Delta State and Okowa’s worthy example
By Matthew Ozah
George Orwell was quoted to have said about one of his novels, Animal Farm “If it does not speak for itself, it is a failure”. At the end of the day, the novel did not speak for itself because of what critics refer to as its fanciful treatment of the suppression of a revolution by tyrants.
Also, it is always less successful for anyone to husband the reputation of any politician or public figure without some definite achievements to anchor with.
Therefore, praise singing without any evidence will always be an exercise in futility and a venture that will not satisfy its mission or see the light of day.
In that case, the time has come to smash the gloomiest myths about Nigeria’s politics by giving honour to whom it is appropriately due.
This is because it is human nature and particularly in the character of mischievous persons to always focus on the bad news rather than the good ones about people, events and places.
For instance, if you ask a cross section of people this question: Do you believe or trust Nigeria’s politicians? The answer that you may get is not farfetched. Of course, majority will respond negatively due to the ugly political activities and poor performance of political office holders across the country.
However, for the incumbent Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, he does not need any propaganda machinery or image laundry from political contractors to appear clean before the people. Okowa’s administration is not in the business of talking or seeking who to speak on its behalf.
Rather, it has chosen to set out goals and has determined to stop at nothing than to develop the state. As it were, the people have become the image launders and positive mouthpiece of the Okowa’s government.
This is because, for twenty eight years since Delta State was created the indigenes have not seen the level of infrastructural development save for the tenures of Felix Ibru, the first civilian governor of the state and that of the Odidigborigbo, James Ibori.
Politics has not been idle or meaningless under Okowa’s administration and in trying to curb the bigoted behaviour associated with government contracts, the check and balance has become an institution. The state government is doing its best to change the complexion of politics from self-enrichment to selfless service to the people and state.
However, it would not be easy to dismiss some elements of glib among politicians in the state. Without doubt, Okowa has definitely taken the state to unique heights and on the lips of Deltans, speaks volume of his performance.
This writer traversed the state recently, and the level and quality of road rehabilitation I saw in Sapele, is absolutely amazing. Roads in the ancient city among others in the state are either rehabilitated or constructed afresh to link up villages and towns. For instance, the Akumazi/Ekuoma road, Owerre-Olubor/Uteogbeje road, Umunede/Otolokpo road, Mbiri Emuhu road among others scattered across the state.
Politics and performance have not been this smooth in the state. Therefore, it is magical in the eyes of many and to show the level of their ecstasy, Deltans now refer to governor Okowa as ‘The road Master’. However, the governor being who he is, simply selfless, humble and filled with humane character does not allow arrogance of power to engulf him.
Therefore, he constantly attributes his success to the peace that exists among the people in the state. The other day, while receiving members of the state council of traditional rulers, he said, “Traditional rulers in the state have done so much for us, you are architects of peace in our state. When the various Kingdoms are at peace with themselves, God will bless the state…”
Indeed, Okowa is a blessing to the state looking at the arrays of achievements connected to his government. It has always been the headache of political parties during elections to worry about who occupies the Government House. Ordinarily, Deltans have no angst about who is the henchman or woman, which makes it possible for citizens of the state to ask questions when things are going wrong and speak in praise when it is necessary just as it is the case now.
The task and demonstration that government is capable of fighting off corruption to a marginable extent has shown in Okowa’s performance and attitude towards the business of governance. According to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who, recently inspected facilities at the Asaba International Airport said: “Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is always a very serious minded person, very focused, principled and always committed to doing the right thing, I have been informed how he ensured transparency in the concessioning of the Asaba airport. Some of his friends bid for the airport and lost, and in the interest of his people, he did not interfere and did not care whether his friends lost but what he wanted was quality and the right people to run the airport and I think this is what will help our nation”.
The conclusion of this matter is that Okowa’s performance has provided an enduring underpinning that government is a continuum.
Instead of chasing shadows in the name of probe, investigation and heaping blames on previous administration, Okowa has chosen to hit the ground running. Equally encouraging under Okowa’s administration is the ability to house all government agencies and parastatals under one roof at the state secretariat.
This has not only saved the government huge revenue on rents but also allow quick attention to the business of governance. It is the citizens and not the governor’s men who should testify to a ‘hypothesis’ that, ‘so, government can work?’