As a News organization that has been around for over a decade in the State, August 27th of every year is remarkable. The reason for this felicitation is predicated on the fact that ever since the time Delta State- an oil and agricultural producing state of Nigeria, situated in the region known as the South-South geo-political zone with its state’s capital in Asaba, was carved out of the former Bendel State, Nigeria, not many believed it will grow to an enviable position among the federating states in the country.
It is on this note that the publisher, editorial Board and entire staff of Ika Weekly Newspapers, join the entire Deltans to felicitate with the Executive Governor of Delta state; Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa. We must also in a special way mention and commend the efforts of Chief Felix Ibru, the first democratically elected state Governor in the state. Chief James Onanefe Ibori the Executive Governor of the state from May 29 1999 to 2007 for his immense contribution towards the building of a sustainable Delta State. As we also recognize Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Executive Governor of the State from 2007 to 2015, for his modest contributions to the State.
On this auspicious day of the 29th anniversary celebration of the state creation, we must remember without fail the effort of ex-military administrators who laid the foundation and built the state from the scratch.
Specifically, we must without fail appreciate the unequal contributions and purposeful leadership so provided by the current administration led by Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Certainly, there are many reasons that qualify this celebration as historic. Aside pointing to the recent National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which placed Delta state behind Lagos, as the second most economically sound and financially stable state, if a visit is made to the coastal areas of Delta state, and analysis/report of such visit placed side by side with documented accounts of deprivation, degradation and abandonment that formerly characterized the region, it will, however, reveal something fundamentally new and different about the region; justify the belief that creative concepts of leaders can bring both disruptive and constructive aspect; and authenticate the conviction that a leader’s action and inactions is laced with the capacity to shatter set patterns of thinking, threaten the status quo, or at the very least stir up people’s anxieties.
The ongoing development of the region in Deltans opinion cannot in anyway be attributed to speculation but a decision process built on right judgment and supported by rational inferences basically different from mathematical probability process. For one thing, Okowa has shown that strategic success cannot be reduced to a formula, nor can one become a strategic thinker by reading books, but, through constant demonstration of competence, connection and character.
His administration in the estimation of the coastal dwellers scored some good points in certain areas of life-road construction and sports development. These are verifiable facts.
As an illustration, Mulade Sheriff, a coastal dweller and National Coordinator, the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), during an interview with Ika Weekly Newspaper, stated that the age-long excuse by previous administration that the coastal region cannot be developed because the terrain is marshy-a feature that renders construction difficult if not impossible, can no longer be sustained. Adding that the Governor being a God sent, used his politics of development to send such excuse to the dustbin of history. The region, he added is now blessed with appreciable level of good/internal road networks and other infrastructural development- a feat that qualifies the Governor as the first to give a sense of belonging to the people of the region.
With this development, the people of the region seem certain to make an increasing contribution to development of the state as a handful of them can now afford the luxury of education and access to good amenities. It is clear in hindsight that the Governor’s effort will not only give the people sense to feel that they have a governor that cares but act as a technique to support the people’s understanding of the Governor’s vision.
Indeed, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has in our estimation scored some good points. However, there are hidden catalogue of complaints. And a day like this provides the opportunity for us to remind Mr. Governor of these concerns.
Fundamentally, youth unemployment in the state is still very high. And as a governor that wants to finish strong by building a stronger Delta, he must as a matter of urgency tackle unemployment challenge in the state. It’s evident that youth’s unemployment is rapidly on the increase and may not end suddenly unless something dramatic is done by the government.
As both responsible and responsive media organization, we hold the opinion that the governor must do something to help the youths come out of this challenge. It is in the interest of the government to create jobs for the youths as a formidable way of curbing crime and reducing threatening insecurity in the country. It should be done not merely for political consideration but from the views of national development and sustenance of our democracy.
To achieve this purpose of creating job for the people, we deem it necessary to remind our governor that in the Mid-West and Bendel state of old, there existed government owned companies established by the then leaders who demonstrated a passion for their purpose and practiced leadership values consistently. They were established to among other aims create employment while bringing revenue to government coffers. Examples of such companies includes but not limited to; Mid West Lines, Bendel Hotel, Bendel Insurance, Bendel Glass. It will in our views be rewarding if the governor thinks of creating cottage industries in the state.
Security is another area that Governor Okowa must pay disciplined attention to if he is desirous of having investors in the State. Who knows if providing adequate security will make the International Oil Companies (IOCs) that departed the State come back?