By Ifeanyi Olannye
Asaba -Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said that the 60 years journey since independence has not been easy for Nigeria, as he called for peace and unity to spur development in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Deltans defied the rain, trooping out in droves to mark the independence on Thursday in Asaba.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, said that no nation attains greatness in an atmosphere of agitation, terrorism and insurgency but through peace and dialogue.
“In spite of our numerous achievements, the journey to nationhood has not been smooth. We have had our share of economic and political drawbacks as a developing nation,” he said.
Okowa said the people must work together in unity and stand against insurgency, banditry and terrorism, which he said have never solved any problem. He said dialogue and peace lead to development of any society.
“We must thank our men and women, who have continued to stand up against insurgency, banditry and terrorism in the country.
“This makes the theme of the celebration,”Together at 60″ appropriate. I, therefore, urge all Nigerians, especially our youth to lay down their arms and build peace in the nation”.
He said that the country needs peace at all levels of government for nation building, adding that in unity and togetherness, the country could build the needed energy to propel it to a productive nation.
He said that his administration made a promise to build prosperity for all at its inception in 2015, adding that it created a jobs creation office and had over the period empowered youth and women through skills acquisition among others.
The governor said that over 7,000 persons had vocational training and agriculture through the jobs creation scheme.
“This triggered off economic growth, social inclusion which led to many becoming entrepreneurs as well as employers of labour in the state,” he said.
He said that in order to connect communities, check devastating effect of flooding in the state capital and Warri and its environs, government had constructed more than 350 roads across the state and built storm water drainages.
“We have awarded contracts worth about N3 billion for the construction of storm water project in Warri, Uwvie and environs to check flooding in the area,” he said.
Okowa noted that over a five-year period, the state government had rehabilitated 63 secondary and 110 primary health facilities across the state.
He said that with the establishment of the contributory health insurance scheme in the state, government had been responsible for the payment of premium to widows, vulnerable and pregnant women and the aged so far captured in the scheme.
According to him, over 702,000 persons have enrolled into the health insurance scheme in the state.
He warmed that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was far from being over and that people must continue to observe all the protocols as stated by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
NAN also reports that the occasion featured a match past by the security agents, paramilitary organisations, various groups and women.
The high point of the event was the cutting of the independence cake.