed tops on Human Capital Overall Ranking (Education, Health, Migration and Gender Equality), 5th on Infrastructure Overall Ranking (Roads, Electricity, Airport, Telecom, Waste and Water), 23rd on Economy Overall Ranking (Access to Finance, State Finances, Business Sophistication and Tax), and 7th on Institution Overall Ranking (Security, Transparency, Justice, Corruption and Permits).
The Economic Planning Commissioner, who was accompanied by his Information counterpart, Mr. Patrick Ukah, stated that a total contract sum of N170,412,772,742.90 has so far been awarded by the state government on the construction of 149 roads of 764.39 kilometres and 225.59 kilometres of drains.
Dr. Emu stated that N37,637,333,366.09 is for 49 roads of 252.12 kilometres and 55.31 kilometres of drains in Delta Central, N51,458,906,454.84 for 65 roads of 325.43 kilometres and 126.02 kilometres of drains in Delta North, and N81,316,532,921.97 for 35 roads totaling 186.84 kilometres and 44.26 kilometres of drains in Delta South.
He specifically said that a total of 67.58 kilometres of roads and 34.43 kilometres of drains are currently ongoing in the riverine areas of the state with a view to linking the dwellers there with people living upland for both economic and social integration.
Some of them are the Trans Warri- Ode-Itsekiri Access Roads Phase 1: Section 1 Ubeji to Ode-Itsekiri Roundabout with Spurs to Ijala Ugbodede, Orugbo and Ajigba – Inorin – Usele Communities and Section 11(iii) Ode-Itsekiri Internal Roads, construction of Oporoza Palace Road in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area and the construction of Burutu Township Roads in Burutu Local Government Area.
Others are rehabilitation/widening of Access Road to Beneku community, Ndokwa East, main axial road in Okerenkoko, Warri South West, construction of internal roads in Ikpide-Irri community, Isoko South, construction of rigid concrete pavement at Obitobon-Elolo-Ajaokurogbo-Orubu Road, Ogidigben, Warri South West, construction of Okenrekoko township roads (Phase 11), Warri South West and the rehabilitation and asphalt overlay of the Obutobo1-Obutobo11-Sokebolou-Yokri road, Burutu Local Government Area.
Dr. Emu revealed that the state has a total of 1,121 public primary schools and 463 public secondary schools with a total population of 443,813 and 326,004 respectively, adding that the state also has 4882 students and 1,094 trainees in its 6 Technical Colleges and 4 Vocational Centres respectively.
He further said that so much work, in terms of physical structures such as new classrooms, renovation of existing ones and provision of furniture, are ongoing at a high scale as well as content issues.
The Economic Planning Commissioner noted with joy that what is outstanding is that all these are being done in a recession and at a time our resources as a state are at the lowest ebb arising from the Niger Delta crisis as evident in our rating on Economy within the time under review.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, in his contribution, attributed all the lofty achievements of the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led administration in the state to the prudent management of available resources by the Governor.
Mr. Ukah said that the ranking did not come to him as a surprise as Governor Okowa is determined more than ever before to take the state to greater heights in order to earn more recognitions from other reputable independent organisations across the country and beyond.