By Festus Ahon, ASABA
THE silver jubilee celebration of the creation of Delta State, Thursday kicked off with cultural display by all the ethnic groups in the state. The ethnic groups which took their turns to perform, thrilled Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was clad in white native attire matched with red cap, his deputy , Mr Kingsley Otuaro, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Monday Igbuya, other top government functionaries and guests with their dance steps, drums and traditional songs.
The cultural display at the Cenotaph was heralded by street performance with Okowa leading Delta North, his Deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro leading Delta South and Chief Monday Igbuya leading the dancers from Delta Central.
Speaking during the ceremony, Okowa said that the events for the anniversary which climaxed yesterday with economic and investment summit, were wholly sponsored by the private sector.
Okowa said; “At 25 years, there is reason to celebrate Delta State, one thing that I know is that Delta is a land of peace, a land where love flows; though, tongue may differ, we are united and with what I have seen this afternoon, I am convinced that I am leading a set of people with strong will to succeed, we are on a progressive path.
“There is hunger out there but there is hope for tomorrow, be prayerful; pray for our state and our country, we need to embrace peace and ensure that peace is sustained, we need to return to the good old days when Delta was the greatest producer of oil and gas in the country,” he said.
Some prominent Deltans who spoke to Vanguard on the 25th anniversary of the state, held that the creation of the state with its capital in Asaba was not a mistake but the hand of God at work. They said the fusing of Anioma into Delta State was the greatest thing that ever happened to the State and it’s citizenry
Those who spoke were Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Comrade Ovuozorie Macauley, Olorogun John Oguma, Olorogun Taleb Tebite, Chief Denis Omovie, Chief Sheriff Oborevbori, Mr Sunny Onuesoke, Mr Patrick Ukah, Mr. Newworld Safugha, Chief Henry Sakpra, Chief Chika Ossai, Mr Steve Ovedje, Chief Smith Asohro and HRM Obi Nkechukwu Osadume 1.
Olorogun John Oguma said; “you cannot compare the infrastructural development of Delta State with those states that were created the same time with it. We are number one in terms of
development, peace, stability and oneness.
Hon. Denis Omovie said; “Delta State at 25; I will say we are growing and also some of us are very fortunate to be part of the growth of the state up to a point
where growth is seemingly stultified because of paucity of funds. We thank God we have Governor Arthur Okowa who has been trying in the midst of this scarce resources to manage the affairs of Delta State and see that life goes on unlike other states where workers salaries are owed for five, six months. I think government of Delta State is showing enough presence in all the cities of the state. We are doing well.
Senator Emmanuel said Aguariavwodo on his part, “First and foremost, we thank God for the creation of Delta State. We are happy. We, the people that make up Delta State are now living together as one united people. So, first I say thank God for giving us Delta State, even though some people initially might not have been happy, but today we have come together as one people and we have very many reasons to celebrate.
Also speaking, Olorogun Taleb Tebite said “Delta is now united, the three senatorial districts are united in the way we do our things. Everybody is happy with what the government is doing. Things are a little bit tough due to the down turn in the economy. So we have reason to celebrate”.
Chief Sheriff Oborevbori said; “We have come a long way; the different governments have impacted Delta State in a very major way. There have been road and other infrastructural developments in all parts of the state. So I want to strongly appeal to Deltans to embrace peace and support Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in his effort to improve on the unity and development of the state”.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah said: “I am happy to be a Deltan. I am quite sure every Deltan will be proud to be a Deltan. When we started, not everybody gave it a chance to be able to stand this long and we have proved it to people that God’s hand can never be
Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay said; “I think so far we must thank God that at 25 we have come of age, and talking of development, yes there is no doubt that we would have craved to have more than what we have today but comparing Delta to other states in the country, you will say we have tried”.
Barrister Newworld Sefugha said; “First and foremost we thank God for Delta at 25. The 25 years since the creation of Delta State is a thing of joy to us as Deltans and to the people of the South South and indeed Nigeria. You will agree with me that Delta State has come of age.
Chief Henry Sakpra said: “It is fantastic. Delta State is moving forward in terms of development. There has been a lot of development. I want to plead with Deltans to be patient and continue in their prayers for this state”.
Chief Chika Ossai said: “Thank God for Delta at 25 and for keeping us together as one indivisible State despite the initial agitations that trailed the creation of the state 25 years ago. I urge the people of the to remain united and shun acts that could cause disunity amongst us.”
On his part, Mr Sunny Onosoke said; “It is marvelous; everybody is seeing what is happening in Delta State at 25. Delta at 25 is something you have to understand that the great men behind the scene have done it before. Olorogun Felix Ibru was the first, he laid the master plan, Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanul Uduaghan came and consolidated it. So most of the things you see today are legacies of these past Governors which Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is a part of.
Mr Steve Ovedje said; “Talking of bridges of unity, the truth remains that, if you look at the history of the creation of the state, when it was named Delta State with headquarters at Asaba, then nobody believed we would be able to exist as a state for five years. We thought the next day the state was going to break into two. So that we have come 25 years from that point of disagreement means that a lot has been achieved. There is a better understanding now, there is stability now, there is
unity, there is a lot of inter-tribal marriages, people are doing businesses together. Asaba as a state capital has come to stay.”
On his part, Chief Smith Asohro said; “we have every reason to celebrate Delta State at 25. We thank God for the Governors we have had and we thank God for giving us Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who is improving on what he met on ground in terms of infrastructural development and unity of the state”.
HRM Obi (Barrister) Nkechukwu Osadume 1 said; “We thank God for bringing us this far as a people, fervently praying for peace, sustained development and stronger unity among us all. I felicitate with all Deltans, particularly the governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa who by God’s arrangement is the governor today.”