Teachers’ Professional Development Centre, building under construction at Owa-Oyibu, Ika North East, Delta State.
By Chukwudi Abiandu
Asaba 2018, the 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editor that held in the elaborate and cosy Event Centre on Okpanam Road, Asaba, came to a beautiful end Saturday, October 13th, 2018, with a dinner and gala night that was full of excitement and relaxation
Earlier in the day, the Editors all filed out to visit projects sites and see some measures of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa strides dotted across the three senatorial districts of Delta North, Delta South and Delta Central. It was a hectic, laborious travelogue.
Certainly, it was not possible for all the Editors to visit all the sites together, but for ease of movement, convenience and simplicity, and to enable all the senatorial districts to be covered, they were divided into groups with vehicles designated to take the various groups to the different senatorial districts. While one group headed for the Central District comprising the Urhobo speaking areas, another headed for the Delta South covering the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko axis, and the other went to Delta North, covering the Anioma areas. There was yet another group that went round the project sites in the Asaba metropolis.
Each group was supported with a full complement of men of the security outfits including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and the police to provide security. Yours truly was in the group that went to the Anioma area of Delta North, and the first port of call for this group was the Delta Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (DARTA) at Ibusa for the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme (YAGEP), which has cluster fish farms for 27 youths.
Mrs. Felicia Awadima, who manages the cluster farm, told the visitors that each of the 27 youths has three tarpaulin tanks for the breeding of catfish. “They are trained and set up. Government is seeing them through till they are able to become independent and make their own money,” Mrs. Awadima said.
The cluster fish farm has a total of 81 fish tanks, which the manager described as a good project, and favourable for the youths in the state.
One of the youths, Mr. Edafienene Obuokowho, who introduced himself as YAGEPreneur co-ordinator said: “The project has helped me as a human being. It has changed my thinking towards agriculture, and that agriculture is a way of life as it makes one achieve something within a short time.”
The visit to Kwale General Hospital to see the sickle cell centre done by the 05 Initiative, the pet project of the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Okowa was a futile effort as the officials who should conduct the visitors and talk about the project failed to come. For the Editors, it was a disappointing experience.
From Kwale, the Editors in this group headed back and branching out shortly to see the rehabilitated/asphalt overlay of the 24.3km Nsukwa/Ejeme-Aniogor/Agbor-Alidinma/Owa Aladinm/Ndemili Road in Aniocha-Soth, Ndokwa-West and Ika North East local government area. Mr. Victor Oputa, an engineer told the visitors that the road also connects Abraka, Eku and Warri in Delta Central and South.
The Editors later arrived at the Abavo General Hospital, where a senior medical officer conducted them round the female wards, the laboratory and the maternity wards. The Editors observed that the maternity ward which had a mother with her newborn baby should have window nets to keep mosquitoes at bay. It was observed also that the elaborate and well-equipped hospital was heavily overgrown with weeds that could make the elaborate premises a hiding place for mosquitoes and reptiles.
Next was the visit to the Teachers’ Professional Development Centre under construction at Owa Oyibu, Ika North East Local Government Area headquarters. Dr. Godwin Edozie took time to lecture the visitors on the essence and uniqueness of the institute, which was greatly acknowledged by the Editors as a place with a future for the development of the teaching profession. According to Edozie, the Centre when completed has the capacity to handle 6,500 teachers including officials from the ministries.
The team of Editors also visited the Owa-Ekei-Owa Alero Road, from the old LagosAsaba Road junction to Owa Alero. It is a 5.27 km road now dualised at a cost of N4.1billion. Engr. Victor Oputa said the road used to be a failed road but now rehabilitated by the Okowa government. From here, the Editors were taken to see the dualised old Lagos-Agbor Road, from Emuhu junction and emptying to the Benin-Asaba Expressway. The 9.4 km road was done at a cost of N10.7billion.
At Issele-Uku, the Editors saw the amazing leather works /shoe factory and training facility and equipment centre. The Centre that has UNIDO, a UN agency as the technical partner has within sophisticated Italian equipment for shoemaking and training for skill acquisition participants. Part of the job is to train the trainer in shoe and sandal training.
The Editors learnt that the facility has so far trained about 300 persons since inception in 2017, all of who have the capacity to train others. Also, it was learnt that the course content covers basic and advance training. While the basic involves cut and stitch, the advance involves drawing the pattern, cutting and stitching.
At the Akwa Ocha, white cloth making department, 50 persons were said to have benefitted from the centre’s skill acquisition training.
Journalists took the Editors up on their impression. Mr. Steve Osuji who lead the Editors’ group that visited projects in Delta North said that the concept, execution and impact of the Teachers Education Centre would have on the teaching profession would make it first of its kind in the country.
“It is one landmark project that has made a lasting impression in my mind,” he said, adding that the in the next five years people will discover that the concept of the project is unique.
Mr Osuji, who works with the Nation Newspapers as Editorial Board member, who is also a member of the standing committee of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for the legacy and high impact projects seen in just one Senatorial District of the state by his group of Editors.
He describes Delta State, especially the state capital, Asaba as safe as they moved around freely throughout the period the conference lasted and praised the State Government for being a wonderful host of the Editors.
In an eight-point communiqué issued at the end of the conference and signed by the Guild’s President, Mrs. Funke Egbemode and General Secretary, Victoria Ibanga, the Editors commended the government and good people of Delta State for the rapid growth in infrastructure across the state as well as human capacity development, and thanked the host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the support given to the Guild for a successful conference.