The spirit of conviviality pervades the atmosphere of Delta State at this moment, because in their wisdom and against apparent misgivings and malevolence from certain opposing quarters, precedent to the last gubernatorial election in the state; the people collectively made their best choice. Even though some of us saw the end from the beginning and knew that sure-footedly the master-stroker and political mathematician will bestride the state government apparatus again due to his credible antecedent in the first tenure, there was however, no room to leave anything to chances. Working upon their convictions and according to well mapped out campaign strategies, the untiring foot-soldiers marched upon the voting field and scored for our great party, a whooping 4/5. Whether the opposition did actually win the presidential ticket is an obtuse fact that calls for serious examination without being sub-judicial.
In Delta State, PDP is about the only visible party and thank God that it is being run by matured minds who evidently understand the game of politics far better than the political opportunists who sail at all times only with economic wind without good intent for the people. I will not dwell so much here on appraising the success of His Excellency, Sen. Dr. I.A Okowa in the last tenure, and this is because the facts speak for themselves from Asaba to Abraka, Ukwani to Ukwunzu, Emede to Eku and Ogwashi-Ukwu to Ogbe-Ijaw. Across the three senatorial divides, government has for the first time left indelible footprints on tarred roads. We cannot also gloss over positive changes that have been brought to bear on many communities skyline due to newly built or efficiently renovated blocks of classrooms across the state. Youth empowerment was duly given its prime of place through several programs that enjoy printable catch-phrases such as YAGEP, STEP etc. Let it not be forgotten that all these were achieved despite the weighty debt overhang inherited from the Uduaghan administration.
The bugging questions that demand pondering are- having catalogued the extent to which government has striven to make meaning in the lives of its citizenry: to what extent have the people complimented government’s gesture viz a viz taking ownership of infrastructures built in their communities? To what extent also have the youths who have benefited from the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurial and Skill Acquisition and Technical Entrepreneurial Programmes sustained their callings? How the market women and traders faring with the micro-finances are granted them at regular intervals? How firmly resolved are parents to ensure that their children and wards take advantage of government intervention in public schools?
For instance, the government of Sen. Dr. Okowa realizing the worthlessness of the curriculum being run in our mundane schools, have redirected attention on certificated skill acquisition programs by establishing new and resuscitating existing technical schools across the three senatorial districts of the state. This is with the intent that rather than a youth persisting in daily paid rustic labouring popularly described as “kpon-kpon” in my clime here, the child can be taken through proper rudimentary skill acquisition training, get trade test certificate at different grades and make himself employable in various industrial and economically viable sectors with added value. It’s mere gain-saying the fact that subsisting on daily paid and inconsistent labour jobs including okada riding cannot adequately sustain a man and his family in Nigeria today, except of course to live from hand to mouth. In this, there is no future. But the one who has received formal certificated training in technical schools have the advantage of continual advancement. This is the secret of the economic growth of nations like Japan and Taiwan.
Information communication and technology rules the world today and so does engineering. Acquisition of skills leading to proficiency in these areas cannot be effectively imparted in regular classrooms. The child learns better from what he hears, sees, perceives and most of all practices. We cannot continue to wallow in the corridor of mere clerical officialdom staff when the world has gone virtual. Learning has long left the realm of recitation of times tables to computing and to make our children marketable and competitive with their counterparts in other parts of the world, we must lend absolute support to government in their effort towards meaningful education of both the boy and girl child.
It is unfortunate but an abundant fact, especially in Ika land that the female folks are more serious at attending schools and apprenticeships to different informal trades than their male counterparts. Due to bad orientation and terrible influence of peer groups, many of the male youths prefer to make quick money by any and all means. Therefore they lend themselves to menial jobs, criminal acts and drug abuse, all of which hold no future. This singular fact places a lot of responsibility on the Directorate of Orientation in the State.
There must be concerted articulated and sustained efforts at re-directing the mindset of our youths, male especially so that there may be credible leaders to hand over the baton to at the end of each lap of the race. Nobody lives forever, no government serves without end but the state no matter its geographical configuration will continue to exist long after any particular government and needs egg-heads not yam heads to lift the state beyond callousness.