Is Delta State Governor Okowa Equal to the Task?
It may seem very early to judge how well Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would perform, but the verdict given by the political watchers in Delta State is that the 12th governor of Delta State has started on a wrong footing.
Immediately after he was sworn in by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Marshall Umukoro, Governor Okowa declared May 29 of every year as a day of praise unto God. And to back his words with action he dropped all tools of governance and scampered down yesterday to St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Asaba for a thanksgiving service. Today, Monday, the governor resumed office with a prayer session at the Government House Chapel.
“Christians especially Deltans have a burden to pray everyday for the success of the state, Delta State will go places by the grace of God. I want to assure you all that I will always join this devotional service every morning throughout my tenure”, governor Okowa told congregants at the prayer session at the Government House Chapel.
A man who simply identified himself as Chukwuma told Xclusive Magazine: “There is nothing wrong in giving thanks to God; and there is nothing wrong in asking us to join him in praising God for successfully delivering him as the governor of Delta State. But the immediate past governor of the State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, had regular thanksgiving on behalf of the State government, where did that lead us to? Uduaghan used prayer and God to hoodwink us and to cover up his crimes.”
Mr Chukwuma and other Deltans who spoke to Xclusive Magazine insist that the problem of Delta State is so enormous that a new governor must hit the ground running if he must make any meaningful governance gain in the next four years. They cited the example of President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, who swung to action immediately they were sworn in.
As widely publicized in the media, President Buhari and his Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a day before being sworn in went to knock on the door of the Code of Conduct Bureau. Their singular mission was to declare their assets.
Also, upon being sworn in as Kaduna State 22nd Governor, Mallam El Rufai declared publicly that he and his deputy, Arc. Balla Barnabas Bantex, would forfeit 50% of their salaries and allowances. El Rufai’s reason is that Kaduna State was “tragically backward” and such enormous sacrifice from them as leaders was needed to revive the State.
He said: “Our finances are a shambles. Kaduna is the second most indebted state in our country. Our state is staggering under the weight of billions of naira in debt and other liabilities. As we all know, merely by walking the streets or seeing our neighbors everyday, the state of our state is abysmal. Our schools and hospitals, our roads and bridges, our villages, towns and cities, all are markers of backwardness.
“Too many of our children are hungry and in rags and in the street. Our society is divided along religious and ethnic lines. Worse still, our state cannot stand on its own feet. We have become a state of beggars, a condition of dependency that is an affront to our dignity and our humanity.”
What is true of Kaduna State is also true of Delta State. Years of mismanagement and executive recklessness have left both States, using El Rufai’s term, tragically backward For sixteen years, Delta State was under the yoke of Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan. They tortured and strangulated the State, and what Governor Okowa is inheriting is a State lying comatose.
Is Governor Okowa equal to the task? Is he ready to declare his assets so that we Deltans will know how much he is worth going into government? Is he willing to take a 50% pay cut?
Prayer is good, but the bible says that heaven helps those who help themselves. It is this axiom that Josephine Ejabena expresses when she said on Facebook: “Congratulations!….. But I need a job, a hungry man is an angry man.”
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