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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has expressed concern over the unsatisfactory pace of work on the Asaba International Airport being put in by the contractor handling the project, ULO Consultants.
The Governor expressed the concern this morning,Monday, December 18,2017, at the quarterly Media Interaction with journalists at the Press Centre, Government House, Asaba.
Explaining that the state is far bigger than any individual,he said the work pace of the contractor is very slow. “Even when we have mobilised him.We went to the bank,took loans,and we did 50 percent mobilisation,and the contract was supposed to be completed in four months,and it is two years and one month now,” Governor Okowa said.
He announced with relief that the contractor has accepted towithdraw from continuing with the project, saying; “We have accepted the withrawal of ULO Consultans from the airport contract project,and it will be re-awarded to another conractor.”
Okowa said ULO Consultants will meet with the relevant officials of the state government for the purpose of “looking into who owes who,and I am sure that the state is being owed.”
The Governor revealed that the original contract sum for the part of the airport project that was awarded by the past administration,and which was tobe done in four months was N5.1 billion, out of which the contractor was mobilised with the sumof N2.1 billion in October 2015.
Governor Okowa also said he was not to happyalso with the pace of work of the contractor handling the workin the state’s General Hospital, Asaba. But as he tried tofind out from the commissioner for health,Dr.Azinge who told him that the contractor has now mobilised to site,the Governor said he wasglad tohear that.
Answering a Reporter’s question, the Governor said the Marcopolo buses parked in the Cenotaph premises are not in good shape,pointing out that some of them have been approved by the State Executive Council for sale as unserviceable vehicles. He said even at that, the process for sale of the buses is long and cumbersome.
Alsoanswering another question on the Aladja-Ogbe-Ijoh communalclashes, Governor Okowa debunkedinsinuations that he was supporting one group against the other, saying that the imbroglio that has spanned over twodecades requires carefulhandling.
He said: “I have received a lot of insults on this. But I want togvet to the root cause,so that a good decision for the resolution of the crisis can be taken.This clash has been on forabout two decades. It’s been a very,very problematic thing tohandle.”
He confirmed that the white paper of the crisis is ready and would be looked intoat the next meeting of the state executive council .
However, the governor disclosed that the challenge in the Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis is with the disorderly attitude of the youths. “The youths are the challeneg we have in resolving the crisis/The elders are reasonable ,but the youths are not being reasonable. I would be glad that the white paper would be able to help us reach amicable resolution of the problems.”
He explainedthat part of the problem and difficulty is that because the Secrtary to the state Government,Mr. Ovie Agas is Urhobo, he is accused by the other group of taken sides,andwhile the other side also is accusing the Deputy Governor,Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, an Ijaw of taking sides against it. “We are not taking side with any group, Okowa said.