Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has disclosed his administration’s consistency with the inclusion of traditional rulers, as key partners in the governance scheme, in recognition of their vast backgrounds, experience, training and exposure.
Governor Okowa, who made this disclosure while presenting the staff of Office to HRM Obi Fredrick Chukwuloe Egbunkonye II. of Abala Kingdom, said traditional rulers have no doubt contributed immensely to the maintenance of peace and harmonious coexistence in the development of society.
Doris Warri Aboh, SSA- Media to the Delta State Deputy Governor, reports that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who was represented by his Deputy, Deacon (Barr) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro at the event, pledged government’s continuous partnership with traditional rulers in the enthronement of peace and total development of communities in the State, even as he noted that the infusion of traditional rulers into government machinery, has seen them play pivotal roles as custodians of the traditions, customs, heritage and indeed, the conscience of the society.
“Since the coming on board of my administration, the inclusion of traditional rulers has remained consistent in our determination to ensure they are integrated into the affairs of governance in the State. This synergy has contributed immensely towards the sustenance of peace and harmonious co-existence amongst diverse people in the State,” Gov Okowa stated.
While congratulating Obi Frederick Egbunkonye 11 for earning the grace of Almighty God who found him worthy to ascend the throne of his forebears and his appointment as the 32nd Igwe of Abala Kingdom, Governor Okowa prayed God to grant him sound health, wisdom and foresight in the task of superintending over the traditional affairs of his people.
He appealed to the newly installed Igwe to discharge his responsibilities in a transparent manner by being fair and just to all his subjects, adding that he should consider his enthronement as a call to duty and an opportunity to create an atmosphere that would facilitate rapid development of Abala Kingdom and its environs.
While commending the sons and daughters of the kingdom for the various self-help projects they had embarked upon over the years, which had complemented the efforts of government, Governor Okowa equally urged the people to strive to promote the integrity of the stool, by according the king the respect and honour he deserved.
“Abala Kingdom is well known for its abundant production of crops and fish. I, therefore use this opportunity to call on the sons and daughters of the Kingdom, to take advantage of the various programs of government particularly the Delta State Production and Processing Support Program and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise scheme, to improve on the production capacities. I urged you to form cooperative societies, so that you can access credit to increase and add value to your harvests.” Gov Okowa added.
Gov Okowa who paid special tribute to the late Igwe of Abala kingdom, who he said was reputed to be an exemplary monarch during his reign, also disclosed that following the demise of the 31st Igwe of Abala, HRM, Obi Frederick Enubokili Ogbukaa, who joined his ancestors on 12th February, 2016, it was statutory for the State Government to present Staff of Office to the new traditional ruler after due installation and enthronement rites and processes had been completed by his people.
Earlier in his speech, the President General of Abala Development Union (ADU) Chief Abel Nweze, disclosed that Abala Kingdom was made up of three communities and several farm settlements, naming the three communities as Abala-Uno, Abala-Obodo and Abala-Oshimili.
Chief Nweze who posited that their main occupations were farming and fishing, went on to highlight the many challenges facing the Kingdom, including absence of a proper all season access road to any of the three constituent communities, absence of electricity supply, portable (drinkable) water, police security station, healthcare centers, youth unemployment, as well as dilapidated and poorly equipped schools amongst many others.
He further said that the aforementioned challenges have been direct consequences of serious ecological problems facing the kingdom, especially continuous shoreline erosion along the bank of the river Niger at Abala-Oshimili and the massive invasion of Ezute river by the water hyacinth, a free floating aquatic plant at Abala-Uno and Abala-Obodo, amongst others.
The President General of ADU also added that of strategic importance is the completion of Oloa-Ossissa, Atukpai, Osumei, Abala-Uno, Abala-Obodo road and bridge projects, awarded to Inter-Bua Construction Company by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), but has since been abandoned by the company, as well as to undertake shoreline protection projects on bank of River Niger to curb the ever menacing erosion which had consumed several houses and other landed properties at Abala-Oshimili.
The highlight of the occasion which attracted top government functionaries and several chiefs from Abala Kingdom, was the official presentation of Staff of Office to HRM Obi Frederick Chukwuloe Egbunkonye 11 as the 32nd Igwe of Abala Kingdom.