By Anthony Okotie
Undoubtedly, the elections have come and gone. But vestiges of the political charade still hold sway, mainly due to democratic bottlenecks, fuelled by ambitious and diehard politicians whose interpretation of victory go beyond its literary meaning.
Hence, the word inconclusive has become a near-cliche in our democratic lexicon. For others, it has become a clairvoyant way of scuttling an electoral process in progress and in an apparent bid to manipulate the collective will of the people. However, in whichever way you toss the coin, winners and losers as well have emerged and the democratic process is near completion.
In Delta State, there is no gainsaying that the political ground was clean enough for Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Chief Great Ogboru of the All People Congress (APC) whose foray into the turbulent Delta politics hangs in the balance. For most political pundits, the candidates of other political parties in the race to the Dennis Osadebey’s House in Asaba were mere appendage, created to complete the democratic process of what was tagged, multi-party democratic system.
However, placing the two major governorship aspirants side by side base on their political sojourn, showed that Governor Okowa surpassed his opponent, Chief Great Ogboru whose major political achievement was his several failed attempts to grab the governorship of the oil-rich state.
An overview of Governor Okowa’s political profile remains an attestation to his accumulated wealth of experience in governance and his impeccable vision of what true leadership means. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa slashed his first political tooth as a grassroots politician in 1991 when he served as Secretary to Ika Local Government council for three years. His humble disposition saw him through as Chairman, Ika North East Local Government Council. The lacuna however experienced in our democratic space due to the military intervention, only helped to sharpened Dr Okowa’s administrative abilities in governance. Hence, the then Governor-elect in the new democratic dispensation of 1999, Chief James Ibori saw it expedient to appoint Dr Okowa, commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources. A year after, he was moved to serve as a commissioner for water resources development.
About three years afterwards, the Governor, Chief Ibori saw Dr Okowa’s appointment into the water resources ministry as a square peg in a round hole. In 2003, Dr Okowa was appointed Commissioner for Health. Here, he brought his expertise to bear on the ministry as virtually all the hospitals and maternities in Delta had the feel of his professional touch.
In 2007, Dr Okowa served as Secretary to the Delta State government, a position that truly puts him in proper stead to taste the weary water of the Delta state governorship with both legs. He became exposed to the rudiments of governance as well as the inherent challenges that lie ahead.
Four years after, Dr Okowa was called upon by his people of Delta North senatorial district to represent them at the upper legislative chamber. For another four years, precisely in 2011, Senator Okowa’s voice was heard, loud and clear at the red chamber, chanting the course of his people.
However by 2016, the urgency for Dr Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to tackle the enormous problems and deprivation of his people head-on, dawn on him. He contested the governorship election under his party of many years, the People Democratic Party (PDP) and won overwhelmingly.
Upon his assumption of office, Okowa demonstrated the qualities of a true leader who has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. His ability to inspire power and energy to get things done to represent what true leadership means.
Attempts to put his vision in perspective shows that Dr Okowa represents the bridge across political learning and ethnic divides. The Governor has demonstrated in various ways that he is a detribalized leader through his evenly spread of infrastructural projects and political appointments in the three senatorial districts of the state. Governor Okowa’s has made massive road construction the focal point of his administration around which development evolved. Through the SMART AGENDA, the Ika born administrator has recorded an unprecedented infrastructural and socio-economic development, including the provision of not less than (three hundred and eighty-seven) 387 ongoing and completed road projects and recently approved seventy road projects across the state.
Apparently in an effort to checkmate youth restiveness and ethnic bickering, the Governor, through his empowerment programme under YAGEP/STEP, created over 17,000 jobs for youth. No doubt, this was accounted for the relative peace enjoyed by the people of Delta state as there is no more idle minds for the devil to prevail upon.
It would be recalled that upon assumption of offices in May 29, 2015, the fourth executive governor of the oil-rich Delta state, Dr Okowa declared unequivocally, “my administration is hinged on the SMART AGENDA, which focuses on wealth creation, peacebuilding, security, urban renewal, affordable and quality health, agriculture and industrialization”.
There is no gainsaying therefore that from the inception of his administration, Governor Okowa has pointed out the beginning of his vision, direct the progress and his second coming as Governor of Delta would help to complete his vision.
His keen understanding of Delta politics and Okowa’s ability to grasp the body language of the people correctly and fundamentally would be more visible in his second term as machinery in motion showed that he, Governor Okowa would surpass the yearnings and aspirations of Deltans. No doubt, the Governor is working assiduously to consolidate on the gains of his first term, leave Delta State far better then he met it in order to live his footprints in the sand of times.
- Anthony Okotie is the co-ordinator, Benin-River Vanguard for Okowa, Delta State.