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By Ajiri-Oghene Oreh
It was a day of honour for Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Governor of Delta State when the people of Delta State rolled out the drums from all the ethnic nationalities in the State to collectively honour him for his emergence as the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, the PDP. It was historic and truly a grand reception for a worthy Deltan who has brought Honour to the State and her people who decided to paint the beautiful city of Asaba red.
The day was Thursday, June 23rd, 2022, the atmosphere was mild with a celebratory outlook, and the well planned homecoming event of Governor Okowa beginning from the Asaba International Airport turned out to be a fiesta of great magnitude. It was a whirlwind celebration that saw just not only the younger generation rejoicing heartily but members of the older generation. It was indeed gyration by all and sundry, ululating in optimism that come next year, 2023 the State will produce the next Nigeria’s Vice President and it was simply unbelievable.
As one drove down the roads from Onitsha, Ughelli and Benin leading to Asaba, Delta’s Capital Territory, and en route Asaba International Airport at every junctions and turns what one encountered were banners of different sizes and different inscriptions for the Delta Governor’s homecoming just as the people resplendent in different traditional attires of green and white trooped to the airport to welcome the Governor and others to the Cenatoph center, venue of the grand reception and homecoming ritual.
Okowa, he is the first Deltan to be nominated by the People’s Democratic Party to be a Vice Presidential Candidate and the PDP remains the only alternative political party with national outlook, formidable structures and ideologically committed to rescue Nigeria and modernize and industrialized in order to create employment and empowerment opportunities, peace, security amongst others. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar ‘s choice of Okowa shows he is a friend of Delta State and the Niger Delta region. His choice of Okowa as Vice Presidential Candidate portrayed him as a nationalist and pan-Nigerian. Delta State and the rest states stand to gain more the dividends of democracy from the Atiku/Okowa ticket. With Okowa as Vice President, Delta and Niger Delta will achieve a lot as the other parties have no clear agenda for the development of the people of the South South region.
There is no doubt to the fact that, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State is a national political figure who enjoys nationally, a rare heroic reverence. Charismatic and visionary, he has unrivaled influence among his colleagues and he is known for always providing strategic leadership. A team player and ever reliable, Senator Okowa is man of resilience and brilliance, focused, foresighted, calculative. He is endowed with profound thinking, a gift of the garb. Dr Okowa is a master political strategist of the highest order who over the last three decades as a politician has proven again and again he is a political game changer.
Undoubtedly, Okowa has the goodwill of his Delta people and those of the south-south region which he serves as Governor of Delta State and Chairman, South South Governors’ Forum. Delta State from the Niger Region has been known for voting en masse for the PDP at the general elections. Delta remains politically strategic in Nigeria and politically mobilized, the votes coming out from Delta State and few other states will determine the outcome of next year’s election. As the state leader of the PDP in Delta State, and a frontline political leader from the Niger Delta region, Governor Okowa has been in the forefront of issues affecting and the challenges confronting the people.
Truism, tinsel was not built in one day. And so, systematically, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has over the years built and still building political structures that is not only intimidating but it cut across Delta State and stretched beyond the territorial border and boundary of the State. If exist a school of politics then Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is the principal! He has over the last 8years to be precise proven his strength and mettle as a political leader who has attained a national political significance with large follwership and friendship.
Okowa has been playing significant roles in the building of Delta into a modern State that is economically viable. He has an excellent records of public service performance as Chairman, Ika North-East (1991-1993), Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources (1999-2001), Commissioner for Water Resources (2001-2003), Commissioner for Health (2003-2006), Secretary to the Delta State Government (2007-2011), Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011-2015) and now as Governor of Delta State (2015 till present). His achievements have been subject matters of the many esays written in his honor, recently those scribbled to mark his seven years in price as Governor. However, a long walk or tour of the state from Asaba to Ozoro, to Ughelli, to Oghara will lead to remarkable encounters with numerous developmental projects and programmes he comceptualised and he deftly brought to realities. He has made and still making his marks in the areas of human capital development and socioeconomic empowerment, education, roads, others which bettering the lives of Deltans and non-Deltans
Politically speaking, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has done well as a chieftain of the PDP, having served as Chairman of the party’s national conventions in the past and also chairing and co-chairing the party’s national campaign councils for the gubernatorial elections of some States of the Federation. He has been a bridge-building politician who played many roles in the party’s reconciliation efforts in order to galvanize the party as a formidable force in the rescue of Nigeria. And the last PDP National convention at Abuja that produced Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the party, Governor Okowa served as the Chairman of the Convention’s sub-committee on accreditation.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s homecoming on Thursday shows the people’s acceptability of him. His emergence rekindles the genuine sense of worth of all Deltans. Probably that was the reason they chose to honour him the way they did. On hand to witness the grand reception event were frontline politicians, traditional rulers, religious leaders, public functionaries, party chieftains and faithfuls who has brought honor to them. For now, there is not doubt that this is the moment for Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Governor of Delta State and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP Vice Presidential Candidate.
*Oreh writes from Otor-Igho, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State.