A community leader and Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State, Dr Chukwuma Nwaonicha, has said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, is positively transforming the state. The elder statesman, who stated this during the week at Agbor, during an interview with journalists on Governor Okowa’s Two Years In Office, noted that Okowa has since assumption of office as governor, initiated and executed several people oriented and laudable projects across the three senatorial districts in the state. According to Dr Nwaonicha, with Governor Okowa the state is gradually being transformed even in the midst of the current economic crunch in the country.
Below is the detail of the interview!
You campaigned and seriously supported Senator Ifeanyi Okowa before, during and after the 2015 Governorship Election in Delta State. Two years after, what is your assessment of the performance of the State Governor?
First, we thank God for seeing this day. Prior to the 2014 governorship primaries in Delta State, I was criticized, castigated, rubbished, mocked and abused for supporting Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, then a Senator to be governor. My sin was that I refused to bend in my support for Okowa. Right from the onset I believed that he was the best and most qualified person to govern Delta State, hence, I stood my ground in my support for him. I refused to be distracted by my critics because I want the best for my State. Today, I am happy that my labor and that of my brothers and sisters who supported Okowa across the state is not in vain, the governor is gradually and positively transforming the state. I am proud of his achievements so far and will continue to support him.
Secondly, as an elder statesman and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chieftain in Delta State, I expressed satisfaction on the on-going developments and projects across the three senatorial districts in the state, the State Government under the leadership of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa should be commended for initiating these laudable and landmark projects that are impacting positively on the lives of Deltans despite, the current severe economic crunch plaguing the country.
The projects so far executed by the Okowa’s administration and the ones going on simultaneously in the three senatorial districts in the state include, “The 149 Kilometer Ughelli-Asaba Road dualization project, Trans-Warri-Ode-Itsekiri Road project, the Okpanam drainage and erosion-control project in Asaba, the Old Lagos/Asaba Road project, the Alisime/Oza-Nogogo Road project, the dualization of Nnebisi Road from Traffic Light to Cable Point in Asaba, the carriageway rigid pavement at Okerenkoko in Warri South West Local Government, Owa-Oyibu Road project, as well as other road and bridge projects in the state.
Other landmark projects that the Okowa’s government is executing are: The renovation and equipping of the three Technical Colleges in Agbor, Ofegbe and Sapele, the job creation scheme of Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), Skill Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Production and Processing Support Programme (PPSP), the construction of the Abavo General Hospital, Abavo, among others.
In addition, the Delta State Government commitment to revive no fewer than 20 moribund industries in the state, which effort would be pivotal in its job and wealth creation initiatives is highly commendable.
Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 was adjudged as the best and the most qualified person to lead Delta State. Now that he is a Governor, do you think Okowa has truly lived up to the expectations of Deltans?
Yes, he has truly lived up to the expectations of Deltans because the Governor’s administrative activities that embraced the entire State are encouraging. He has demonstrated a strong courage to lead the people in a very hash economic and poor social environment he inherited. I’m not only proud to have Senator Okowa as my governor but also, I can boldly beat my chest to say that Delta State is on the right track of meaningful and positive developments. As you know, economic and social developments cannot occur overnight but through gradual growth process. Governor Okowa is doing well in the area of infrastructure and human capital developments despite the current economic crunches, I urge the people of the state across political divide to rally round him to enable him deliver on his campaign promises.
Are you satisfied with the current situation in Delta State?
Yes, I’m satisfied. The Governor is doing his best based on what he inherited from the previous administration and the poor state of the national economy. He came into office at a very difficult and turbulent period in the history of our State and country. Mr. Governor, I know you cannot resolve all the multifarious problems in the State for the next eight years because these problems including infrastructural decays have been going on for many years; and will require a long period of time to fix.
However, I hope and pray you continue doing your best towards achieving your goal in catapulting the State in the next level of development. Delta State, Ika South in particular has not had it so good since her creation in 1991. I am very grateful to God for the emergence of Senator Dr. Okowa as the executive governor of Delta State. I am very proud that Okowa is my Governor and I will continue to support and pray for his success in office. As noted, in his Inaugural Speech, which outlined the administration’s policy direction, Dr Okowa had promised that his administration intended to “hit the ground running” from the first day of its inception, and he kept true to his word till this day. Therefore, I appeal to Deltans to double their support and prayer for Governor Okowa for God has ordained him to take Delta State to the next level of development. As we Deltans know, the Governor is always seeking knowledge, no wonder his meteoric rise in political leadership is due to nothing more than focus, diligence, hard work and his pragmatic leadership and management style.
Do you think PDP will survive her current leadership crisis at the National level?
Yes, the party will survive her current leadership crisis at the National level. God forbids bad thing, if the court judgment on May 25 does not favor the mainstream of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP aligned to Senator Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Committee; NCC may trigger the alternative option for political survival by fusing into the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, APDA. I, therefore charge the party leaders and stakeholders to champion the course of dialogue on behalf of the PDP and do their homework diligently. United we stand! I hope and pray that there shall be peace and light at the end of the tunnel.
In what areas do you think Governor Okowa should focus more attention on?
The Governor should continue focusing on running an inclusive government where every Deltan with positive ideas would be given the opportunity to contribute to the development of the state. In addition, rebuilding and reforming the public service to become more effective and more serviceable is highly suggested. I suggest that the Governor make good use of Direct Labor Agency (DLA) in order to cut the cost of governance and allocate more resources to Agriculture.
It should be noted that technical and vocational education is the key to sustainable and meaningful job creation in the State. The State Government must rebuild the moribund educational facilities, engage quality and skillful teachers, equip the schools in the rural and urban areas with educational infrastructure including comprehensive sporting facilities to catch talented sports persons in their prime because sports have become big business and big employer of labor locally and internationally. The State must leverage on the enormous talents that abound among our youths, develop these sporting talents. In this direction, the educational sector has a strategic role to play in creating the necessary skills that would enable the youths to become creators of jobs and not just job seekers. Quality technical and vocational education will make youths obtain job easier in technology and industrial based organizations instead of organizations seeking foreign technicians. As noted, a child with quality education (not how far but how well) has a better chance to succeed because knowledge is power. The best gift to any child is good education.
With the unsettled leadership crisis in PDP and APC might at the Federal level, do you still think Okowa will be able to come back to office a second time?
Yes, I’m very confident that Governor Okowa will not only complete his first tenure but will come back stronger to office a second time in 2019. Since he assumed office in May 2015, Governor Okowa has not disappointed Deltans as he has continued to put smiles on their faces through his SMART and Prosperity agenda. With his achievements so far, there is no politician in the State that will be able to stop him from being re-elected in 2019.
What is your word to Deltans?
Deltans must change their attitude towards the State because of the poor work ethics and values that now characterized the work force in the State. Based on the creative and dynamic people that we are, the general state of despair must give way to one of hope and the self belief that we can build a great State. It should be noted that the change we want, the change we desire and the change we must have must begin with each and every one of us making a conscious and committed effort to make Delta a better State.
It is time for every well-meaning Deltan to join hands with this administration to deliver on its SMART agenda anchored on the fundamental principles of fairness, equity, and justice. I commend Deltans for supporting the governor; their continued support and cooperation are encouraging Okowa to do more for the people of the state. Evidently, since Okowa assumed office on May 29, 2015, Delta has witnessed tremendous human and infrastructural developments; this is commendable, even as I urge Deltans to sustain the peace and business-friendly environment to attract more investors to the state.
Finally, those who know the Governor speak eloquently and confidently about his near immeasurable passion and selfless commitment to human capital development. Deltans should join Okowa leadership in the arduous task of building a robust and self-sustaining local economy that will serve the interest and welfare of our people, particularly the youths.
As observed, the Governor has started very well and he shall end very well and I wish him God blessing, long life and healthy wisdom to address the challenges ahead of him and his administration in the coming years.