Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has said the Delta State government has spent more than N2 billion as counterpart funding within his few months of being in office to enable the state access different funds for developmental programmes, even as he reeled off other major initiatives of his administration in the areas of human capital development and roads infrastructure.
Governor Okowa dropped the hint in his maiden interactive session with the media on 03/02/16, in Asaba, the first time he was meeting with the media, since he assumed office son May 29, 2015.
According to the Governor, “when we came on board, we met a backlog of partnership funds that we did not meet up with – we had the 2013 program which the state had not participated in, the 2014 and 2015 at the time we came in because we were not able to raise the counterpart fund, but, in the course of last year, we were able to raise about N2 billion (a billion naira each) for the 2013/2014 partnership fund and a lot of projects have been awarded for the development of our primary schools in the month of December.”
He stated that the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) would execute projects worth more than N4 billion because of the counterpart fund paid by the state to the education sector alone, disclosing that other counterpart funds were also being processed.
“UBEC will be spending about N4 billion in our schools and we are going to stay on course to ensure that things are done properly because, with that level of money coming into the system, we want a lot of schools to be rehabilitated and reconstructed and we want circulation of additional funds within the state which will help improve our economy,” he said, reiterating, “there is a lot of job being created for our youths who need to be engaged in the process.”
Governor Okowa flanked by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, the Commissioner for Information Patrick Ukah and the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Asaba Chapter, Comrade Norbert Chiazor, also disclosed that his administration has spent more than N2 billion on skill acquisition and farmers support programmes of his administration, noting that such venture has started yielding the desired results, even as he promised that starter packs will be provided for all who have attended the programme and have been duly certified by the organizers.
He also stated that his administration was committed to the construction of roads in the state, disclosing that while N1 billion have been released “for the purpose of construction of roads within the Ode-Itsekiri,” another N1 billion have been released to the contractor handling the Section A of the Ughelli/Asaba road project while the Direct Labour Agency has embarked on massive rehabilitation of roads in different parts of the state.
According to Governor Okowa, the decision to prioritize the Ode-Itsekiri axis was to give the ancestral homeland of the Itsekiris a sense dignity and pride and also hope that the move will encourage the people of Itsekiri to identify, embrace, operate and connect with their ancestral home more often.