New Telegraph

Construction of Flyovers, Road Expansion, Pedestrian Bridges Bringing New Lease of Life to Deltans

Since the emergence of the Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori in the saddle of leadership in the state, there has been a turn in approach to governance and efforts towards bringing new lease of life to the economy of the state with massive construction of flyovers, pedestrian bridges, expansion of road networks, among others, DOMINIC ADEWOLE reports

Asaba Preamble

Upon assumption of office on May 29, 2023, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori assured the people of Delta State that his administration would embark on mega infrastructure developments across the three senatorial districts of Delta Central, North and South. To match his words with action, the construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, was contracted for the first time in the state to handle major road projects of over N78 billion.

This, according to many of the people of the state and watchers of the governor, is a remarkable development, as the governor hit the ground running from day one in office, thus beginning the long and difficult road of etching his name on gold. Given that the people expect nothing less than good governance and the dividends of democracy from him based on the instrumentality of his four-pronged M.O.R.E Agenda of “Advancing Delta” in a unique way.

Scope of work

Julius Berger is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the three flyovers, namely; Delta Steel Company (DSC) Roundabout; Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Junction; and Enerhen Junction up to Marine Gate, as well as the Effurun Junction-pedestrian and road expansion projects, assigned it, are delivered to specifications and in record time.

Already, the giant construction company has cordoned off the various project sites, with earth-moving equipment, doing what they know how to do best by constructing durable and high quality road network in the three major locations and Effurun junction, which cut across Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial Districts, to provide alternate route for motorists, while the major construction work last.

Reasons for mega projects

These projects are essential and timely for the revamping of commercial and business activities in the state, particularly for the restoration of Warri status as the commercial and social nerve centre of Delta State. The governor is totally committed to this as has promised to do the needful to showcase Delta as one of the major commercial hub in Nigeria, and by extension, Africa.

“It follows that the mega flyovers, road expansion projects and pedestrian bridges at DSC Roundabout, PTI junction, Effurun Roundabout and Enerhen junction up to Marine Gate, shall upon completion, boost commercial activities, solve traffic gridlocks in those areas, create additional jobs due to foreseeable influx of local and foreign investors, as well as encourage multinational oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the state”, so disclosed the Commissioner for Works (Rural and Riverine), Mr Charles Aniagwu.

Restoring past glory of Warri

For the governor, there is much to gain by the ongoing project as many could see it as some sense of pride for him. However, the governor has never hidden is desire in restoring the past glory of Warri, which in the local parlance is known as Waffi. What this implies is making Warri once again play as one of the major thriving socio-economic cities on Nigeria.

Another undermining factor in all of these for the governor, is the strong desire of his to do the needful to encourage the multinational oil companies that have in years past relocated their operational headquarters from Warri, to return to the Oil City again.

Also, the administration is investing heavily in infrastructure in the district to ensure peace building and that the security architecture of the state is well cemented to earn investors’ confidence. The governor, on May 29, 2023, categorically declared to the people that Warri will receive the much needed attention. He said Warri remains the heartland of Delta State. This he recently explained to Olu of Warri, who visited him when he said to him that, “People talk about Warri-Warri. Warri today has expanded beyond the main town. Even today, people call Osubi axis, Warri. I don’t know why people want to make trouble. Warri today is a general name for the oil city.

I am from Osubi but when you ask me where I am from, I will tell you Warri. So, Warri is our general identity, and nobody can change it.” Besides the frustrating gridlock in the aforementioned areas, two flyovers have earlier been constructed in Asaba, the state capital, one by former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, popularly known as Ekumeku Roundabout, but nicknamed Inter-Bau Roundabout. The other one was built by the immediate past administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa across the popular Koka Junction, which cuts across the Asaba Onitsha Expressway.

It was a massive inter-change flyover. Complementing the governor’s assertion, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Orientation and Communications, Dr Fred Latimore, said, “It was the assurance of the Governor that Warri and environ, which is the commercial nerve of Delta State would receive the needed attention in terms of infrastructure development to boost commercial activities that would restore the flourishing multifaceted commercial transactions that hitherto cut across oil and gas, small and medium enterprises, tourism, sports, et al.”

Challenges confronting

Warri Challenges to attaining his dream for the oil rich city, as lamented by the governor include the fact that, “We also have challenge with the drains in that area; as we speak, Phase 1 of the storm drainage has been completed by Levant. Phase 2 is about 90 per cent completed, and the last, which is the Phase 3 will soon be completed.

‘‘Without the storm drainage, if you construct any road in Warri, it will wash away. I want to assure you (Olu of Warri) that Warri will have a positive new face in Jesus name.” He cautioned trouble-makers over the controversy surrounding an attempt to rename some parts of Warri. To this effect, N15.7bn was approved for the construction of Phase 3 of the flood control measures at Warri/Effurun and environs in Warri South and Uvwie Local Government Areas of the state.

Warri Township Stadium

Sports and recreation reform is also on the infrastructure plate of the governor as he spoke about reviving the now comatose Warri Township Stadium that was once a famed ground for hosting sporting and recreational events. He assured that the stadium will soon be regained its top spot, saying, “Very soon, the master plan for the reconstruction of Warri Township Stadium will be ready.

The stadium is long overdue for attention. “My plan is to upgrade it to a world class sports facility to host national and international sport events, so as to further project Warri as one of the major sports hubs in Africa. “We are already working on a befitting stadium for Warri. As we speak, they are doing the design of the stadium because I don’t want a situation where we construct and after a few years, it will start having problems.”

The Politics

In governance, politics is a major mix that comes to play regardless of the party in power. This is because the opposition at all times periscopes the activities of the government and the intention behind every policy and project. Given this, the President of the Vanguard For Transparent Leadership And Democracy (VATLAD), Engineer Emmanuel Igbini, is not comfortable with the dust being raised by the opposition, All progressives Congress (APC) in the state, which has raised questions concerning the projects especially with the budget for the projects.

Igbini completely disagreed with the APC, which has alleged that Oborevwori has inflated the cost of construction of the three flyovers to the tune of N50 billion, and that the project is a ruse and a conduit pipe to fleece Deltans of over N78 billion. He said the allegations by the APC was, “misplaced and politics taken too far”. Igbini, was a former Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and the erstwhile Director-general of the Delta State Direct Labour Agency (DLA) during former Governor Uduaghan’s administration.

He said the APC had no cogent reason to accuse the governor of fraud in the award of the laudable projects meant to bring back life to the twin cities of Effurun and Warri. He said, “I carefully read the comparison made by the Delta State APC, between these projects by Governor Oborovweri and some projects embarked upon by governors Zulum, Wike, Sanwo-Olu and Ben Ayade, with which Delta State APC tried to reinforced its claim that the about seventy-eight billion naira (N78b) approved for these projects by Governor Oborovweri is to defraud Deltans of fifty billion naira (N50b) through Julius Berger Construction Company.

“While I commend the Delta State APC for reacting to the amount approved for these projects in order to ensure that there is accountability and justification for money spent by Governor Oborovweri, I am, however, unable to see any cogent and verifiable proof from the Delta State APC to buttress these serious allegations of fraud it made against Governor Oborovweri. Igbini further noted, “From my knowledge as an Engineer and with my experience in construction of roads, flyovers, bridges and other related road projects, only detailed and careful analysis of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) approved for such projects marched with the actual site evaluation for the projects, can tell whether or not there is any element of inflation of cost or attempt to defraud citizens.

Sadly, the APC did not make any reference to the approved BEME for these projects. “Secondly, all projects are not exactly the same and therefore not expected to cost the same amount. There are variations even though within similar environment like Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states of the South-South geo-political Zone, there should not be wide variations among these states particularly if the projects are handled by the same company, in this case, Julius Berger. ‘‘Here again, the Delta State APC did not tell Deltans what it cost former Governor Wike and Governor of Akwa-Ibom to construct exactly or similar projects by the same Julius Berger Company.

“Thirdly, the Delta State APC did not show any evidence of how Governor Sheriff Oborovweri had planned to use an internationally reputable company like Julius Berger Company to defraud Deltans of a huge sum of money to the tune of fifty billion naira. ‘‘This is a very serious allegation with very serious implication not only for Governor Oborovweri but for the corporate image and integrity of Julius Berger Company that Delta State APC is under strict obligation to prove beyond reasonable doubt otherwise it stands to lose it credibility before the people of Delta State.

“Fourthly, the Delta State APC did not make any attempt to first commend Governor Oborovweri for breaking what had appeared to be a jinx in Delta State Government where no previous Delta State governor ever contracted Julius Berger to construct roads, drainages, bridges and flyovers in Delta State.

‘‘It is a fact known to Delta State APC that even when majority of its leaders were still chieftains and top government appointees of Delta State under PDP Deltans were consistently demanding that Julius Berger Company be awarded contracts to construct major and critical roads, bridges, drains and flyovers rather than awarding contracts for such mega projects to some very incompetent and ill-equipped local contractors who end up executing shoddy jobs that lead to collapse of such projects few months or few years after their claimed completion or in some cases, are left uncompleted and abandoned.”

He explained further, “It is an inconvertible fact known to Delta State APC that the dual carriage road from PTI Junction to NPA, Warri, being a trunk A Road under an APC-led federal government has been a death trap to Deltans and Nigerians using it daily because of many failed sections on this stretch of about few kilometers. “I would have expected that the Delta State APC exploits its access to President Buhari and now President Tinubu and the former and current Minister of Works, to demand as matter of urgent public importance, that this very critical road be rehabilitated and regularly maintained.

“I hold so honestly as a major stakeholder in affairs and governance of Delta State, that the only intention of the Delta State chapter of APC to issuing its press statement and making the serious allegations that it made with no cogent and variable proof, against Governor Oborovweri is to discredit the laudable effort by the governor which vast majority of people of Delta State have been celebrating and thanking the governor for.

“This condemnation and allegations are also misplaced and politics taken too far in the retrogressive direction. Our good people of Delta State particularly those from the Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial Districts that produce the oil wealth of Delta State have suffered for decades because of lack of mega projects of these international standard to be constructed by Julius Berger.

‘‘I had expected the leaders of Delta State APC to be physically present at the venue of the flag-off ceremony yesterday to encourage and support Governor Oborevwori to do much more for the overriding interest of all Deltans irrespective of our political affiliations. “I must remind us all, that political campaigns are over and election is also over. It is now time for Good Governance for the benefit of our good people of Delta State. We all therefore have moral and constitutional duties under section 24 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, to make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and wellbeing of our beloved Delta State.’’

Job creation/commerce

For the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Billy Egbe, who was on working visit to the construction sites, and his counterpart in Print Media, Mr Nelson Eguare, “The ongoing construction work by the state government is already providing thousands of jobs, both skilled and unskilled labour. It is gradually creating wealth for sub-contractors, suppliers, food vendors, consultants, artisans and traders at the construction sites and its environ.”

Expectation

It is expected that people living around the construction sites and the general public should help to protect Julius Berger equipment, give the construction engineers and the entire workforce the needed cooperation to deliver the projects on time. “This is our collective responsibility as patriotic Deltans,” Latimore said.

Read Previous

How Firm Withheld FG N32bn Meter Fund For 20 Years – Adelabu

Read Next

Hardship: Shettima Assures Of Abundant, Says ‘Posterity Will Be Kind To Tinubu’