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VIEWPOINT: PLEASE, IS IFEANYI OKOWA STILL IN SERVICE?

Anyone that is reasonably familiar with the governorship style of the present governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa since 2015 cannot but appreciate the above question. In fact, the question mark can be removed for the statement to go thus; “I hope Governor Okowa is not resting yet”.

Given the common notion that once an election year draws near, the government in power ceases to be active, it is important to remind the number one citizen of the state that much still needs to be done before 2023 for him to continue to lay claims to all the accolades on him so far. Identifying the clogs in the wheel of progress in his government with a view to “refurbishing” or removing them before the next governor takes over from him may not be out of place. These are people who have responsibilities for executing certain tasks they are paid for but refuse to act accordingly. They thereby fail to justify the government’s trust in them.

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Another group is made up of political aides who are not prepared to assist the governor in the task of properly assessing himself vis-à-vis his performance and bringing to his knowledge areas that need his attention. They are akin to modern lecturers in Nigerian universities who fail to equally give ‘expo’ or ‘areas of concentration’ to modern students who desperately need to pass their examinations without stress. These people abound everywhere but are mostly found in the ministries of works and education.

For the avoidance of doubts, some of these areas needing the urgent attention of the governor include the consistent evacuation of the drainages he has spent so much money to construct all over the state. Before the rains set in, some government officials went round, threatening to sanction Landlords who fail to clear the blockades in gutters in front of their houses. This, according to them was to avoid the impending flood disaster. The Landlords complied with the directive. But many months after, the debris from the gutters are still in front of their abodes, growing weeds, constituting nuisance with a high tendency to be flown back to the already cleared drainages. A visit to the DDPA estate in Asaba will prove the point being made here. The uncovered portions of the pedestrian side-walk ways along Okpanam road remain death traps with no government attention to date.

There is no doubt that cleanliness is the next to Godliness as always emphasized by the state government through its Voice of Delta radio every day. Indeed, cleanliness ensures good health. And those at the forefront in the drive for quality health include Nigerian nurses, doctors, and other health workers. Unfortunately, the location of the state school of nursing and midwifery Asaba appears to be on the opposite side of a clean environment conducive for training neat health personnel. But for the smart appearances of the nursing trainees when sited outside the school, no one would suspect that an important government establishment like that exists in the area. The school has no access road. Not even a bulldozer can drive from Okpanam road to the place if it is not on a mission to level up the gullies. There are no good lecturers who will be inspired to work in an institution where they cannot safely drive to in their cars. Delta state under Governor Okowa is too big to have a health institution such as this in a tattered environment.

The leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state have accused the governor of establishing three new universities in order to take the attention of government away from the existing Delta State University, Abraka. According to them, Okowa has a plan to pull lecturers away from the school to the newer ones. The question is; ‘are lecturers babies that need Okowa to direct them to places where they can actualize their intellectual ambitions? Who says only lecturers of Delta state extraction or from state-owned universities are the ones qualified to teach in the schools? Why did the upgrade of the Petroleum Training Institute, Efurun to the Federal University of Petroleum, FUPRE, and the establishment of the University of Marine Technology in Delta not stop DELSU from running? But the illogical reasoning of these people notwithstanding, Ekwueme must do all he can to ensure that they are proved wrong, the same way he put those who called him “egho aria” governor in 2015 to shame.

The governor is gradually turning DDPA, Agbor, Ika South Local government Area to the state’s own brand “Victoria Garden city”. There are very few cities in Nigeria where land is costlier than what obtains in the estate. But the governor should do well to tidy up the roads around the area, particularly Dr White Street. It will also be a great idea to prevail on the communication network providers to do something about the poor network in the estate. This is vital in the fight against crime. The estate deserves properly managed entry and exit points with adequate security. There is also a community in Owa-Alero, Ika North East Local government Area, where the entire people may be swept away by flood in a matter of months if nothing is done to urgently channel the water from the place to a nearby river. There are many other places like the ones mentioned above. Let the communities reach out to His Excellency through their representatives for the needful to be done.

Assigning more jobs to a hard-working fellow is normal as it is often said that the reward for hard work is more works. But then, it is important for communities to show gratitude for all that the Almighty God has used the governor to accomplish in their domains. Ingratitude is injurious to man. Any person that makes it a habit to indulge in it burdens himself with guilt before man and God. On the contrary, an appreciative man attracts to himself grace and positive wonders beyond the understanding of man. Besides, there is an Ika adage that says; “Appreciating a workman goes a long way to sharpening his implements for more actions”.

In the meantime, the only person that can answer the above question is Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa himself. A score of distinction awaits him if he answers correctly as his cumulative score presently is tending towards excellence at the dawn of May 29, 2023.

WRITTEN BY AUGUSTINE OMILO

 

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