By Anthony Awunor 

Renewing and developing any State Capital is a big business in terms of city upgrade. In the same vein, managing a body responsible for carrying out this function, requires a serious-minded and an astute administrator. 

In the past two years, Hon Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor, the Director General, Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA) has demonstrated herself as a typical example of the maxim which emphasises the usefulness of “a round peg in a round hole “.

As expected, due to her antecedents, Hon Mrakpor, through total dedication to duty, has almost fulfilled the mandate of the agency which entails preparation of a master plan and a scheme to promote the physical development of the State Capital Territory as well as tackle its ecological and environmental issues. 

So far, Hon Mrakpor has turned around the fortune of the hitherto obscure state agency and made it one of the most competitive State agencies, not just in Delta State but in the country. 

Ab initio, Mrakpor understood what she had been appointed to do and she followed it up judiciously. She was appointed sometime in June 2019 and in September same year, she  issued 21-day ultimatum to landlords and business owners of premises housing both private and public enterprises in Asaba, to clean their environments and vowed to deal decisively with anyone, who fails to keep their premises clean.

She expressed disappointment at the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places, lamenting that the development does not befit the image of the state capital. 

True to her word, Mrakpor has ensured a cleaner Asaba and the capital city is now becoming the envy of other state’s capitals. 

With her strong dedication, she has made a lot of achievements in seeing that Asaba is clean all round. Some of the achievements of Mrakpor since inception in 2019, include, but not limited to the fact that Asaba is now much more beautiful than ever. 

It is therefore, widely accepted by all, that since her appointment as the DG, Asaba has become neat, orderly and attractive to investors.

Gone are the days, hawkers sell their wares at the middle of the road. Shanties have disappeared overnight and reckless truck drivers now know where to park in an orderly manner. This has made the road rehabilitation projects easier and has also left the road corridors safer than ever imagined. It is on record that vehicular road accidents have dropped due to Mrakpor’s efforts to decongest the entire Asaba road network. 

The drainages are now functioning as areas blocked by indiscriminate refuse dumps have been decongested by the state government. 
Shops, especially for groceries and related products, have been provided by the government in strategic places at an affordable rent. Some of the displaced, particularly youths and vulnerable women, have been engaged in diverse skill acquisition programmes with tools and funds.

Ironically, those who are expected to condemn the urban renewal strategy are the very ones applauding the DG; perhaps they understand clearly that Mrakpor is actually working in their own interest and not just to punish them.

Beyond the economic aspects, DSCTDA in collaboration with the founder of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Chief Newton Jibunoh has taken steps to plant trees in strategic locations in the state capital.
The tree planting planting exercise was initiated as part of activities designed to combat desertification and drought. That singular effort has also impacted positively to the beautification of the capital city. 

However, these achievements have not gone unnoticed and have garnered recognition from several institutions with uncountable awards presented to Mrakpor in many forums. 

Some of them include the very accolade from core Asaba indigenes under the aegis of Asaba Concerned Opinion Moulders, who commended the efforts of Hon Mrakpor and pledged to support her efforts towards ensuring a cleaner Capital City.

The group led by Mr. Patrick Chiweta and accompanied by some prominent chiefs and indigenes of Asaba, including Ogbueshi Adizue Eluaka, Ogbueshi Nwanze Oduah (the Odogwu of Ahaba), Mr. Christopher Konwea (Secretary), applauded the DG when they visited the agency recently. 

Unlike many prophets who are rarely recognised at their home towns, Mrakpor was given one of the most prestigious accolades in her home town. It is on record that Mrakpor is the “Most Innovative Public Servant of the Year 2020”, an award conferred on her by Ubulu Ezemu, a leading grassroot publication outfit in Delta State. 

Similarly, the Radio, Television, Theatre And Arts Workers’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), Delta State Council, also conferred the Outstanding Public Servant awards on  Hon. Mrs. Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor. 

In the same vein, the governing council of Heritage Plus, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in July, 2020, honoured Hon Mrakpor, as the Outstanding Delta Personality of the Month. The award which was presented to Mrs. Mrakpor at her office is in recognition of the successes recorded by the DG in the clean up and beautification of Asaba and her environs. 

Also the University of Benin Alumni Association, Asaba Branch, during their 2nd Annual Lecture conferred Mrakpor with the “Special Urban Renewal And Human Capital Development Award”.

Adding her voice to the the retinue of praises for Mrakpor was the reigning Omu Anioma and Okpanam, Her Royal Majesty Obi Martha Dunkwu.

According to Obi Dunkwu, what Hon Mrakpor has done in Asaba so far, is worthy of commendation.

Ọmụ Dunkwu who doubles as the Ọmụ of Okpanam Community, Oshimili north local government area of the state, expressed her satisfaction with the job done by the DG, in giving a facelift to the capital city.

In addition, Cornerstone News Nigeria, in October last year also presented Hon Mrakpor with the award of Public Servant of the Year. 

As a great and voracious achiever, accolades are not new to her. In fact, before her appointment as DSCTDA DG Hon Mrakpor had bagged several prestigious awards which include; Paul Harris Fellows Award USA; Anioma Voice most accessible Anioma Representative 2015 Award; Heroes Best Legislator Award; Delta State NUJ Award of Excellence; Nigerian Female Journalist Award; National Council of Women Society Award; Christ Ambassador in Office Award; Ubulu Uku Community Service 1982 Award; United Nations – Polac, Ambassador for Peace Award, etc.

Meanwhile, Mrakpor has acquired many years of leadership experiences both in community development, politics, public service that criss-cross all aspects of human development. 

The Executive Governor of Delta State, Sen. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa appointed Hon Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor as the Director General, Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA) in July 2019. 

The Ubulu Uku strong woman and a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) represented Aniocha North-Aniocha South-Oshimili North-Oshimili South in the House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019.

Prior to her election into the National Assembly, Hon Mrakpor served as a member of the Delta State House of Assembly for Aniocha South from 2007 to 2015.

In the past, the evangelist has served the party at different capacities and she is married with children.

No doubt, Mrakpor as a multi-talented, resourceful leader has shown that she is the right person to take DSCTDA to the desired level and definitely, she can perform better when given higher responsibilities in the future.

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