By Felix Ekwu
Warri South is among the twenty-five Local Government Areas in Delta State, Nigeria, with headquarters in Warri. It is regarded as the economic nerve centre of the state and also the major gateway to the sea. The council area is governed and administered from the Warri South Local Government main and sub secretariats situated on the busy Warri/Sapele Road, Warri.
As at 2018, more than ten persons have been elected or appointed chairmen of Warri South Local Government Area, which was carved out from the defunct Warri Local Government Area 1991. These individuals have left their footprints in the administration of the area, with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, producing the Chairmen of the local authority since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
However, there came a time the party and the people Warri South yearned for a paradigm shift in the quality, competence and capacity of the person who should henceforth be in the saddle as chairman to govern the area.
The searchlight at this stage of the political history of the council area beamed on one of the finest young men from the area, who was just thirty-seven years of age but, had demonstrated strong character and will, made tremendous incursions into the politics of Delta state as well as equipped himself intellectually to be reckoned with for any leadership role.
This young man who is versatile and pragmatic is Dr Tidi Michael Ejueyitsi, a PhD holder in Oil and Gas Economics, from the Nigeria premier University of Ibadan. He was the person the PDP looked up to in their yearnings and aspirations for a change in the narrative on the governance of the Warri Local Government ahead of the conduct of the 2017 local government elections for the twenty-five council areas in Delta State.
The resolve of the leadership and members PDP in Warri South on the choice of Dr Tidi to fly the flag of the party for the election was greatly made manifest when Dr Michael Tidi became the only person to purchase the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms for the chairmanship position for the election.
While formally declaring his intention for the position of chairman for Warri South Council to a large gathering of PDP faithful at the party’s secretariat on Esisi Road, Warri, Dr Tidi said his desire is to render service to the people.
He noted that with new thinking things can be done better and differently in the administration of the council under his watch.
He also sued for the support of all to succeed if he emerges as the elected chairman in the election.
With Dr Tidi being the only person that picked for form for the chairmanship position for Warri South Local Government going into the 2017 local government election, the delegates to the party primaries did what they referred to as an affirmation of Tidi for the position.
This according to the Deputy Chairman of the PDP in Delta State, Mr Ada Val Arayenka Esq is in consonance with the PDP being a party that is governed by a well laid down constitution and other regulations.
Other PDP stalwarts in the area which include Omimi Esquire, Comrade Hope George, Victor Agbateyiniro and Tidi’s predecessor, Mr Mofe Edema aka MOG all acknowledged that the emergence of Tidi as the party’s flag bearer was a unifying factor that would translate into a landslide victory for the PDP in the 2017 local government election. True to tell, in the election, the people of Warri South overwhelmingly voted for Dr Tidi to emerge as the 15th chairman of the local government council.
After his inauguration alongside other elected council chairmen by the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa at the Unity Hall of Government House, Asaba, Dr Michael Tidi did not waste time to assume duty with his Vice, Mrs Ann Divine Iniovosa, devoid of the usual political funfair that characterizes the first day of assuming the office of a chairman of the council.
Tidi and his team were warmly received by the then Head of Personnel Management of Warri South Council, Mrs Remi Omatsuli and other top officials of the council.
He told newsmen shortly after assuming office that he was in a hurry to bring his vision and mission to the running of the council hence the omission of the usual elaborate assumption duty ceremony.
Dr Tidi returned all the glory to God for his victory all the polls and to the people for trusting and believing in him to usher new changes to the administration of the council for the overall peace and development of Warri South Local Government Area.
In settling for governance, Dr Michael Tidi outlined six top development agenda which are:
1- Peace and security Socio-economic development
2- Socio-economic development
3- Environmental sanitation
4- Primary healthcare delivery
5- Agriculture and infrastructural development and
6- Capacity building, all with a view to engaging the community leaders, youths and women as well as building a robust working relationship with the revered traditional rulers in the council area.
On peace and security required for the realization of any meaningful development, the Dr Micheal Tidi led administration of Warri South Local Government has to a large extent achieved relative peace in the council area. This, he has been able to achieve through consistent security meetings and other security engagements with security chiefs in the Warri area.
As at when Dr Tidi came on board as chairman of Warri South Council, the challenge of functional vehicles was an issue confronting the Police in the effective discharge of their duties in the area. Considering the paucity of funds that the council was also faced with the administration of Dr Michael Tidi opted to refurbish to the Toyota Hilux used for security patrol by the Nigeria Police ‘A’ Division Warri. For the ‘B’ Divisional Headquarters of the Nigeria Police in the council area, the Tidi administration came to their rescue by procuring an engine for their vehicle. In the case of a team of the Nigerian Army manning the Alele beat which was put in place during the infamous Warri crisis; the Tidi administration procured an engine for their Toyota Hilux van that was bad sharp. Men of the vigilante groups operating in the Warri South Council Area are also not left in the robust security engagements by the Tidi administration as they are being paid monthly stipend all with a view to boosting their operations. With these financial and logistics support coupled with constant informing sharing, the Tidi administration has been able to take proactive steps to curb to the barest minimum the activities of hoodlums and other criminal elements in Warri South Local Government Area.
With the security and peace of Warri South being vigorously pursued and given the deserved attention, the stage was then set for the Dr Michael Tidi administration to roll out its socio-economic development blueprint for the people. This incidentally is an area, Dr Tidi has a comparative advantage based on his modest experience in the area of Economics. In achieving this objective, Dr Tidi first embarked on a visit to some of the investors in the council to further rekindle their confidence in their investments in the area. One of such visits was that to the management of Matrix Energy Group tank farm at Ugbeji/Ifiakporo communities, where Dr Tidi promised to deal with the issue of pockets of youth restiveness raised by the company. He commended the company for diligent execution of its Corporate Social Responsibility CRS to the host communities. During the visit, Tidi sought the company’s collaboration in the sanitation efforts of his administration and requested the company to necessary steps to deal with the indiscriminate parking of some of their petroleum tankers considering the dangers they pose to both the road users and the host communities.
Done with visits to some investors in the Warri South Council Area, Dr Tidi initiated an idea aimed at growing the economy of Warri through the revival of the maritime and other businesses. This, he did by pushing the Warri South Local Government where he is the chairman to collaborate with the Warri Economic Summit to organize the first and second Warri Economic Summits. The fallouts of the summits have no doubt led to the rapid increase in commercial activities in the locality.
The governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, who was the special guest of honour at the first summit, described the initiative as timely as it is important to the economic realities of both Delta State and Nigeria in general.
In furtherance of the socio-economic development agenda of the Tidi administration, Warri South Local Government took over and renovated the Ugbuwangue market which was built by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission DESOPADEC that was bad shape because for some years the structures were not put into use.
Accelerated economic activities are also being experienced in the Warri main market and other markets across the Warri South Council Area as a result of the constant awareness campaign of the Warri Economic Summit. Another big beneficiary of the summit is SAFER which prior to the summit were just in Lagos despite part of the Nigeria Port Authority in Warri being concession to them. The Tidi administration as part as measures to promote skills acquisition is aiming to have a Palm Oil Plantation in one of the communities in Warri South.
In all, through the Warri Economic Summit, the Dr Michael Tidi administration was able to change the negative mindsets of most investors have about due largely to the infamous Warri crisis.
In the area of environmental sanitation, the Tidi administration in building on the achievements of his predecessor, Mr Mofe Edema by ensuring that daily environmental sanitation is observed in Warri South Local Government Area rather than waiting for the state environmental sanitation which takes place every month. In addition, his administration has sustained the sensitization of residents of the area on the need for them to patronize Private Sector Participants PSPs involved in waste collection and disposal in the area. To this end, the Tidi administration has ensured that trucks and other equipment owned by the Warri South Council are functional. Even the council secretariats have also been given a facelift by the Tidi administration to guarantee a conducive work environment for staff and visitors to the council.
As an administration that believes in the bottom to top approach in the governance of the people has embarked on the reactivation and renovation twenty-one water borehole projects across the nineteen DSIEC wards in Warri South.
Health they say is wealth. It is for this reason that the Dr Michael Tidi administration has ensured that matters of primary healthcare delivery in the locality are dispensed with effectively and efficiently. The Warri South Council under his watch as chairman carry out regular stocking of the existing fourteen (14) health centres in the area with drugs and other health consumables. Through private partnership arrangement, the council has been able to upgrade two health centres and singlehandedly renovated the health centre at Ekurede-Urhobo community.
With all that Dr Michael Tidi has been able to achieve in just three years, what is the impression of the Legislative Arm of Warri South Local Government under the leadership of Honourable Hon. Kingsley Edafiajebre. For Hon Edafiadje, the relationship between the legislative arm and the executive arm led by Dr Tidi has been very robust and cordial. He described Dr Tidi as a very proactive young man who has performed better in project execution and therefore scored him an excellent mark of 98%.
For their part, the Head of Personnel Management for Warri South Local Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Minnie Igbrude and the Secretary To The Local Government, Mr Joseph Oribioye, one of the top priorities of Dr Michael Tidi is ensuring good working relationship with the entire of the council and does not joke about their welfare.
Dr Igbrude and Mr Oribioye described Dr Tidi as a very responsive, proactive, pragmatic and intelligent young man with a deep sense of passion and capacity to ensure that the administration of the council continues to run smoothly.
What about the people who gave their mandate in trust three years ago to Dr Michael Tidi to stir the ship of Warri South Local Government? For many of them, Dr Tidi has lived up to expectation and surpassed their imaginations. They likened Dr Tidi as a perfect example of the modern-day clamour of NOT TOO YOUNG TO RULE in the politics of Nigeria.
Dr Michael Tidi as an academic today has to his credit a published book which was launched on Thursday, December 3, 2020, with the title: “Resource Dependence, Violent Conflict And Economic Development In The Niger Delta Region”. As a man who believes he still has more to offer the people in the governance of Warri South Local Government Area, Dr Tidi looks forward to another term in office. With an impactful first tenure, he remains very poised to give his very best to the administration of the local council authority for the sustained development of the area.
As it is commonly said, “When the music is sweet, you play it twice”. It is now left for the PDP as a party on one side and the people of Warri South to put the overall benefits of having Dr Michael Tidi for the second time as chairman of Warri South Council above their individual interest.