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Publisher, Opukeme writes Okowa an open letter, decries poor funding of Ayakoromo bridge

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By Steven Amas

A Delta based CEO/Publisher of Dailywatch newspaper, Mr Cletus Opukeme has written an open letter to the governor of Delta State, His Excellency, senator Ifeanyi Author Okowa over what he described as outright poor funding of the Ayakoromo bridge project in Burutu Local Government Area of the State.

The veteran reporter said the governor should release more funds to quicken the completion of Ayakoromo bridge project before leaving office in 2023.

The prolific writer added that in spite of Ijaw strong support in Okowa’s current administration, development is still retarded among Ijaw communities in the state.

He lamented:”I write with pains and tears looking at the sorrowful state of infrastructural development among Delta Ijaw communities, coupled with the famous Ayakoromo bridge project that has been starved with funds.”

The statement continued: ”
I have come to find out that despite the Ijaws were not in opposition to your government, they are being treated as opposition. The real opposition to your accession to the seat of governor are now riding horses in your government. It is ironical.

“Sir, do not easily forget that one good turn deserves another. Do not also forget that the Delta Ijaws put their best in making sure you proceed to power uninterrupted in two consecutive times. I felt you are grateful about these gestures. But starving Ayakoromo bridge, the only capital project in the whole of Burutu Local Government Area with fund does not really tell well about your acclaimed love for Ijaw people.

“I write today to disabuse your mind of all misinformation and disinformation you may have been told about the Ayakoromo bridge. The Ayakoromo bridge , like Bomadi bridge will open up the whole of Burutu LGA and connect it to Ughelli South and Bomadi LGAs. It has too many economic importance, which are visible to even the blind to see. I do not know your perceptions about Ayakoromo bridge but whatever your conceptualisation, it is my candid advice that the implications of not completing Ayakoromo bridge before leaving office are always greater.

“It is unfortunate that my Ijaw leaders are very very comfortable about it as no one comes out to draw your
attention. Sir, do not consider the quietness of the few Ijaw leaders who are privileged to enjoy the Delta State treasury with you as general perception or view of the entire Delta Ijaws. There is a growing silence and anger against you and you have to make amends by correcting some of the ill-treatments during your two tenure administration with Ijaw son as deputy governor.
Among the Ijaws, Chief Mulade Sheriff is among the few Ijaw activists who have cried out against the injustice meted out against Ijaw people in your administration in Delta State.

“My dear intelligent and and eloquent governor, you may consider me as ethnocentric. If you were in my situation, you will write more than this. Remember that I do not fall from a branch of a tree. I am a full blooded Ijaw man who suffers amidst so much wealth in my domain.

“Sir, during my University days at Delta State University, Abraka, I spent so much resources to acquire a University education from the far mangrove creeks of Delta State. Transportation from my village to Abraka too takes almost N10,000. Why not be magnanimous enough to at least give one University to the Ijaws out of the four Universities you established during your tenure? It is not too late as the laws can be reviewed and amended to consider my Ijaw people with one University or better still send another fresh bill of the 5th University establishment to the Delta State House of Assembly for them to debate the allocation of state university campus in Delta Ijaw community,” he stressed.

Attached the full letter:

8th January, 2022

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR OKOWA OVER OUTRIGHT POOR FUNDING OF AYAKOROMO BRIDGE PROJECT

Your Excellency, Senator, Ifeanyi Author Okowa,
The executive governor of
Delta state.

Sir,

I write with pains and tears looking at the sorrowful state of infrastructural development among Delta Ijaw communities, couple with starving the famous Ayakoromo bridge project with fund.

I have come to find out that despite Ijaws were not opposition to your government, they are being treated as opposition. The real opposition to your ascending to the seat of governor are now riding horses in your government, it is ironical.

Sir, don’t easily forget that one good turn deserves another. Don’t also forget that the Delta Ijaws put their best in making sure you proceed to power uninterrupted in two consecutive times. I felt you are grateful about these gestures. But starving Ayakoromo bridge, the only capital project in the whole of Burutu Local Government Area with fund does not really tell well about your acclaimed love for Ijaw people.

I write today to disabuse your mind of all misinformation and disinformation you may have been told about the Ayakoromo bridge. The Ayakoromo bridge , like Bomadi bridge will open up the whole of Burutu LGA and connect it to Ughelli South and Bomadi LGAs. It has too many economic importance, which are visible to even the blind to see. I do not know your perceptions about Ayakoromo bridge but whatever your conceptualisation, it is my candid advice that the implications of not completing Ayakoromo bridge before leaving office are always greater.

Your Excellency, this is a clarion call. You know I am not a praise singer and will never be one. I am sincerely begging you to complete the Ayakoromo bridge before the end of your second tenure being a legacy project, even though you do not like my Ijaw people. You established four state Universities and none was sited in the Ijaw local government areas. To the best of my knowledge, these universities are to be funded with the crude oil proceeds from the Ijaw communities which you detested so much.

It is unfortunate that my Ijaw leaders are very very comfortable about it as no one comes out to draw your
attention. Sir, do not consider the quietness of the few Ijaw leaders who are privileged to enjoy the Delta state treasury with you as general perception or view of the entire Delta Ijaws. There is a growing silence and anger against you and you have to make amend by correcting some of the ill-treatments during your two tenure administration with Ijaw son as deputy governor.
Among the Ijaws, Chief Mulade Sheriff is among the few Ijaw activists who have cried out against the injustice meted for Ijaw people in your administration in Delta state.

My dear intelligent and and eloquent governor, you may consider me as ethnocentric. If you were in my situation, you will write more than this. Remember that I do not fall from a branch of a tree. I am a full blooded Ijaw man who suffers amidst so much wealth in my domain.

Sir, during my University days at Delta state University, Abraka, I spent so much resources to acquire a University education from the far mangrove creeks of Delta state. Transportation from my village to Abraka too takes almost N10,000. Why not be magnanimous enough to at least give one University to the Ijaws out of the four Universities you established during your tenure? It is not too late as the laws can be reviewed and amended to consider my Ijaw people with one University or better still send another fresh bill of the 5th University establishment to the Delta state house of Assembly for them to debate the allocation of state University campus in Delta Ijaw community.

Sir, this photo is not a file photo from the internet. I went to Ayakoromo through Okwagbe route in boat to attend a crucial family meeting on the 7th January, 2022. When I saw the abandoned bridge, I asked the boat driver to slow down to enable me snap this image today at 2pm to show Governor Okowa and the world to know the abandoned bridge project.

Your Excellency, it is my strong appeal that fund be timely release for the contractor on site to expedite the completion of the Ayakoromo bridge project before the end of your tenure 2023, and I equally beg that you make more efforts to spread more developmental in the Ijaw riverine communities in the state.

May God bless you as you hear my outcry. While I pray for you to finish strong, I urge you to reach out to areas and people of key importance to your two time victories that have been left behind in all ramifications.

Thank you and God bless.

Yours Cletus Opukeme,
(Activist/Journalist)

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