From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Sitting on an expanse of approximately 20 hectares of land, the blue roofed structures have redefined the serene ambience of Owa-Alero, an agrarian community in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.
It is the new Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Marshal Inspectorate Training School.
With its alluring external features, the institute has transformed the landscape of the community, which is the ancestral home of the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Its scope consists of an administrative building, a 500-seater auditorium with modern facilities, a lecture hall, ICT centre, library, residences, hostels, clinic, power house, sewage treatment and water works, gate house, guard room, quarter guard, parade and sports ground, driving range and car parks.
Though an initiative of the management of FRSC, an agency of the Federal Government, the project was solely built and furnished by the state government and recently handed over.
As a result, some stakeholders in the state are picking holes in the state government’s gesture, describing it as misplaced priority, claiming that the funds should have be pumped into the state transport management agency (DESTMA).
They also faulted the governor for taking the project to his hometown.
Former director-general of DESTMA, Stephen Dieseruvwe, said the head office of the agency was in a rented twin-duplex building, off Maryam Babangida Way, Asaba, while the zonal offices in Warri/Effurun, Udu, Sapele, Agbor and Ughelli wre in obscure locations.
He said the operational fleet, at June 2019, around the same time the idea of FRSC Training School was hatched, consisted of eight patrol vehicles, adding that at the moment the vehicles would fail road-worthiness test.
“Charity ideally should begin at home, but that is not the case in this instance. The original plan of DESTMA was to model it after Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA). But what we have now is a far cry from that dream,” he maintained.
A social critic, Mr. Efe Duku, said Okowa funded the project in his village to the detriment of DESTMA, which he said was still in rented apartments across the state with rickety vehicles as assets.
In a Facebook post, Duku argued that the DESTMA was the state’s equivalent of FRSC, and lamented its dysfunctional existence.
“For emphasis, Okowa abandoned our own DESTMA and built FRSC’s facilities in his village, unsolicited, with our monies, not his personal resources.
“Now, let us reason together. Is it possible for Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to donate to the Federal Government and its FRSC what Lagos and its LASTMA do not have?
“An objective answer to the simple question above must summarise the ‘anyhowness’ that styles itself as a ‘Smart Agenda’ in our state,” he contended.
Regardless, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who inaugurated the project and formally handed it over, described it as an excellent example of benefits of collaboration between states and federal government or federal agencies.
Prof. Osinbajo said such partnerships were needed for sustainable national development.
“The development of the country depends, to a very large extent, on this type of cooperation between states and the Federal Government. The ultimate beneficiaries are the good people of Delta State, and of course the country at large,” he said.