Beyond his eight-year tenure as governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan is concerned about the future of the state. He believes that someday, the crude oil wells of the Niger Delta region will dry up and revenue will stop coming from that source. Ordinarily, that should give every well-meaning citizen of that state reason to worry. In the event that there is nothing to fall back on when the rainy day comes, economic downturn may set in. That is the idea behind the Delta Beyond Oil initiative of the Uduaghan administration. His vision is to use current earnings from oil to develop multiple strings of income for the state and for the people.
Towards realising that objective, major infrastructural facilities are being developed to drive the economy of the state. For instance, an efficient transport system is evolving in the state to ease the movement of people, goods and services. For that to be sustained, the Uduaghan administration has embarked on massive construction of road networks across the state. Riverine communities that were before now, only accessible by water transportation are being linked up by roads.
The building of the Asaba International Airport, the facelift being given the Osubi airport as well as the development of the Warri and Koko seaports are all integral part of the Delta beyond Oil initiative. The Warri Industrial Park under construction is targeted at attracting huge business interests that will drive the economy of the state with multiple benefits to the people. The Uduaghan administration is also making effective use of the arts, culture and tourism potential of the state to diversify its economy. The Delta Leisure Park with two sites – Oleri in Udu Local Government Area of the state and the Ogwashi-Uku game reserve are part of the Delta Beyond Oil initiative.
The Micro Credit Scheme of the Uduaghan administration is one programme that has endeared the governor to his people. Apart from its impact on the economy of the state, Delta indigenes who have keyed into the programme have transformed from job seekers to entrepreneurs and in some cases, employers of labour. For instance, the shoe factory that is to be established in the state in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, in the state is expected to position the state as a shoe making hub in the country; and also boost the revenue of the state. It is also being targeted to alter the state’s crude oil revenue equation.
Governor Uduaghan considers education an essential component of his Delta Beyond Oil initiative. That is why he embarked on a revolution in the sector. From primary to tertiary level, education in the state is passing through what many people see as a state of emergency. Governor Uduaghan believes that with education, many other things will fall in place.