By FIDELIS EGUGBO
“For the record, no administration since the inception of our dear state in August,1991 has made this level of huge investment and commitment to this Camp and to the NYSC in Delta State.”
This statement made by South-South Area Coordinator of National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Mr Omotade Folorunso Omotade, aptly captured what the permanent orientation camp of the NYSC, Issele-Uku must have looked like before the intervention of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.
Last Thursday, precisely three days ago, Governor Okowa had inaugurated series of projects executed by his administration at the permanent orientation camp, given what one can comfortably describe as a new lease of life to the NYSC 29 years after the state was created.
There is no doubt, that all the Federal Government has done over the years was to create agencies without making provisions for them, especially in the states, if we are to go by the experiences of such agencies in Delta State. From the security agencies that rely almost solely on the state government for vehicles, accomodation and other logistics to other agencies of government, one can only but accuse the Federal Government of erecting structures it cannot sustain. The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Asaba for instance, had to remain on air because of the intervention of the Delta State government led by Governor Okowa. One cannot forget too that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) moved to a befitting structure in Asaba last year, courtesy of the state government and just last Monday an edifice was inaugurated in Asaba to accommodate the Court of Appeal, Asaba Division, as a result of the magnanimity of Governor Okowa administration.
So, it did not come as a surprise that Governor Okowa mobilised resources to provide a befitting environment for permanent orientation camp in the state.
Mr Omotade continued, “Governor Okowa has, to his credit, given the approval and actualisation of many projects in Camp among which are comprehensive renovation of existing buildings, building of 700 capacity hostel, building of eight 3-bedroom flats for camp officials, sinking of about 700 feet industrial borehole to address perennial shortage of water, linkage of camp to urban water scheme, release of 300 KVA electricity transformer with Industrial prepaid metre, brand new camp clinic, among others,.”
The governor had always alluded that his administration was not discriminating in catering for federal agencies and those of the state because, the collaboration between well-meaning agencies all over the world in the development of the state was necessary for the overall interest of the people.
During the inauguration of the projects, he said, “This is a dream come true and we thank God that we are witnessing this great transformation of the orientation camp. As a government, I believe that we should improve on the facilities that we have in this orientation camp as we are collaborating with the Federal Government in different ways.
“Just few days ago, on Monday, a Court of Appeal was inaugurated in Asaba, I am happy that we have the Court of Appeal and it has been described as apparently, one of the best in the country. These partnerships are in the best interest of our people and in the best interest of our state and here at Issele-Uku is the first point of call for NYSC members who are posted to Delta State. The graduates numbering thousands who are posted to Delta, apparently, will work in Delta State and will impact on the state and its people, so, it is only human that we make them comfortable to bring out their best to serve the state and our nation.
“I appreciate the work of the contractors that worked here to see that these projects are completed for inauguration today; it is my hope and expectations that when we leave in 2023, this NYSC Camp will be a totally changed environment that will be comfortable for the Corps members.
“It gladdens my heart that we are here to inaugurate a 700-capacity headspace hostel for corps members; four blocks of twin 3-bedroom flats and several other projects; in the next couple of weeks, construction work will commence on the internal roads, a multi-purpose hall and we shall also, construct a hostel to be named after Chief (Sir) B.S.C. Elue, former Deputy Governor, Delta State.”
Former Deputy Governor of Delta State, Chief (Sir) Benjamin Elue, the Obi of Issele-Uku, HRM Obi Nduka Ezeagwuna and several dignitaries were at the event where the Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, represented by Mr Steve Ehoda-Adi commended Governor Okowa for his numerous contributions to the growth of the scheme.
In her address, the state coordinator of NYSC, Mrs .Olutayo Samuel, described Governor Okowa as someone who keeps to his promises while the Assistant Director, Asaba zone of NYSC, Mr Kubiangha Ekeng Ita, described the occasion as a dream come true.
“Our duty in the camp is to ensure the comfort and safety of the corps members and we follow up with their activities through the service year. With what we have seen today and the assurance that the state government will construct the internal roads, build the multi-purpose hall, among others, we can only thank God that history is being made during the period of the current leadership of the NYSC in the state and the federation.
We also thank Governor Okowa for what he is doing because, as he said, corps members will be encouraged to put in their best during the service year due to the fact that they will have a more positive mindset about the state from the Camp.”
While we commend Governor Okowa for coming to the aid of the Federal Government, one may be tempted to ask if the Federal Government has been overwhelmed that it cannot cater for the needs of its agencies and if such is the case, one may also ask, if there is a way of unbundling the Federal Government?
We are all aware that but for the quick intervention on the federal roads in the state by Governor Okowa shortly before the yuletide that transporters and commuters who could have survived passing the roads would have been recounting their ugly experiences by now.
The roads did not only became death traps before the intervention but, they also became the right spots for the activities of armed robbers and kidnappers leaving one to ask the question about what it will take to unbundle Nigeria and possibly make it work.
We all applauded the manner Britain left the European Union recently, but we are living witnesses to the heavy mobilization of the military to the Eastern part of the country because one Nnamdi Kano called for exit of that part of the country from Nigeria federation following his persistent agitation for Republic of Biafra.
The manner with which the Federal Government mobilized the military to intimidate civilians sends a clear message our country is a forced marriage arrangement, because if such military presence could be mobilised to areas where Boko Haram bandits are deriving joy in beheading Nigerians, Christians in particular, the country would have been much more peaceful.
We heard recently that Turkey has already established itself as arms suppliers to Boko Haram; the Yorubas have established Amotekun and very likely, another country that is looking for markets for its war arsenals may approach. If such is replicated in the South South, South East, Middlebelt and other zones of the country, then it will really be a situation of “to your tents”.
This is because, the manner the military mobilizes to cow the people into submission to the federal arrangement makes one wonder if they are Nigerians, because if truly they are, they cannot be deployed to kill their relations, harmless civilians they are paid to protect like what happened when they stormed Nnamdi Kano’s residence.
In 1973, three years after the Nigerian civil war, the Federal Government established the NYSC scheme and made it compulsory for people not to decline or decide where they were posted to. But, 47 years after, there are areas in the country that corps members cannot be posted to apparently because of fear for their individual safety. It has also got to a situation where the corps members are deciding where they can be posted to because, the federal government has failed to provide that confidence needed.
Surprisingly, almost all the leaders of the country today passed through the scheme; they are all enlightened about the importance of peace, unity and the need to serve the country under the sun or in the rain but, the question is, is Nigeria working? If Nigeria is not working, is there a way forward without the senseless killings and maiming of people?
Governor Okowa deserves commendation for trying to carry everyone, and every agency of government whether federal state of foreign for them to live happily in the state. However, the federal government needs to do more to give hope to the people and let the people know through actions that they have a stake in the country as their interests, their future, their lives and those of their unborn children would be protected.
God bless Nigeria.
(As published on page 10 of The Pointer Newspaper of today, Sunday, February 9, 2020.)