Addressing stakeholders at the conference hall of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, during a fact-finding mission to Delta State on 16/01/17, Prof Osinbajo observed that it was unfortunate that despite the huge contribution of the Niger Delta to the development of the country, there was little to show for such.
The Vice President who on arrival, visited Gbaramatu Kingdom where he had a closed door meeting with His Royal Majesty, Oboro Gbaraun II Aketekpe, Agbadagba, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, also had a town hall meeting with the people of the Kingdom before inspecting the facilities at the Maritime University, Okerenkoko equally met with the Olu of Warri Kingdom, HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli I.
“No Nigerian can be proud with the state of development in the Niger Delta; we are all beneficiaries from resources from the region but, we cannot have instability and be able to carry out speedy development of the region,” the Vice President said.
He disclosed that President Mohammadu Buhari was committed to the development of the region, asserting that, “the issues at stake are very clear, this is not time for negotiation, it is time to act and we know the issues, we must all prepare for a future that will not be dependent in oil resources.
Speaking further, Prof. Osinbajoo said, “The Lagos-Calabar railway project is in the 2017 budget and when completed, it will benefit all the people of the Niger Delta. The Maritime University will come on stream and I can assure you that it is a done deal, we must do it; Ports are revenue generating, so plans are on to develop them, but the issue is how do we fund the projects?”
According to the Vice President, “The President is an honest man and my coming here for this programme is clear evidence that the Niger Delta is being carried along,” he assured, even as he urged all stakeholders to contribute to the stability of the region.
Earlier in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta,where Vice President Osinbajo and his entourage were received by the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oboro Gbaraun 11, Prof. Osinbajo said that the Federal Government alone could not solve all the problems in the region, even as he called for synergy among federal, state governments and civil society organizations to solve the numerous challenges in the Niger Delta region.
The Vice President, who stressed on the need that “We must prepare for the future” said this is the time to prepare for the future” and advised governors in the region to make sufficient provisions in their annual budgets for the development of the region, hinting that the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and other commissions set up by government, had not met their mandate.
In his own comments, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, who was on the entourage, said the visit would bring changes to the region.
Governor Okowa said, “I urge you to give peace a chance to bring development to our region,” he pleaded with Niger Delta youths.
Also speaking at the fact-finding visit by the Vice President, the Minister for State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachiku, assured that, while the Federal Government is poised to ensure the take off of the Maritime University, there were still numerous areas in the Niger Delta where untapped resources were in abundance and waiting to be tapped.
He re-affirmed his pledge to ensure that the development of the Niger Delta would be given greater and accelerated attention and hinted at the fact that there could still be more maritime based institutions, which could potentially be established in the Niger Delta region in the future.
“This visit is a confidence building visit, we will work with President Buhari,” he said.
On the entourage were, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Petroleum Minister (State), Senator James Manager, among others.
Prof Osinbajo also toured the site of the proposed Maritime University, and had a meeting with traditional rulers in the region and at all the places visited and at the conference centre, different ethnic nationalities, including youth organizations made presentations about what they expect from the Federal government.