By FIDELIS EGUGBO
Audio money, audio project, and several audio activities have become regular terms used to refer to statements that are not real or promises that cannot be kept.
In the political circles, politicians were known for audio statements until the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa came into governance with sincerity, letting the people know that they can be on the same page with those that they have elected into office.
It might interest you to note that the governor has continually reiterated the need for political office holders to relate fully with their people in their various communities. To the governor, you cannot claim that you are representing a people you cannot sit and dine with or discuss freely with.
Last December, while others were confirming their flight tickets for holidays in foreign lands, Senator Okowa retired to his country home, Boji-Boji, Owa for the yuletide and stayed with his people all through the season. It was really, interesting to see the governor mingling with his people, looking so simple without security aides and without iota of fear.
His behaviour during the yuletide singled him out from his contemporaries as someone that can be described as fully at home with his people. At the Agbor Township Stadium during the finals of Okowa Football Tournament, one had to take a cursory look to find the governor in the crowd as there were no preferential treatment; in the midst of the spectators, cheering the footballers and analysing the game without inhibition. The seats specially arranged for him were vacant as he chose to be with his people who also saw him as theirs without looking at the toga of “Governor. ”
With Governor Okowa on the saddle, audio projects or programmes are non-existent as promises are matched with actions. This has to a large extent made the governor to be very free with the people. Governor Okowa weighs his words before voicing them knowing that they are his bonds and God has also, given him the means to keep to his words which has earned him the nickname, Ekueme, meaning, the man who keeps to his promise.
Just yesterday, Saturday, January 25, 2020, the governor was in Isoko North and Isoko South local government areas to inaugurate series of projects. Among the projects inaugurated were the Opute Hall, Ozoro; Ultra Modern Civic Centre, Uzere; Model Secondary School, Uzere; Students Hostel at the Delta State University, Oleh Campus and Six number of 3 bedroom bungalows for visiting Lecturers also at DELSU, Oleh Campus. The projects were executed through the Delta State Oil Producing Communities Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
Last Tuesday, the Delta State Executive Council had approved the construction of 11 roads across the state. All over the world, transportation remains the driving factor behind thesuccess stories of their economies. Governor Okowa as a tested technocrat, is aware of this and has also surrounded himself with the best brains which gave room for proper analysis of programmes before their execution.
It was therefore, not a surprise that ocean-going ships now berths in Warri Port while the Asaba Airport has also, regained its international status.
No doubt, several roads have been constructed by Governor Okowa administration, which has also earned him the sobriquet, Road Master. But, because, Nigeria is still being confronted with series of challenges, there are several more roads to be constructed in the state as the more road projects are awarded, the more the people yearn for more. To the people of Ugiliamai and Ossissa communities in Ndokwa West and Ndokwa East local government areas of the state for instance, they believe that the less than 6 kilometres Ugiliamai/Ossissa road, which is just after the Ossissa bridge will also, be added among the roads that will get attention by the government as its construction will shorten travelling distance to Abraka, Obiaruku and other places and also, assist in quick movement of agricultural produce to the urban markets.
At that post-Exco press briefing attended by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, that of Works and Youths Development, Chief James Auguye and Mr Ifeanyi Egwuyenga respectively last week, it was disclosed that the roads approved by Exco for construction include, Oniore/High Court road, Orerokpe; Obi Azikwuo Street, Boji Boji, Owa; Alika Street in Boji Boji, Owa; Ogbeima internal roads in Bomadi Local Government Area; Okerenkoko township road phase 4; Pamol Road in Ethiope West local government area; Construction of additional drains at the Ekwuoma/Umunede road, a road that has already been completed; DDPA road phase 4, Agbor, in Ika South; Igbite Street, Staff Quarters in Okpe Local Government Area; reconstruction and resurfacing of Alihame/Agbonta/Oki road and Tete road in Boji Boji, Owa, Ika North East. The Commissioners also disclosed that strong measures to curb irregular migration were also approved at the Exco meeting.
So, yesterday, it was not unexpected to see the people coming out in their large numbers to cheer Governor Okowa and show appreciation for the projects executed. The governor in his down-to-earth attitude to the affairs that has to do with Deltans and humanity in general, said, “This administration has always been on course. We have come to Isoko to inaugurate some infrastructural development projects executed by the Delta State Oil Producing Communities Development Commission (DESOPADEC), an arm of government.
“We are committed to providing adequate service to our people and we will remain focused; as you can see, the amendment of the laws establishing DESOPADEC has given rooms for more resources to go into provision of infrastructure; several communities in the oil producing communities are feeling the impact of governance. We have commissioned five projects and I am glad that all the agencies of government are responding favourably to the needs of our various communities. Isoko people are friends of my administration and we will do our best to keep to our promises as evident with the projects executed across the state,” he said.
In his remarks at the venues of the inauguration, the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Chief Askia Ogeah commended Governor Okowa for giving government agencies the freedom to execute people-oriented programmes.
Those who spoke at the events including Prof. Abednego Ekoko, Mrs Cordelia Obaro, Hon. Nicholas Areh, Dr. (Pharm.) Nelson Ejakpovi thanked Governor Okowa for providing the enabling environment for democratic dividends to be provided.
Prof. Ekoko stated that it was a good omen for such number of projects to be inaugurated in Isoko land while Mrs Obaro who is the Principal of Model Secondary School, Uzere expressed joy that a lot of infrastructure to aid teaching and learning have been provided.
To Dr. Ejakpovi, “Chief Askia Ogeah is a grassroots politician, a true Isoko son who is using his position as the Managing Director of DESOPADEC to complement what Dr Okowa is doing in the area of providing infrastructure in the state. As you can see, these projects will greatly impact on the lives of the people.”
Also yesterday, Governor Okowa left Isoko directly to Warri where he attended the 40th anniversary celebration of Warri Diocese of the Anglican Communion.
Leadership entails a lot and versatility is very important, especially for the office of the Governor of an egalitarian state like Delta. Governor Okowa has displayed a very good knowledge of the state and has proven that he is capable of piloting its affairs and as we move on into the year, we hope to see more progressive people. But, as individuals, are we doing enough to complement his efforts for us to achieve our desired Delta State?
As individuals or groups, are we greasing the joints of government for it to work seamlessly or throwing spanners to the wheels for it to grind to a halt?
We should be conscious of the fact that he who throws stone into a market place may not know the victim and engage in right actions, especially for us to have a society where things work.
Governor Okowa is but, an individual who is saddled with the responsibility of leading Deltans; he is not a “Mr Know It All” or “Mr Do It All”. As such, all hands must be on deck for us to contribute to the success story of the administration with the full knowledge of the fact that the achievements of the government will impact on us positively or negatively for a long time to come based on the roles that we are playing. And in tune with democratic tenets, we chose the government and if we contribute to its failure, we have all failed and if we make it to succeed, by implications, we shall reap the full benefits of the success story.
God bless Delta State.
(As published on page 10 of The Pointer Newspaper of Sunday, January 26, 2020.)