After over a year’s on-the-spot-assessment of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations has commended the Delta State government for meeting international standards in the thematic areas of education, health, agriculture, provision of portable water and sanitation through the micro-credit scheme.
The commendation came in New York as the report of UN assessors who had been in Delta State for over 12 months evaluating the status of core thematic areas in the global body’s MDGs target was unveiled before an international audience.
According to press statement issued in New York by Chike C. Ogeah, Delta State Commissioner for Information, the free medical care programme for children under five years and seniors over 65 as well as the free maternal care up to delivery for pregnant women was highlighted as a crucial project that has reduced infant mortality in Delta State.
On education, the report noted that the introduction of Edu-Marshals, a scheme whereby officials are deployed to all towns in the state to ensure that children of school age are in institutions, alongside the free and compulsory education of children up to secondary education was recommended by the UN report for adoption by other governments in meeting the goals of universal education.
The report which was made public at the on-going UN General Assembly in New York, the United States, was read by Ambassador Shola Omoregie, a former UN Secretary General’s envoy to Africa who led the team of seasoned UN experts to Delta State. The report noted that the implementation of the MDGs remains an unfinished business and highlighted the challenges and bottlenecks that need to be addressed by the state government.
Speaking on the report, a visibly elated Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, governor of the state, thanked the UN saying his peers had thought he had taken too much of a risk by opening himself and the state to such scrutiny by the global body. In his view, it was not a pass or fail affair, as “what I wanted to know are the areas we were doing well, what areas we needed to do more and what areas we needed to alter our strategy”.
Uduaghan said his decision to seek the unbiased assessment of the UN was in the best interest of not just the present generation of Deltans but those growing up and promised to institutionalise the report for Deltans by taking a Bill to the House of Assembly for the findings to become a working document for succeeding administrations.
The governor stated that he will also present the report to President Goodluck Jonathan and urged his colleagues to tow this path as their states could only be better enriched in terms of good governance and transparency by similar assessment.
Apart from Ogeah, other officials on Uduaghan’s entourage are the commissioners for health, Dr. Joseph Otumara; water resources, Dr. Chris Oghenechovwen; higher education, Professor Hope Eghagha and environment, Chief Frank Omare. Others are the commissioner for agriculture, Mr. Misan Ukubeyinje; commissioner for Delta State Oil Producing Areas Developmemt Commission (DESOPADEC), Mr. Timi Tonye; the governor’s senior special adviser on foreign relations who coordinated the UN assessment project, Mr. Oma Djeba; chairman of DESPADEC, Mr. Oritsuwa Kpogho and the members of the Nigerian Business community.