•By Sen. Godswill Akpabio
“I was a victim of the Civil War. I was one of those who suffered the pains of the war. I was born sometime in 1962; the civil war came really into our area in 1967. So, I was probably five or six years old during the war; and if I had been around nine years, I would probably have been conscripted.
During the Silverbird Man of the Year Award, there were pictures that were shown of the Civil War. Somebody, sitting by me, who is from the West, was asking if those things were acted: the Kwashiorkor-ridden children with their swollen tummies, ugly shapes and bony structures because of hunger and starvation.
The then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon attempted to explain that he tried everything to avoid the scenes that were being shown on the screen, that he did not want the war. The other person who could have answered him, unfortunately, that is Emeka Ojukwu, is dead. He said he tried everything to stop the war from breaking out but it’s only Ojukwu who could have answered whether he equally did his part in avoiding the war.
But something struck me: it was said that Gowon should be commended for initiating the three Rs: reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction. And I asked a very simple question, that I came with a written text but I wasn’t going to read it. I thanked Silverbird for the award; and I said I did not want to criticise my leaders because I am also now a leader. But I asked to be allowed to ask a question: how come reconstruction started in the West when the war was actually fought in the East? They started the Third Mainland Bridge, the National Theatre, the international airport, and so on, in the West, while the war was fought in the Eastern region.
And if we really wanted to ensure total reconciliation, how come every account holder in the eastern region was given only £20? It did not matter whether your father had £10,000,000 or £50,000,000 before the war; you were given just £20. It was a take it or leave it situation. If your family survived and there was an account holder alive, he/she went to the bank, and collected just £20.
Could £20 pounds solve the Kwashiorkor that we were seeing? Could it reconstruct the houses that were burnt? Could it produce food? A lot of other things happened that I did not mention on that occasion. Don’t forget that it was shortly after the war in 1971 that the policy of indigenisation started, where most of the foreign industries and companies were sold to Nigerians, and the war-ravaged eastern regions, which include the entire South-South and the rest of them, could not buy, because no one who did not have money to even feed or clothe himself would have had no money to buy any industry.
They needed money from reconstruction, and I would have thought that reconstruction would have also started from the East. I just asked because we were lucky to have the personal dramatis of the war right in still alive : General T. Y. Danjuma, General Yakubu Gowon, General Obasanjo, General Buhari and others. It is very rare to see these former heads of state in just one place, so I had to ask.”
Uduaghan: NOC investiture, a big inspiration
Uduaghan, whose tenure as governor in Delta State witnessed massive results in the sports sector, was listed alongside former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Oba S. A Elegushi, Gbong Gwon Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang, Sir Mark Wabara, Dr. Zainab Bagudu, Major-General Adamu Dyeri (rtd), M. A. Abubakar and Alhaji Bashari Mohammed Gumel by the NOC for its investiture ceremony for patrons on October 23 in Lagos.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Uduaghan, who is aspiring for Delta South Senatorial ticket under the APC in the 2019 elections, said his inclusion on the list was an indication that the NOC took proper records, and also appreciated the work he did for sports while he was governor of Delta State.
“There is always a reward for anything you do in life, good or bad. While I was Governor of Delta State, some people accused me of paying so much attention to the sports sector. But I refused to back down because sports is one of the avenues to prepare the youths for future challenges. I was an athlete in my youthful days, and I enjoyed every bit of the sector as governor because Team Delta actually got the results we wanted. I will continue to play my role by giving Nigerian youths the motivation they need to excel in national and international competitions,” Uduaghan stated.
As patrons of the Olympic Movement, the honourees will become iconic international sports personalities, carrying the emblem of Nigeria globally.
One bold step Uduaghan took shortly after he assumed office as governor of Delta State in 2007 was the creation of Delta Sports Commission, which gave sports activities a professional and institutional leverage.
Team Delta was able to continue its dominance in the National Sports Festival, winning at KADA 2009, second at Garden City 2011 and champions at Eko 2012.
Uduaghan’s administration also saw Delta winning the National Channel’s Kids Cup in Lagos in 2013, while Warri Wolves qualified for the finals of the 2014 Federation Cup, the first time in thirty years by any male club from the state. His passion for sports led to the revival of secondary school football competition by staging the biggest Governor’s Cup competition ever among public schools in 2013 and 2014.
His cash motivation for athletes gave the likes of Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume and Divine Oduduru the backing they needed to excel at various competitions.
Delta Govt establishes six IDPs camps
…To forward 2019 budget proposals to DTHA soon
The Delta State Government has approved the establishment of six Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps to cater for residents of the state whose homes are in flood prone areas to avoid loss of lives and properties.
Also put in place is the state Flood Management Committee to handle the welfare of the IDPs.
The State Commissioner for Information, Ogbueshi Patrick Ukah, disclosed these after the State Executive Council meeting held on Tuesday inside the EXCO chamber, Government House, Asaba.
He said that the Flood Management Committee, which is headed by the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, has the Commissioners for Health, Environment, Information, Local Government Affairs, Women Affairs, Community and Social Development and the Chairmen of about 16 Local Government Areas identified to be affected by the flood as members.
The local government areas are Aniocha South, Bomadi, Burutu, Warri South, Warri North, Warri South West, Patani, Ughelli South and Isoko North.
Also identified to be affected are Isoko South, Udu, Okpe, Oshimili South, Oshimili North, Ndokwa East and Ndokwa West.
He noted that members of the committee has since commenced work towards achieving the purpose for which the committee was established.
Ogbueshi Ukah disclosed that the IDP camps are located at Ogbe-Afor Primary School, Asaba, Oshimili South, Ewulu Grammar School, Ewulu, Aniocha South And Utagba-Ogbe Technical College Kwale, Ndokwa West.
Others are Emede Grammar School Emede, Isoko South, Omorka Primary School, Illah, Oshimili North and Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro, Isoko North.
He said that the people of Tuomo in Burutu and Tsekelewu in Warri North have been relocated to higher ground and relief materials sent to them.
According to the Commissioner for Information, the EXCO extensively discussed the 2019 budget proposals which will soon be forwarded to the Delta State House of Assembly for deliberation and passage into law as the 2019 budget
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