Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa
Contemporary political observers watching the happenings in Delta State would rightly agree that hard work doesn’t kill; rather hard work in the right direction delivers enduring fruits. It yields life that history acknowledges ultimately. That is the enviable story of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State as he marks his 59th birthday today July 8, 2018.
To Okowa, the ideal celebration would not be to organize an elaborate feast, to bring friends and well-wishers together for a mother of all feasts. Doing so is not in his character. If there would be a get-together at all it would be with his immediate family as he has done in the last three years as the governor. Therefore, It’s only appropriate to seize the occasion of his birthday to examine his relentless work schedule that has benefited the state as he has turned the entire state to a construction site with over 300 road projects awarded in the three senatorial district and over 120 completed and commissioned.
For the first time in the history of the State, the Okowa led administration commissioned concret paved roads in Burutu, the headquarters of Burutu local government area. While addressing the people of the area, Gov. Okowa noted that he will like to be remembered as the Governor who developed the riverine areas of Delta State. In the same local government area, the Okowa administration is constructing the 19.2km Obotobo I, Obotobo II, Sokebolou and Yokri roads where a mobile asphalt plant had to be installed in the area because of the terrain.
Just a few days ago precisely July 3, Governor Okowa commissioned 4 road projects in Aniocha North Local Government Area viz
the Rehabilitated Issele-Uku/Issele-Mkpitime/Onicha-Olona Road, Phase I of Issele-Uku/Onicha-Uku/Ugbodu/Ukwu-Nzu/Obomkpa/Idumu-Ogo Road, the rehabilitated Issele-Uku/Onicha-Ugbo Road, and Phase I of Onicha-Ugbo/Ubulu-Uku Road.
The governor has received notable recognition for outstanding governance and the service to the people, his Alma Mater, the University of Ibadan awarded him the Alumni of the Year while the University of Nigeria, Nsukka awarded him the Dignity of Man Award while Daily Independent Newspapers awarded him the Independent Man of the Year 2017. For a man who has demonstrated severally that experience can indeed be an asset in governance, the governor is always calm and dutiful especially in a state that is so complex to govern. For sure, Delta under the pragmatic, humanist and visionary leadership of Governor Okowa can only get better.
That in marking his third year in office, Governor Okowa spent a whole month in commissioning several landmark projects dotted across the three Senatorial Districts of the state has become a template and a reference point for most of the states today. Governor’s Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, his Bayelsan counterpart Seriake Dickson and Governor Dankwambo of Gombe, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP Prince Uche Secondus were guests of Governor Okowa to commission several projects including the dualised Cable Point Road in Asaba, dualised Jesse Township Road, the Jesse Boboroku Road and the Sapele Modern Market, Amekpa, Afiesere, Ofuoma Road as well as the Abavo Circular Roads, Owerre-Olubor/Ekwuoma Road.
As Delta State prepares to host the 2018 Confederation of Africa Athletics [CAA] Senior African Athletic Competition in Asaba in August, Governor Okowa has committed enormous resources towards the completion of the long abandoned Sephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, venue of the championship. Over 52 African countries are expected at the 21st African Senior Athletics Championships that would take place August 1-5 in Asaba, with attendant benefits to the economy of the State.
Through consensus-building, thorny political issues have become free of tumult, acrimony and bad blood. This was made possible by Okowa’s calm persona on a very volatile system. By entrenching core values of selflessness and integrity, he has effectively earned the confidence and trust of his friends and foes alike. He has re-defined the concept of leadership and effective governance by effectively re-orientating the mindset of the political class to see politics as a call to service.
As he clocks 59 years, his track-record in politics and in the leadership of Delta state sure sets him apart as a selfless and passionate leader who burns to put his state on the world developmental map. He detests waste because he is confronted daily by the lack that dots the socio-economic landscape of Delta State. That is why since he came into office, he requested that friends and well wishers should not place goodwill advertorials in the media. He rather urged them to convert such resources to assisting the needy.
As he marks yet another anniversary of his birthday, his wish is that Deltans should continue to pray for him and the state in order for the state to remain peaceful for developments to take place.
Happy birthday sir!
*Aniagwu writes from Asba. He is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okowa.