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GOVERNOR IFEANYI OKOWA AND THE HUMBLE LIZARD

The governor of Delta State remains an “Ekwueme” to his generational followers and critics alike! His humility and peace-loving attributes can be compared with that of the proverbial lizard.

While growing up as a complete “village boy”, many idiomatic analogies were made of the agama lizard. The lizard was always “quoted” as having said “this” or “that”. And whether or not it was quoted out of context, never bothered the lizard. It just remained peaceful and humble to itself on one hand and his environment on the other.

For example, this reptile that lives among men without harm is always quoted as “saying” that it appreciates itself greatly for gravitationally dropping from the tree-top to the ground without harm. This, according to the harmless creature is irrespective of anyone praising it for the feat.

In the case of Okowa, one can imagine him “commending” his efforts so far aimed at taking the State of Delta to an unprecedented developmental heights. Just like the lizard, this is irrespective of the negative opinions of a few fellows among Deltans.

It could be recalled that soon after “Ekwueme” took over as the governor of the oil-rich state, critics and some of his selfish ignorant “boys” went to town with “egho-aria” syndrome. They quote Okowa as being the originator of this “wicked” term that has crept into the Ika language dictionary.

Going by the giant strides of the governor so far, one cannot but conclude that those who made “egho-aria” famous among our people only exchanged the context of that term with its literary meaning. That is assuming the governor ever said so.

Again, the lizard was quoted often as “saying” that its family is so disciplined that it does not eat late at night in spite of man’s perception of its ugly appearance. According to them, this is why the lizard is not found wandering beyond six 0’clock in the evening.

Despite the physical appearance of Okowa, he exhibits political excellence that gives him out as one born into a “political class” and yet he displays an uncommon humane character towards both friends and perceived foes as evident in the spread of his political appointments and developments across the state, as though he is only “driven” by his medical skill.

When the governor came to power in 2015, it was as if the state’s local government employees and primary school teachers were employed to work for government without pay. They were owed many months of salary arrears. Today, the story has changed for this group of government personnel.

The Asaba capital city has never had it so good since the creation of the state in 1991. The governor’s efforts aimed at making flooding a thing of the past for the town is already yielding good results even as construction work is still on-going.

It was a sigh of relief on Friday, June 1, 2018 as the flood on the popular Okpanam road disappeared few minutes after the heavy downpour. This is unlike the past when the area was always so flooded that vehicles and men could not easily move for several hours each time it rained in Asaba.

The Head of Service Office Complex building has been beautifully completed by Okowa. The construction works on the building which commenced before the Zenith Bank even required a land for its own building opposite it was almost abandoned when this regime came into power. Zenith bank has opened for business in its own premises opposite the government’s building for more than three years now.

It is also worthy of note that the Delta State now has a befitting library along Mariam  Babangida Way, the facility which is reputed to be one of the best in the country presently will in no doubt help to improve research and the reading culture of the citizens of the state.

The governor brought a new dimension to electioneering contests when he caused the senatorial primaries to be televised live, which he eventually won in 2011. He became the first senatorial candidate to undertake a campaign tour of all the wards in Delta North Senatorial district. He repeated the style when he visited all the wards in the state during his governorship campaigns. The man is not afraid to be put on the spot for people to access. While he was doing this, his opponents merely printed posters, banners and billboards without addressing those they aim to lead. Even Buhari did not visit Delta State during his campaigns and till date, he has not shown interest in visiting us.

Ekwueme is not scared of opponents. As a matter of fact, politicians who align with him always end in victory. And this brings to mind another “saying” by the lizard. According to the animal, it is not scared of any fetish object no matter the amount of red cloths it is decorated with because it has enough red patches on his body.

This governor is a lion in politics! “According to Swedish proverb, “an army of sheep led by a lion is far stronger than an army of lions led by a sheep”.

The political exploits of Okowa go beyond the shores of the state as he has become the unofficial principal organizer of all critical tasks in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today. The men was called to chair the committee that organized a successful pre-party convention for the party in 2017 and he also later chaired the one that finally put in place a successful convention, which produced  Secondus as the present chairman of PDP. The ruling APC is still struggling to fix a date for its own convention.

The Ekiti State governorship primary election which Okowa organized was so successful that Governor Fayose mockingly requested him to stay back and help and help the All Progressives Congress (APC) to organize her own.

Lastly, Ika people often say that those who kill the lizard only do so out of mere hatred as it does not pose any danger to human beings and their belongings.

In the case of the executive governor of the state, those who will fail to vote for him in 2019 would only do so out of “bad belle” But again, this is good for electoral contest. After-all, a keenly contested victory is always sweeter than a walk-over. Okowa has done well in three years. Supporting him for a second term therefore is not a bad idea.

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