By Elohor Foghola
George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘’Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.’’ When Dr Michael Tidi took on the helms of affairs of Warri South Local Government Council on 6th January, 2018, it was at a time when Warri was in need of transformation from its negative narrative of youth restiveness, poor sanitary condition, insecurity, unemployment and poverty.
Dr Tidi did not waste time in declaring his intention to changing the ugly narratives. The Tidi-led administration is embedded on peace and security, socio economic development, capacity building as well as robust sustained community engagement anchored on respect for traditional institutions in the local government area.
A careful assessment of the three years development path in transforming Warri suggest a clear departure from business as usual.
In the first year of his administration, Tidi renovated both secretariats of Warri South Local Government and installed a CCTV to boost internal security. He also cleared the inherited backlog of staff salaries so as to ensure motivation of the work force within the council.
The importance of peace and security in the development of any society cannot be overemphasised, for it is vital for wholesome development and economic growth of the society. Apart from refurbishing patrol vans for police at A Division, assist security agencies with intelligence and other forms of logistics, the administration has been proactive in its support for the police and other security agencies in Warri South and has continued to provide a veritable platform for security agencies and community leaders jaw-jaw in the resolve to ensure sustainable peace and security. This has led to the sustained peace in communities in Warri for the past three years of the Dr Tidi’s led administration.
With a master degree in Economics, Dr Tidi places high premium on revamping the socio-economic life of Warri South Local Government Area and change the narrative of Warri to reflect its true state of hospitality so as to attract the needed investments from within and outside the state. It is against this backdrop that the Tidi administration partnered the Warri Economic Summit Group to organise the First and Second Warri Economic Summit. Some of the dividends of both summits include attracting investors and developmental partnership with organizations in the state and country at large, such as the revitalisation of Warri Port, renovation of the famous Erejuwa Playground, and growth of small and medium scale businesses in Warri South, among others.
The launching of the Warri South Council Website is also in line with the administration’s policy to enhance the ease of doing business, advance transparency of grassroots governance and check revenue leakages.
The renovation of Ugbuwangue Modern Market built by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and the construction of 120 Open Market Shops by the Tidi administration, including the taking over of the Ogbe-Ijaw Market from the Delta State Government are other effort to revitalise the socioeconomic fortune of Warri.
No society can thrive in a dirty environment, just to buttress the import of the popular saying that health is wealth. The Tidi-led administration determined to provide a cleaner, aesthetic environment in Warri, procured a waste disposal truck, carry out daily cleaning, clearing of major streets in Warri and markets across the local government under the strict monitoring by the environment supervisor, and also providing the necessary framework for private revenue disposal vendors (PSP) to operate within the standards.
To guarantee effective primary health care delivery, health centres have been renovated and some upgraded to cottage hospitals as evident in the Ogiame Ikenwoli Hospital at Ubeji and the continuous provision of health care facilities as well as trained personnel at the various health centres in the local government.
While plans are still on going for the development of a 1,000 hectares palm oil farm in one of the coastal areas of Warri South in collaboration with the private sector, the Tidi administration donated fishing boats and fishing equipment to some cooperative organization to boost aquaculture in the area.
On infrastructure development, the Tidi administration constructed 21 boreholes across the 19 wards of the local government area, donate mattresses to Nigerian Correctional Centre, Warri (popular called Okere Prison), and quick response intervention of collapsed perimeter fence of the correctional centre, are some of the visible infrastructural strides of Dr Tidi’s leadership. This is not forgetting the creation of enabling environment for private estate developers, interested in decongesting Warri City centre, by building new and expansive mini city in Warri suburbs.
The dominant population of youths in the country is common knowledge, hence the Tidi administration is doing everything within limited resources to meaningfully engage the youths. The administration has1 invested in various aspects of capacity building programmes. These include the learning of various skills at the Warri South Council Main Secretariat and the support given to the state government owned youth training centre at Egbokodo, Warri.
Aside showing maximum respect for the traditional institution in Warri South and promptly addressing their welfare, the Tidi administration has continuously engage elders and leaders of the various communities in the area, with a view to sustaining peace and security as well as identifying needs assessment, so as to factor same in projects and policy implementation.
As we look back to the last three years, we can say Dr Tidi-led administration has done quite well on his promise and resolve in not only changing the narratives but restoring the glory of Warri. There is no better time to celebrate your worthy achievements than a time when you are clocking the achievers age of 40. Congratulations!