At the creation of Delta State from the old Bendel State in the year 1990, a lot of people had thought that Warri would be made the capital of the State. This is because before that time, Warri had already made its mark as not only the economic nerve of the State but also emblematic of the general Delta brand. That is why till date, all Deltans irrespective of where they come from, are usually referred to as “Warri boy or girl” whenever they are introduced outside the state.
Today, Warri has become a shadow of its old self. From insecurity occasioned by the activities of armed robbers, kidnappers and other hoodlums, to total collapse of basic infrastructures, Warri the once famous Oil City that earlier boomed in commerce across all sectors, have been reduced to rubbles. Piteously, while Warri sank, successive governments at all levels did too little to save its dying soul. The ethnic crisis that engulfed the city in the year 1997, has till date left the place in incurable wreckage. The oil companies that once boosted the economy of the place have since found solace in the Garden City of Port Harcourt while Warri Refinery is at present a shadow of itself. The steel Company in Aladja and the seaport are today mere object of empty campaign promises by those seeking political offices at the federal level. This is that pathetic state Warri has found itself.
However, the story is about to change as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has risen to the occasion. Just yesterday, the State House of Assembly saw through a Bill for the establishment of the Warri/Uvwie And Environs Development Agency. The Bill which was introduced last tuesday by the erudite Majority Leader of the House and Member representing Isoko North Constituency, Hon. Tim Kome Owhefere KSC, Esq., seeks amongst others the setting-up of an interventionist agency with the sole responsibility of restoring the lost glory of the City. The Agency is expected to directly take charge of the infrastructural overhaul of the place, return it to a tourist destination and also assist in wooing back all the multinational companies that deserted the place due to insecurity.
In his thought-provoking presentation, Owhefere; an accomplished businessman, seasoned Parliamentarian, Journalist and Lawyer, argued that by virtue of natural design, all Deltans are citizens of Warri. He noted that Warri remains a pride to the state and that the task of restoring the city from its ruins is a duty for all true patriots. He argued that that an agency with a localized scope of operation devoid of the usual government bureaucratic bottleneck is all that is desired to revive the City. He said the development the agency will bring will spread to other communities in the area adding that the agency will open up smaller villages near Warri. “Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, apart from developing Warri as a city, the agency will also develop smaller communities close to Warri. That is the essence of the world ‘environ’ in the Bill. These communities will be developed and linked to Warri with the aim of creating a truly booming, flamboyant and propserous mega city” he said.
Knowing that the acceptance of the bill among members was unanimous, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chief Sheriff Oborivwori JP the bill was given accelerated passage. It is expected that the Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, will follow the same speed in assenting to this bill. When the stewardship of the sixth Assembly in Delta State is written, this bill will be recorded as one of the most people-oriented and commendable Legislation passed by this Assembly.
Palmer newspaper Editor, is the Special ýù (Media and Publicity) to the Majority Leader