By Lucky Oji
Hon. Kennedy Eyube is a chieftain of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Okpe local government area of Delta State. In this interview with Journalists at Asaba, the Okpe-born politician cum businessman assessed the performance and achievements made by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the last four years and why the next four years would be promising.
A few days ago, precisely on 12th July, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN, was in Delta State and commissioned 20.29 km road project executed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Ogulagha, the longest road to have been constructed by any administration in the history of Delta State. Are you surprised?
Yes, it was surprising because even the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who came to commission the 20.29 km road project executed by Governor Okowa in Ogulagha, was also surprised to see such a gigantic project executed in the creeks and riverine communities.
The commissioned 20.29km project is worth celebrating and commending because there has been this wrong insinuation that government is finding it difficult to construct roads in the creeks and riverine areas. But the Road Master, Governor Okowa has changed that narrative and corrected that wrong notion. More so, don’t be surprised that the Federal Government may have been misled to believe that it is a very difficult task to develop the riverine communities, but thanks to the governor for the various road projects executed across riverine communities in Delta State.
Vice President Osinbajo, after commissioning the projects, stands in a better position to pass the good message to President Muhammadu Buhari of what Governor Okowa has done, and that it requires just goodwill, genuine commitment and determination to develop the Niger Delta region, particularly the creeks and riverine areas.
Our amiable Vice President couldn’t hide his dissatisfaction over the poor performance and failure by the relevant Federal Government interventionist agencies established and regularly funded by the Federal Government to develop the Niger Delta region. I totally agree with the Vice President that the people of Niger Delta have not felt the impact of the Niger Development Commission, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Amnesty Programme. Every year, the Federal Government releases funds to these agencies but nothing on ground to justify the usage of funds and the existence of these agencies.
With the road projects in Ogulagha and Okerenkoko in Gbaramatu kingdom, constructed by Governor Okowa, one will sincerely say that he has sent a good signal to President Buhari and the Federal Government that the creeks, riverine areas in Niger Delta region can be developed.
Governor Okowa has been given another four years mandate, but are you satisfied with the Governor’s performance?
To be honest with you, I am very satisfied with the performance of Governor Okowa. In the last four years, he actually made it clear that governance is all about legacy. For instance, the historic execution and commissioning of the 20.29km road projects in the creeks and riverine areas no doubt is a remarkable legacy made by Governor Okowa.
It will surprise you to know that before the last governorship election, I mobilized few of my boys and sent them around the state, to identify all projects being executed by Governor Okowa in the last four years. I was overwhelmed by the results and feedback. We must give it to Governor Okowa, he has done well in infrastructure, particularly with roads connecting rural and urban areas, that is the essence of democracy. You can imagine that despite the limited resources ( federal allocation, derivation and IGR), the Governor has been very diligent and transparent in the management of the state’s resources. The federal allocation and derivation to Delta State had dropped due to the decline in the price of crude oil, even our IGR had also dropped because most of the multinational and oil servicing companies that were operating in Delta State, paying good income tax to the coffers of the state, had left to other neighbouring states. These oil companies left Warri, Delta State because the government then failed to provide the enabling environment for the companies, which has affected the IGR of the state. Interestingly, our Governor Okowa, who already knew of all these challenges and immediately he assumed office in 2015, he vowed that the only way to fulfil his campaign promises and deliver dividends of democracy to Deltans was to spend the state’s resources judiciously and transparently.
Governor Okowa has done well in providing security, sustenance of peace, infrastructure, job creation and empowerment, where he had made a very great difference. And I want to believe that the next four years will be for consolidation and improvement. You can see how Deltans voted for him for a second term at the last governorship election.
But, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Great Ogboru is in Court challenging the re-election of Governor Okowa
Yes, it is Chief Great Ogboru’s constitutional right to approach the Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the last governorship election that returned Governor Okowa for the second term. I am an Urhobo, but I will sincerely advise Chief Ogboru to have a rethink and withdraw the case and support Governor Okowa to further deliver more dividends of democracy to Deltans in the next four years. One fact is very clear that the APC in Delta State went into the last February and March elections a divided house, and even Chief Great Ogboru and members of the APC in Delta State knew very well in their conscience that they never prepared for the last governorship election in Delta State, and so Ogboru and APC couldn’t have won the governorship election as being claimed by APC and Ogboru at the Tribunal.
The last four years of Governor Okowa has been very fruitful and commendable. The APC members in Delta State can attest to this fact and achievements made by Governor Okowa. Therefore, there is a need to allow the governor to consolidate and improve on his laudable works in the state. Yes, Governor Okowa is human and wouldn’t be able to meet or satisfy the needs of all Deltans, however, his smart agenda, infrastructural and job creation revolution had been impactful and beneficial to most Deltans.
Governor Okowa is working and Deltans are seeing it, the Vice President Osinbajo has also witnessed it. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari is now convinced that our governor is doing well in Delta State and the people are happy.
Are you satisfied that the two prominent sons of Okpe, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and Chief James Augoye retained their positions of Speaker of the House of Assembly and Commissioner for Works, respectively?
Yes, as you rightly said, that is the truth. They are very respected leaders of Okpe and both retained their respective positions. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori was re-elected Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly while Chief James Augoye came back as Honourable Commissioner for Works. We, the Okpe people are very happy about it and are grateful to Governor Okowa for making it possible. Furthermore, the Governor has made some important appointments, the SSG, Chief of Staff, Commissioners, Special Advisers and you see that Governor Okowa has appointed capable persons to assist him to achieve the Stronger Delta Agenda in the next four years. More appointments will come, but what is important is that those to be appointed should key into the vision of the Governor and collaborate effectively with him to ensure that the next four years will be more accomplishing than the last four years.