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Aradhe is a town in the Isoko North Local Government Area (LGA), Isoko region of Delta State, Nigeria. The town has an estimated population of 20,000 inhabitants. Aradhe has a primary school called Aradhe Primary School founded in 19XX and a secondary school called Aradhe Grammar School founded in 19xx. The inhabitants of Aradhe are friendly and accommodating. The major occupation of the people are farming and trading. Aradhe Market day comes up every seven days interval. Major articles traded are garri, Cassava Starch, Yams. Palm oil, fruits etc. The Town is surrounded by swampland. Aradhe share a royal crown with two other communities which are Ovredhe and Ellu. The three communities are called Eraewhosa meaning Three Crown.
ADDRESS BY MR. F. E OMAKOBIA, PRESIDENT GENERAL, ARADHE DEVELOPMENT UNION, ON THE OCCASION OF LAUNCHING CEREMONY OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF ARADHE MODERN MARKET BY THE WORLD BANK/SEEFOR ON WEDNESDAY, 27TH APRIL, 2016 AT ARADHE MODERN TOWN HALL AT 10.00AM
The Hon. Commissioner, Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, The Hon. Commissioner, Delta State Ministry of Economic Planning, The Hon. Chairman, Isoko North Local Government Council, The Project Coordinator, State Empowerment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR). The Project Director, Community Driven Development Social Implementation Unit (CDDSIU) The Management Staff of CDDSIU here present, The Hon. Councilors here present, Members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm here present, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the people of Aradhe Community in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, I welcome you all to Aradhe Community.
Some of you are not new to the Community by virtue of your assignments, while some are coming to the Community for the first time. Once again, you are all welcome to Aradhe Community. We thank the Good Lord for granting you mercy journey to Aradhe.
It is a rare privilege to have in our midst today two top Government functionaries of the Delta State Government. They are the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development who is responsible for the market project, and the Hon. Commissioner for Economic Planning who plans development projects for the entire State. The two Government officials mentioned above are members of the Delta State Executive Council. They determine or formulate from time to time, the general direction of the State Government on major issues affecting the Delta State. They also take policy decisions at the State Executive Council. Furthermore, they ensure speedy implementation of Government programs as it affects their portfolios.
In addition, it is a great privilege to also have in our midst the Chairman, Isoko North Local Government Council under whose jurisdiction is Aradhe Community. You are all welcome to Aradhe Community.
Your coming to Aradhe today is not by chance. It has been divinely designed by God a long time ago unknown to every one of us. Today is the appointed time by God hence you are with us.
The Book of Ecclesiastes in Chapter 3 and in verse 1 tells us that to everything there is a season, and time for every purpose under heaven. A time to build up as we are here today to do, a time to laugh as we are doing now, a time to dance as we are doing now and a time to embrace as we are doing today (Eccl.3:3-5).
This is the season and you are here for a purpose. This Biblical injunction has been fulfilled today in our lives and in the life of Aradhe Community on the Aradhe market project. It is our hope and prayer that more of this season and purpose under heaven would come to this Community during our life time.
I wish to state that when the Aradhe Modern Market Project was conceptualized early in year 2015, many people in the Community doubted its possibility. The conceptualization which was announced at the year 2015 annual general conference of the Community held from 3 to 5 April 2015, was still doubted. Some asked, how can you contribute N1million and a Government organization would give you N9 million to execute a project? Some accused us that the project is a 419, while some said, don’t mind them, they want to chop our money.
Under the probability whether the market project would be feasible or not, through the grace of God, we were able to raise the Community's counterpart contribution of N1million. With our counterpart fund intact, we approached the Community Driven Development Social Implementation Unit (CDDSIU) at Asaba in Delta State and completed the expression of interest form. And from there on, other processes for the realization of the project followed.
When all the necessary documentation formalities had been completed, the CDDSIU officials visited Aradhe Community on 16 September 2015 for sensitization of the people on the project, to conduct needs assessment program and to put in place by election the members of the Community Project Management Committee (CPMC), it was then and only then that the people of Aradhe began to have a rethink that the project would be real. That day, the Town Hall was filled to capacity, overflowed to the upstairs and outside the Hall. It was a colorful day as we are witnessing today.
Furthermore, on 3 March 2016, CDDSIU officials conducted a training for the 8 elected members of the CPMC, the 9 members of the 3 sub-committees namely, the Procurement Sub-Committee, the Operation and Maintenance Sub-Committee and the Monitoring and Evaluation Sub-Committee as well as 3 members of the Community Development Association's Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer, in this same Town Hall. We erected a sign post of the market at the market site along the express way as directed during the training. Consequently, many people again started to believe that the market project would be real and not a 419 project as erroneously held. The training and the erection of the sign post therefore changed the negative mindset of the majority of my people to positive mindset on the market project.
Today is a new dawn in the life of Aradhe Community. Today is a special day because it is a day that the people of Aradhe have been looking forward to. I thank the Good Lord for making today a reality. Many questions had been asked in the past when our partnership with CDDSIU on the reconstruction of Aradhe market to a modern market was announced. This is because they never believed that a project of this magnitude would be executed in Aradhe by the World Bank in collaboration with the Delta State Government.
Permit me to say that this project is going to be the first of its kind in Erewhosa Ellu, Ovrode and Aradhe Communities and its environs and even in the Isoko North Local Government Area.
It is my pleasure to state that when the Aradhe new market project is fully completed, there would be two markets in Isoko North Local Government Area namely, the Aradhe Modern Market and others. As earlier remarked, the Aradhe new market project under the supervision of the CDDSIU would be first of its kind in Isoko North. Other Communities in the Local Government Area are aware of the transformation of Aradhe market and are therefore struggling to key into the CDDSIU project, to follow the footstep of Aradhe Community initiative in this direction. GREAT, GREAT, GREAT ARADHE! ARADHEKIA is Aradhe.
The Aradhe market day holds on every 7 days. Because of its strategic location, traders come from as far as Patani, Ughelli, Warri, Benin, to mention a few to buy and sell.
The Aradhe market is noted for garri business. Garri from this market are transported to Warri, Lagos. Northern part of the country as well as the Eastern axis of the country. On a market day, one would see 911 Lorries and other commercial vehicles loading Garri in large quantity out of the market.
With the provision of a warehouse storage facility, garri traders in particular, would no longer be looking for storage facilities in and around the market for safe keeping of their goods especially during the raining season. With the new market, storage facility problem would be eliminated. Furthermore, the provision of toilet and water facilities in the market would give traders the desired comfort.
Once the market project is fully completed (Phases 1 and II), I assure you that traders would come from all over the country to buy and sell garri and other food items.
Today is the launching ceremony for the take-off of the construction of Aradhe Modern market project. As we all know, every project whether sponsored by Government or private individual, has a starting time and finishing time.
As we were informed, the market project would be completed within six months, provided we keep to the activities of the schedule of the project. We are aware that in between the construction timeframe, monitoring and valuation of activities of the project schedule would be carried out to ensure that work is going on according to the specified work standard in the Community Development Plan.
We are also aware that 50% of the fund for the project implementation would be released in the first instant, followed by another 30% release and lastly the release of the balance of the 20%. The second and third releases are subject to proper utilization and accountability of the funds.
We wish to assure you that we shall keep to the rules and regulations guiding the execution of the project to the satisfaction of the World Bank, the Delta State Government and the people of Aradhe Community.
The project is our own. We are the one to execute it by direct labour and not to be awarded to a contractor who would take away our money. We are going to use our men and women, as well as our youths to construct the market. It is a project that would empower all of us financially in the community. We are committed to do a good work.
We are fully aware that World Bank project does not need any disturbance. We have educated our people on World Bank policy. We promise to co-operate and create a peaceful atmosphere to successfully execute the market project in accordance with the required specification. Aradhe is a peaceful Community and we have to show it.
Two micro projects are to be executed by the World Bank.
They are the rebuilding of the market as one micro project and the second micro project is the water scheme in the market.
I want to reassure the Hon. Commissioners, the SEEFOR officials the CDDSIU Officials and the Chairman of Isoko North local Government Council that we shall use the funds judiciously for the execution of the two micro projects, to better the life of Aradhe people. By so doing, the standard of living of the people of Aradhe would improve tremendously.
You will observe that the large gathering of people in the Hall is a clear indication that the market project is a very popular one chosen by the people themselves on 16 September 2015. All our women resolutely resolved to leave their farm works and other appointments and gathered here today to welcome our visitors and to be part of history making.
We have a special message for the Delta State Government, particularly to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa. We appreciate him and his Administration for supporting the course of Aradhe Community. The Aradhe market project is being executed in his tenure. Under his tenure, UBEC/SUBEC has completed the renovation of a dilapidated block of five classrooms in Aradhe Primary School. An additional classroom and office were added to the renovated block.
In addition, we would like to remind His Excellency that he should not forget the construction of Aradhe Model College that was approved in year 2014.
You may wish to note that the contract for the construction of the Model College was awarded accordingly. Sadly, between 2014 and today 27 April 2016, the contractor has not mobilized to site. The reason for the delay or refusal of the contractor to mobilize to the School site we do not know. The Model College was chosen on merit by the Delta State Government because of its strategic location along the Asaba-Ughelli-Warri express way to showcase as one of the achievements of the Delta State Government in Isoko North Local Government Area. His Excellency should kindly help us for the school project.
To the Hon. Commissioners here present, we are appealing that you should please help us to talk to your counterpart, the Hon. Commissioner of Education on the Aradhe Model College issue. This is the only opportunity at our disposal in this forum to interact with you. As soon as you get back to your offices, it would be very difficult for us to have access to you. The protocol of booking an appointment to meet with Government top functionaries is very cumbersome because of bureaucracy and heavy workload in Government offices.
The Aradhe Model College project therefore needs the urgent attention of the State Government. Others that were approved at the same time have either been completed or nearly completion. Please, help us to see that the project is speedily completed as we are already in the raining season.
I want to thank the Delta State Government for supporting the project, without which the gathering of today would not have been possible. Particularly, I am thanking the Hon. Commissioners of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development and that of the Economic Planning for their efforts to ensure that the project is sited in Aradhe. Without their support and recommendations, the 90% Government counterpart fund would not have been released for the implementation of the project.
Similarly, I am thanking the Project Coordinator (SEEFOR), the Project Director (CDDSIU), the Senior Management Staff and the junior staff of CDDSIU for working day and night for the realization of this important project. We appreciate your roles and cooperation from the day we first met at the CDDSIU office at Asaba till date. It is a good relation that we have established and we shall continue to keep it.
Furthermore, I would like to appreciate Mrs. Levina Nnedogo Okoh,Chief Community Development Officer, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Ozoro Office who was the officer we first contacted on the market project and through whom we were linked with the CDDSIU office at Asaba. Her immense contributions and advice is the outcome of our gathering here today. Madam, we thank you.
To the Chairman of Isoko North Local Government Council, we thank and appreciate your contribution towards the realization of the Aradhe market project. The moment the Aradhe market project file got to your table, you did not hesitate to approve our application for a letter of recommendation to support the project. This letter is one of the requirements to be fulfilled by project host community. We are proud of you.
To the Aradhe people, I say thank you for your financial and moral support and co-operation with the National Executive of Aradhe Development Union toward the realization of the market project and for making today a great day. You will now agree with me in totality that the Aradhe new market project is not a myth but a reality because seeing is believing. You have come, you have seen and you have heard.
We want to state that we are like the popular "Oliver Twist" who asked for more. We hereby use this golden opportunity to ask for another support and assistance from you for the phase II of the market project and other development projects to be attracted to the Community. We look forward for your approval please when our application would get to your offices.
As we are all aware, this project has a completion and a commissioning time. The God of Aradhe that has started the project for us today will also complete it for us within the scheduled time frame without hiccups or dislocation or what is called float or slack in a project schedule. I pray that delay or problem of any kind is cancelled from this project in Jesus name. You shall all come back to Aradhe Community for the commissioning ceremony of the Aradhe new market as scheduled in Jesus name. We look forward to your coming for the commissioning of the completed project.
We pray the Good Lord to lead you all back to your various destinations in Jesus Name.
Long live Delta State! Long live World Bank/SEEFOR!! Long live Isoko North Local Government Council!!! Long live Aradhe Community!!!! Thank you and God bless you all. Felix E. Omakobia President General Aradhe Development Union