Chief Sunny Onusoke is a former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant in Delta State, a good governance advocate, is the Special Project Director of the Ughelli-Kwale-Asaba, in this interview with Ovasa Ogaga, he spoke on the efforts of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in roads construction that has earned the “Road Master,” and many more.
Sir, with the inauguration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for a second term in May 29, 2019, the PDP have ruled Delta State for 20 years and many Deltans believes that this past 20 years have been more of motion without movement, what is your take on that?
If somebody said it is just a mere motion without movement, I will take contrary position, if he knew the state of Asaba in 1999, the state of our infrastructures and compare it to now, then that person don’t know what is happening in the state and the realities on ground in Delta state. I have been in the system since 2003/ 2004 and activeness was pronounced in 2007 when I ran for governorship. I know the state of Asaba and its environs and the decadence of infrastructure in the state before the coming of Chief James Onanefe Ibori in 1999.
If someone is saying that we have not made progress that is a big lie. Can you compare educational and health standard now and 1999; the differences are obvious. You won’t compare the state of Warri Central Hospital with the current state or that Eku Baptist hospital with what we met in 1999. Is it number of Primary and Secondary schools that have been upgraded, so, what are we talking about, a lot of fantastic developments have taken place in Delta State unless the person wants to be mischievous or blind to the truth.
You have mentioned the health sector, educational sector; in the last 20 years, PDP has done quite a number of roads in Delta, but many are of poor quality because most the roads constructed by Ibori’s administration have all failed, is this a progressive movement?
Please can you just mention one road that Ibori constructed and fades away? Should I count roads Ibori did and are still very good as at today? If not for Ibori, Itsekiri would not have integrated into Warri, Omadino bridge is there, One of the best bridge in South/South of this country is the Bomadi bridge, the longest, this was done by Ibori. So, how would someone be telling you that the roads Ibori did are failing, look at the Aboh bridge that linked the Kwale people and the Aboh communities, they are there, why will anyone say that the things Ibori did have gone into oblivion and they are failing? Tell me and show me one road that Ibori did that had failed. Ibori did the best roads then, the ones the military did have all washed away; we should get our facts very clear. The minimum standard duration of road globally is 15 years. When did Ibori left government, just 12 years and he did some of these roads in year 2000 and till today is just 13 years, so don’t get it wrong.
Today, we have three satellite campuses in Abraka, today we have almost four polytechnics in state, Colleges of Education, we should be saying things that are real, and they are there for the blind man to be referred to. Ibori’s road master piece have all have stood the test of time, just like what the current governor is doing.
Comparatively, the qualities of roads in Akwa Ibom State, Lagos State, roads done by Ibori contemporaries, Attah, Tinubu are standing out but in our urban centers, here in Delta you hardly see such quality of roads?
The Warri/Sapele roads are Ogbemudia legacies. Some people do ask me, Onuosoke are you a moving encyclopedia? There is no road that Ibori did that has failed and if you have any, I will resign from politics, just refer me to any, I will resign from politics. Urban roads have the duration of 10 years.
You know I have been in the road mechanism for three years; I have read road engineering and other solidification of road construction. If you go to London, from Heathrow airport in central London, it is constant maintenance of road, in America, I have been to Washington DC and every day in Washington DC there are road maintenance engineers. All you need about roads is continuous maintenance, it is not even new roads, and they don’t do much of new roads, but maintains existing roads.
For the fact that we are a developed country but a larger population of our people are densely located in the rural certain so we tried a to do news roads but if those new roads are failing, for crying out loud, the standard way of maintaining them is to put a new asphalt. Let me give you a shocker, somebody was crying in Sapele that the road that was done in 2003 has failed after 16years forgetting the standard road duration in the urban cities is 10 years and after 10years, you go for integrity test. Lets vindicates ourselves with facts and figures, I don’t just talk, I talk with facts and figures. After 10 years in the construction industries every building, construction materials go for integrity test
The Asaba/Kwale/Ozoro/Ughelli road after 8 years what is the state of work on that road, some Deltans say that a lot of resource have been wasted of that road, what is your take?
You can’t say it was a waste of resource because of the importance of that road. That is the only road in Delta state that inter-connects the three senatorial districts. The road is segmented into three parts certifications, section A, section B and we have section C. And Deltans don’t understand is that former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan completed Section B before he left and another shocker is that section B is the longest part of the road and that project is ongoing.
But when my Governor, Dr Okowa came in, he found out that there are some hiccups with some contracting firm concern and you remember when Okowa came, we were badly in bad shape nationally, recession, finance. So, when he came on board as a new government, he finds out that sector B has been completed remaining sector A and C, he took his time, he allowed the legislative arm of government to look into the contracting firm. You hear it in the radio when they find ULO delaying and the House of Assembly call them to question subsequently behind the House of Assembly reports, the Governor works.
He implemented the decision of the House of Assembly, the contract was terminated and re-awarded, that is best you are seeing there. It took the government to recoup from the recession because when he came in there was two recession, people don’t want to see this of him on how he manages it. If you go back to our statutory allocations on the national account, after two years and he was still sustaining the contracting firm that still handling sector B when the finances of the state allocations improves, look at the paste temple of the job for almost and now it is running fast like the diamond snake, fast running like an electric train without a coach, running faster than almost the light with the way the job is going and one of the biggest rated contracting firm in the world is CCECC (China Civil Engineering Construction Company) is the 3rd biggest construction company and if our governor could look at the quality work they have done in Abuja, they have the biggest skyscraper in the world and if a state could take up that not even as cheap as Berger to handle a project that person should be given a kudos. Because he knew the terrain of Asaba to Ossissa, the topographical terrain is one of the worse you can think of in terms of engineering.
The governor has succeeded in reclaiming land from the other side because it is a high-profile job. Right from Oleh roundabout to Ughelli is a sand fill job to reclaim land. Then after leaving there, after the Ozoro Poly my brother, he spends money to reclaim those waterline area land in Ellu because they are all water logs. Its all purely sharp sand and you know this road is a federal government project and we have to do it for our own internal benefit, its infrastructure we going to enjoy. Like what I told somebody somewhere if Tinubu could be doing that in Lagos, I am not supposed to be saying it but I will because I am the Special Project Director and I have been taking good studies in other states, yes if Ughelli Asaba is completed we can make concessionaries. Is anybody owing Tinubu for toll gate they are in Lekki area and Peninsula? We got almost five in that area to sustain the roads. So, we going to do that.
Am saying myself it is my personal opinion because we cannot spend such huge money and somebody don’t know the terrain how difficult to do construction is. That is what I am trying to say, we are not wasting funds governance is continuity. The was not awarded in 2007 initially, the job came into mainstream in 2008, the contractors went to field 2009, can I give you one shocker, could you please tell the world when East/West had been under construction such a project handled the federal might. The terrain in Niger Delta is very marshy, the topography is marshy. What is going cost the government to build Ughelli Asaba road a section is going to cost a whole state in the north to construct a one-thousand-kilometer road because the diversity of mangrove swamp here, the marshy terrain, the topographic terrain.
All we are praying for is that the rod should succeed because my governor promises everybody ‘I am going Smarter Delta’ smarter!! am going to be hitting it so strong from the Yagep, the STEP and others.
Recently former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Monday Igbuya in a radio program with Quest FM before the 2019 election said, Okowa wearing the slogan of a road master is a mockery of who a road master is, that the roads are not up to one kilometer but 200m street without major road dualization. Can you highlight some of the roads in Okowa government?
One thing I don’t do is that I don’t join political issues with my elders, superiors and with much respect to ex-speaker Igbuya, it is not tradition to abuse my party leaders. But if Igbuya outer his mouth to say that it is a miss miner and with that statement regards to him in Quest FM makes me to lose my 100 percent respect for him and if he is saying that, he is shooting himself on the leg. When did he left the speakership? Where some of these projects not awarded in his time, was he not a speaker when he did his projects, why shooting himself, why don’t him respect the code of conduct, why don’t he respect the laws of classified information as a top government strouta. How can a former speaker not more two years age come out to be saying all that and he was among the people that passed some of those budgets and all that. It is an aberration and deviance and I don’t want to join issues with Igbuya part.
To your question on how many roads has Okowa done, have you gone to Agbor and see the Agbor-Lagos road, do you know the kilometer mileage, sometimes I wonder people just come out and alter these things without facts. Some road is close to me here, Ovwian road here is more than a kilometer it is up to 2km. Am not the commissioner for works but with my closeness to the construction industry in the state, lot of roads, some are over 2km, some over 3km, we are not talking about lengthy roads. We are talking of roads that will link inter communities, roads that are bypass and these are major roads to develop the state, the focus of the governor is link roads that will link the rural communities to the urban to transport their goods, you bypass the major roads and that is what he is doing so or you want him construct a 100km road without sense, we are talking about constructing a road like the Amdaja/ BCT road is less than a kilometer but he has succeeded in bypassing that huge traffic at ….market. that is what we call road.
First and foremost, as a former speaker it is not expected of a of that magnitude Igbuya who might undergone lots of seminars, coaching to build himself come out in public to speak like an ignorant man. Do you need 3km roads? What we need are bypass roads, must you pass through Ughelli Asaba to be you get to Ogwashichukwu? If the governor could bypass Kwale, it is a link road and links another community. Roads that have commercial value is what the people are looking for, roads that are economic and accelerational value, roads with social and contracts benefits that is what we are looking for.
So, in your assessment are you saying Delta is afar its contemporaries?
Let me tell you something, you don’t just come to Delta state and compare it to Bayelsa state, Rivers State, or Lagos, the revenue allocation and company deposit in Rivers state is almost twice in Delta State. The biggest company in Nigeria is the LNG and is in Bonny, royalties, we don’t have Shell here and that is one thing the governor want to bring back here. Apart from Port Harcourt City and Ahoda in Rivers State that has 17 local government, that has city like Ughelli and Sapele just tell me, because we have 8 major cities in Delta state with 25 local governments, we have Agbor, Warri, Sapele, Oleh is a major city with university, and Abraka, you cannot see any city in Rivers state that is highly populated as Abraka, I have been to Onne, they mushroom communities, Buguma, Abonima, Degema, I have a bond relationship with Rivers state and when I say so you understand as an Urhobo man. Buguma city is 1/10 of DSC, Emuoha is not as populated as Oleh or Ozoro, and these projects are going to be allocated to these cities.
There are 44 local government in Kano, a headquarter of a local government in Kano is up to Uvwiamughe or Ekvwere. We should get these facts clear. Edo state has major cities like us here, Auchi, Ekpoma, Afuze and so on and not mushroom states like Rivers state that spend their money just in one city. Do you known that Bonny Island remain the dirtiest oil city in the world and I am going to report to United Nations in my report. You hear the name Bonny but you can’t compare to Ughelli. The capital city of Nasarawa is not up to Ughelli.