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The deplorable state of Okpanam Road, Asaba, that has become a nightmare to residents and road users because of the acute flood problems created during the rains is an embarrassment to Delta state Government, Dr. Kingsley Emu, Commissioner for economic planning has said.
The commissioner made the statement while answering a Reporter’s question on October 23rd, 2017 during budget 2018 breakdown in Asaba.
At the Budget breakdown press briefing which also had the commissioner for finance, Olorogun David Edevbie and the commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah in attendance, Dr. Emu said: “The Okpanam Road project is an embarrassment to the Delta State Government.”
The Journalist had sort to know why the rehabilitation of the road seemed to have become difficult despite the amount of money earmarked for it, and asked the government officials to confirm speculations that the road was a conduit to pay for cases handled for the state government.
While debunking the claims, Olorogun Edevbie disclosed that the contract passed through due process and it was not done to favour certain individuals, disclosing that the contractor handling the project has been mobilized recently with N120 million, and is expected to go back to site.
“I am very sure that the contractor in charge of the Asaba/Okpanam road project is not acting as a front for government, the job was awarded because, the company has executed similar projects in other parts of the country; just few days ago, we mobilised him to go back to site and I am very confident that in the next few days, work will recommence on the project,” he said.
Olorogun Edevbie also said that the Delta State Government has 2, 203 political appointees with the sum of N382 million as salary while the state has 45, 000 civil servants that gulps N4.5 billion monthly as salary.
“I find it funny when some persons say that political appointees are more than civil servants in the state, we are running an open-door policy, the state has 2, 203 political appointees and 45, 000 civil servants, the number of public servants are not included,” the Commissioner said.
On the debt profile of the Delta State Government, Olorogun Edevbie said, “about N100 billion are owed contractors, though, no one is happy about the situation, His Excellency, Dr Okowa has approved that contractors, especially, those whose money are not much should be paid.”
He also answered questions concerning contractors whose jobs were terminated because of their incompetence, stating, “we are aware that it is not enough to determine a contract and re-award same to a more competent contractor; such contractor deserves to be prosecuted and blacklisted but, you know in Nigeria, people will always intervene when such happens; we must give the Governor Okowa’s administration credit for insisting that the right thing be done, if you are not competent as a contractor, the contract will be given to a more competent one and you know it takes a lot for certain decisions to be taken, this is my own personal opinion.”