OUR AGENDA OF REFORMS AND RENEWAL OF HOPE
INAUGURAL ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, DR. EMMANUEL EWETA UDUAGHAN, ON THE OCASSION OF HIS SWEARING-IN AS GOVERNOR FOR A SECOND TERM ON SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011, AT THE CENOTAPH, ASABA.
|DELTA STATE GOVERNOR, DR. EMMANUEL EWETA UDUAGHAN (RIGHT) WITH THE CHIEF JUDGE OF DELTA STATE, JUSTICE ABIODUN Z. SMITH, WHEN THE GOVERNOR TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE FOR A SECOND TENURE , AT THE CENOTAPH, ASABA.
I welcome you all to this historic event. Historic indeed, because we are here again so soon after I took oath of office early in the year.
I once joked that I was the guinea pig of the current electoral process. I said so for very good reasons.
As we know, I stand here today as the only Governor in Nigeria to have taken an oath of office three times, while serving. In January, I was here after the re-run elections.
I believe many of us expected the January 10th inauguration will run a full course of four years. It turned out not to be so. Instead, we were involved in another round of high pressure politics: We were involved in the hectic campaigns. We were involved in the anxiety during the voting; and we were involved in the long wait for results.
I believe that these unusual developments in Delta state serves in deepening our practice of democracy in our country.
Now as a people committed to democracy we went out yet again on the 26th of April to cast our votes. You returned my Deputy, Prof Amos Agbe Utuama, SAN and I to office. We are humbled by your continued support. I say a big thank you. Thank you for showing faith in us. Thank you for believing in our message. Thank you for believing in our vision for a greater Delta.
For me and I believe for most of the people in this state, election is not war; it is just a contest of ideas. Our victory, your victory, shows your acceptance of our ideas over that of others. In this regard, I do not see winners and losers in this contest. Instead, I see us as a people who have made a decision about our future. Therefore we are all winners.
My hope as we improve in the conduct of elections in our country is an improvement in our attitude and understanding of the rules of democracy. Imbibing the correct attitude of winning and losing is particularly important. It can’t and should not be otherwise.
Elections are over, the state must move forward. The time for partisan politics has passed. The time to unite and build the Delta State of our dream is NOW! A state where the future of our children born and unborn will be guaranteed.
To achieve this, I need your constant support, prayers, and above all God's infinite grace. Let us together create a new spirit of unity and trust in order to strengthen the democratic culture which we have collectively embraced. Our collective strength can compensate for our weaknesses. Our collective wisdom can help minimize mistakes.
In the period we have been in office, our vision has been to make things better: to reform Delta, to reform its governance, to reform its service delivery to the people now and in the future. Reforms are no easy undertakings, especially massive reforms, such as the ones we have been doing. Reform sometimes causes pain, reforms demands sacrifice, and reforms are risky and can have political consequences. But carried through with firmness and vision, it yields results. It brings better life for us and for our children.
When I took the oath of office in 2007, I asked myself; “Do I undertake reform or should I allow business as usual”. I chose reform. I knew the risk. I knew I wanted to see changes and development in the state, I knew things needed to change and be done differently.
But I also knew those used to business as usual were going to resist. I knew they were going to fight. They did fight. Most times very dirty.
I was however determined to press ahead.
When I assumed office four years ago, I was entrusted with a state that depended only on one source of revenue OIL.
A state that was the command centre of the big crisis arising from the Niger Delta agitation. Insecurity was rife. Kidnappings especially of expatriates were frequent. It drove away businesses. It frightened investors.
Our oil infrastructure was not spared. Pipelines were a particular target of attack. Our youths in the fore-front of this fight for justice, were determined to make the point that enough was enough.
It was a difficult period and we bore the pain of the crisis. Our oil revenue declined drastically and we suffered. We are only now trying to recover from the difficulties of that crisis.
The experience of that period reinforced our determination in keeping with our vision that we must change the economic structure of the state. That we must break away from our status as a mono-product economy – oil and build other sustainable sources of revenue.
We were determined to end the culture of governments that habitually failed to stimulate investments. That fails to provide mass employment for our youths. That fails to reduce poverty and give people hope in themselves and their future.
It was a tough call.
We crafted our vision: ‘Delta beyond oil’ anchored on our three point agenda of Peace and Security, Human Capital and Infrastructure Development.
An agenda of renewal of hope.
In the period we have been in office, we have toiled to deliver on our promise. Amidst the global meltdown, the financial and banking crisis, the drastic decline in our oil revenue, the ever increasing wage bills and cost of running government, we have worked tirelessly to secure the state.
We have worked to bring peace and stability; we have tried to touch the lives of the people, especially the poor. We are expanding our infrastructure to attract investments and diversify our economy.
We have touched the lives of the ordinary person in this state, especially the poor through one of the most liberal social programs.
As a government determined to uplift our people we initiated the direct employment of over fifteen thousand youths into various arms of government in the last four years to form the core of our human capital development agenda. An agenda that will ultimately affect lives from the day of conception, until the day of death at a ripe old age.
These our social programs include,
• Free maternal health care
• Free under-5 children healthcare services.
• Highly subsidized public transport schemes,
• Payment of all internal and external examination fees in primary and secondary schools
• Multiple bursary and scholarship schemes, including automatic post-graduate scholarships for our 1st Class students to study anywhere in the world
• Our Micro-credit program that has over 85,000 beneficiaries
• Our youth in agriculture program
• Farmers support program
• Our multiple viewing centres where our youths now have opportunity to collectively watch sporting activities
• Our sporting activities which have brought many laurels to the state, including winning the national sports festival in a landslide
As we begin our second tenure, we shall strengthen these programs by concentrating on support infrastructure, such as maternal and child health centres, more modern classrooms and more funding of the micro-credit scheme. In the four-six months we shall also be taking delivery of more and bigger buses and boats for the riverine transportation.
Beyond the issues of social programs, is the challenge of job creation, especially for our youths. Working very closely with the federal government and other stakeholders, we are determined to create jobs. Creating jobs require attracting investors. Requires massive investments in our state.
Investment! The lifeblood of any economy: Challenging to build or attract, especially in our system where government sometimes appear not to provide adequate guarantee and continuity to investors; however it is sweet when you get it. The Delta experience with this administration is a remarkable one.
Here is what I mean.
Our vision has always been to make Delta state the logistic hub of the South-south and the South east. For that to succeed we must build critical infrastructure that can support private investment.
We are building an international airport in Asaba. We are working on constructing another runway at Osubi airport.
We are undertaking massive dualisation of strategic roads; which will serve as a network grid to open up the state;
Though mainly a Federal government responsibility, we have invested over N15 billion of Naira in National Independent Power Program to ensure energy stability. We have also commenced our own Independent Power Plant.
We have successfully designated three major industrial clusters in different parts of Delta State that will serve as a tripod and engine of our economic prosperity.
• the Warri Industrial Business Park
• The Koko Export Free Zone
• the Asaba ICT Park
They have all generated great interest from businesses.
Think for a moment about our urbanization programme. Today we have street lights covering over 270 kilometres of our roads illuminating our towns and villages to make a difference. It has helped improved security and need I say, contributed in some measure to our people’s income especially traders who sell at night.
INVESTMENTS!!! YES INVESTMENTS!!!
Already we have taken giant steps in this regard.
This is what I mean.
As we develop these infrastructures, we are solidifying strategic alliance and partnerships to attract heavy investments into the state.
We are getting results. A legally binding MOU has been signed between the federal government represented by NNPC, Saudi Arabian and Indian investors for a 10 billion dollars Petrochemical plant, the largest in Africa on our economy, a fertilizer and fertilizer blending plants. The federal government has also approved feasibility studies for a gas central processing facilities Thankfully Mr. President is solidly behind the success of these projects.
Imagine for a second the impact of these projects;
Just picture for a second the required services, infrastructure, man power, auxiliary services. Even the life of the roadside trader will be touched.
This is not mere words.
With this alone, an estimated five hundred thousand jobs would be created alongside many support services and industries.
Imagine the effect of this on economy of our state in a few years time.
That is not all.
By being business friendly, we now have a 250 million dollar private sector investment for the Delta Leisure Resort project, which will have a theme park, a wild life park and five star hotel etc.
We are on the threshold of turning Delta into a tourist destination. Scheduled to finish in 2013, this project is going to generate about six thousand jobs. We are about to see before our eyes the birth of the largest tourist resort in West Africa. The support services and businesses that will grow from this project are incredible.
In future this state will be known for tourism. When you talk about ‘Delta beyond oil’, this is an example of it.
Delta deserves a place at the top of the ladder and we are determined to get there.
Delta OFN Ltd is already constructing a comprehensive integrated poultry complex at Ogwashi-Uku which is nearing completion.
A group of Chinese and Nigerian investors are taking over the Bendel Glass factory Ughelli.
What no one should overlook is that our investments in mega projects are beginning to send the right messages—that we mean business. Happily the response is great, today businesses see great opportunities in our state.
Trust me, the future is good.
Our outfit DESOAPDEC, put together to develop our otherwise neglected riverine oil bearing communities, not seen since oil was discovered over 50 years ago is giving our people hope.
Today, they have a sense of belonging, a different feel of government, of their future. The results may not be perfect, but it is a start, we are repositioning DESOPADEC for greater accountability and efficiency, and by this make bigger impact in future.
That is difference, unknown four years ago.
As a government, I am proud of our transformative effort within this period.
Let me also add that no project initiated by us will be abandoned. There will be no room for uncompleted projects.
Right now the job is only half done.
Fellow Deltans, in this job you have asked me to do, experience adds value: you know what works and what does not. You recognize mistakes and difficulties before they even arise.
That is why I am a safe pair of hands.
Today I am very confident we are on the road to greatness.
I am also conscious that the task ahead is enormous. To deliver on our promises and meet the high expectations of the people has never been a light undertaking in the past and is not going to be easy in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, I will put together a strong team of capable performers, who will be loyal and committed to the wellbeing of Deltans and the administration. I am going to demand absolute first rate performance. Nothing short of that will be accepted.
As I conclude this address, I want to express my profound appreciation to my party, the PDP for working very hard to win the election yet again. To all our party members, I say a big thank you for your tireless work and support for the success of the party. It is true we lost some grounds, but the future is so bright for PDP, this setback is only a blip if we remain steadfast and loyal in promoting the ideals of the party. To those who left, I say the door is still open, a new era beckons I promise you.
To INEC, I give you thumbs up for your neutrality and efficient conduct of the election. I can say without any fear of contradiction that the rerun election in Delta began the rebirth of public trust and confidence in the ability of the electoral umpire.
Delta INEC you are indeed a trail blazer.
I wish to remind us that as we take on the mantle of leadership today in Delta State, our son and brother, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is equally assuming office as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a people, we wish him a successful and remarkable tenure. The trumpets of duty beckon on all of us. Let us come together in unity to confront our challenges as one people.
To my dear wife, Roli, I owe a special debt of gratitude, for standing by me through thick and thin all these years. To my dear children, I love you both.
Finally, may the good Lord continue to bless Delta State and her people.
Once again, I thank you all.
Asaba, Delta state
Detailed Delta State Budget Estimates and Implementation:2012 2013
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