By Victor Efeizomor
The political class has come to be associated with negative tendencies like, deceit, exploitation, scandal, fraud, venality, treachery and corruption.
However, there are some who have etched their names on the hall of fame and held their heads up high through their track records of outstanding achievements and contributions to humanity and their efforts towards enhancing socio- political and economic development of the society.
This group of decent and principled politicians shares a common interest, desire and ideology of integrity , striving to earn the status of statesman, by contributing their quarter to the advancement of humanity and transforming the society for the betterment of mankind.
It is on this premise that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beamed its search light on the African continent, to seek for men and women of honor and uprightness, to bestow the prestigious Laurie of the Nelson Mandel leadership Prize, in recognition of the humility of Nelson Mandela.
It is in the light of this that the UN through independent investigation found Governor Ifeanyi Okowa fit and proper to get the prize having painstakingly considered his track records and developmental policies and economic politics.
It is often said that the margin of victory in life can sometimes be measured in inches. No one can doubt the political significance of Okowa in Nigeria and in Delta State in particular. One can say without any fear of contradiction the governor is a force to reckon with and has remained the singular most important political factor with regards to the dynamics of politics and administration .
Presenting the award to Okowa a fortnight ago, Ambassador Joseph Rankin, Governor General for Africa, International Commission of Diplomatic Relations, Human Rights and Peace Ambassador for the African Region – International Human Rights Commission, in a brief but impressive ceremony held at the Government House, Asaba, said he was excited over Okowa ‘s prodigious pedigree.
Rankin explained that “nominees for the award must have made substantial and long-term contributions in furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights on the African continent,” adding: “The Mandela Medal is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of human rights in Africa.”
He said Okowa was carefully selected by a special committee comprising the General Assembly members of the IHRC and the Economic and Social Council of the International Commission of Diplomatic Relations, Human Rights and Peace, noting that the creation of job opportunities through skill acquisition programme of the state government that will make the beneficiaries millionaires within a decade was laudable.
The Ambassador observed that apart from job creation which the governor administration has done very well through the Job Creation Office, Okowa’s administration had also put structures in place to ensure that the rights of the citizens are protected.
Significantly, the prize did not come as a surprise to many who are abreast with the anticident and protigious track records of Okowa in the area of administration and politics just as it has been chorused that the award would no doubt spur him to greater challenges as he has set out a task for himself to fight for the less privileged and the defenseless in the society.
Since assuming office as the executive governor of Delta State, Okowa has left no one in doubt as to his preparedness to tackle poverty, upgrade infrastructure and improve on human capital development and to grow the economy of the state.
In essence, Okowa has had to take drastic measures to reposition the state on the part of economic growth , away from the business as usual attitude to a more accountable and result oriented policy direction, away from the days when opulence is displayed in political leadership in the face of wanton deprivation of the less privileged masses.
In his typical modesty, Okowa has remained a silent achiever who prefers to allow his accomplishments speak for him; these uncommon characteristics stimulated the eagle eyes of the UN in his direction for the presentation of the well-deserved prestigious Nelson Mandela Prize for leadership. Congratulations, your excellency.