A message of hope for Deltans on Democracy Day
The people of Delta State breathed a heavy sigh of relief with the birth of the current Fourth Republic and a return to democratic rule. Deltans went agog in jubilation, and danced in the streets all day and night of 29th May, 1999. Everybody was happy, and woke up with high hopes, energy and boundless expectations of a great future. That was 18 years ago, as the state witnessed the swearing-in of a new civilian governor under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); and over the last 18 years, the same PDP-led governments have been directing the affairs of Delta State.
Therefore, May 29, will always be a day of joy and reflection. It is a unique day for celebrating the joy of the freedoms associated with democracy and civil rule, but a cursory look around reveals that Delta State has, over the 18 years, not adequately benefitted from the physical development, economic or social growth that ought to accompany it. It seems more like “18 years of a locust invasion”. This is evident by the fact that the monumental wealth that accrued to the State from the resources of the people have been ravaged, fleeced or wasted by the political cabals of PDP. These cabals continue to seize and arrogate to themselves the God-given opportunities that is meant for the benefit of all Deltans. Today, most Deltans are wailing and lamenting in poverty and want. They want to know why all their hopes and their aspirations of yester years have been dashed to pieces by continuous PDP-led administrations.
Delta State is blessed with capable people who take pride in their work. They want jobs but there are no industries; they want good employment but so many businesses have departed. It is the reason why there is chronic restiveness in the land. Many who manage to find a slot in government employment are not even paid salaries as at when due. The biblical maxim that says “the labourer is worthy of his wages” does not mean anything to today’s PDP-led government. It has taken an APC-led Federal Government to offer assistance to the Delta State Government to ease some of its salary miseries, yet so many more are stranded.
Deltans have been yearning for good infrastructure such as modern highways and bridges, they need access to and within their villages but many are visited by a decayed network of roads with potholes as death traps. A state that used to be tops in education and sports now has its youth in despair; they are held-down and troubled by the lack of strategic vision and direction of PDP-led administrations.
The incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration has not fared better. It has continued to brood in the shadows; bereft of big ideas that can stimulate and galvanize the people. Many health facilities in the State are comatose, especially in the rural areas and several magnificent tourist destinations have been left to rot. Even the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) that was set up to alleviate the sufferings of oil producing communities has not been left out. The Okowa administration was quick to amend the laws setting it up to create an “avenue” to hijack its finances in such a way that has enabled it to deny the oil producing communities of their God-given wealth. With many of the oil-producing communities in Delta State wailing and protesting over “resource control” and the lack of development, it is quite unfathomable how their own governor will be a “culprit” that is perpetuating agony and breeding poverty within.
As we celebrate 18 years of the Fourth Republic, the question on the lips of many well-meaning Deltans with a conscience is: How did Delta State get it so wrong? Many regret and tuck their faces in the sand seeing that the PDP political cabals have turned their once golden land into an “empty and scorching desert”. They wonder how they can retrace their steps and begin a new journey that will lead the state to a place of refuge; a place where the hunger and thirst that is raving in the State can be quenched? They wish for a voyage to “Canaan”, the biblical land of milk and honey.
Many Deltans truly desire to put a stop to this hunger and thirst, but the cabals continue to stand in their way. The people are hungry for proper accountability and the judicious use of their resources if only to enhance job creation, advance business opportunities and to improve their lives. They are thirsty for good governance, and have been waiting for so many years for visionary development strategies and programmes that will create a platform for growth of epic proportions.
Sadly, the various PDP-led governments have over the years offered fanciful but hollow words and slogans. Empty slogans! Regime after regime, they release agenda after agenda that are full of promises and pledges, but with only a feeble effort and commitment to achieve them. Only yester years, it was some “3-Point agenda”; today, we hear of a so-called “SMART” agenda of Governor Okowa. This administration obviously has no serious overarching vision, and with two years gone at the helm of affairs, it is discernable that the Okowa slogan “SMART” truly reflects: “Shrewd, Mean, Appalling, Reckless and Terrible” development. It is just another PDP disaster in the making. This administration has continued to breed hopelessness in place of confidence, and has actually amplified poverty, which is the real hallmark of PDP, instead of the much-touted prosperity. We cannot remove the wastefulness and today’s evidence of corruption during the prior years of PDP, both at the federal and state levels, from this equation.
Let us take a moment to reflect on the past 18 years of Delta State. It has been 18 years of deprivation, of massive wastages, of unbridled embezzlement, of looting of our commonwealth and non-stop squandering of our fortunes by numerous cabals of successive PDP-led governments. The cabals have succeeded in imposing severe poverty on the land and continue to foist a state of hopelessness on Deltans. It has become so bad that, today, many Deltans cannot even get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s job. Many continue to die from poverty and curable diseases and afflictions. Many cannot pay tuition fees to educate their children.
Most Deltans have become disillusioned by subsequent PDP-led administrations because they continue to function by that “share-the-money” mentality, and wastage of the people’s resources on frivolities. They fashion out so many white elephant projects and meaningless ventures that have no impact whatsoever on the lives of the people. This is why, with all the massive allocations to the State from the Federal Government and huge internally-generated revenues (IGR), it is hard to see any strategic developmental activity that can create opportunities for real jobs and opportunity. Whatever the PDP-led government claims to have done is just a drop of water in the ocean compared with the trillions of Naira that the state has received into its coffers and more or less wasted since 1999.
It is against the above that APC is coming to the rescue; and our determination to rescue Delta State begins with you today. It comes with a sense of urgency, and no matter the challenges that may lie ahead, let us resolve to remain committed on this mission together. Instead of wallowing in pity and poverty, it is time for you to take responsibility. It is time to take your destiny in your own hands by doing the needful. By so doing, we will together create a brighter future for our parents, our brothers, our sisters, our children and the future generation. It is time to begin the new journey to reclaim our destiny. Today is a day to stop for a moment, to reflect and to think.
Our sister Edo State, which gets a fraction of what Delta State receives, is already advancing faster than Delta State in the visionary and strategic arena because an APC government had taken over the administration of the state, and it has put a stop to the flagrant wastage of the previous PDP governments. The fantastic and enviable development strides being carried out in Lagos State is another excellent example of what a people-oriented APC government can bring.
Delta State now needs to emulate her sister Edo State that has seen the light by rejecting the “intoxicating wine” of PDP which has become stale and sour. The hope in the horizon rests with APC because it feels the pains of Deltans. There is no doubt that Deltans are industrious and hard-working; they are very innovative and ask only for an enabling environment in order to thrive in their various endeavours. The systematic deprivation that has been imposed on the State by PDP for the last 18 years is now dawning on the people, and the reality of poverty in the land today is even “visible to the blind”.
As long as PDP remains in control of the government, the journey to the “promised land” is stagnated and the future of the State remains bleak. We thank God that so many Deltans have seen the light, and they are now more encouraged to pursue a different path. This new path of redemption should lead nowhere else than an embrace of the only veritable and accomplished opposition party, the APC. The time has come for every Deltan to begin to look forward with hope. It is time to re-energize, foster courage and renew their faith in our God of possibilities.
Delta State is a wonderful treasure to behold, and as we celebrate the advent of democracy, APC beckons to all men, women and youths with vision, integrity and resourcefulness, all who believe in and have a genuine interest of the people at heart, to pull together and rout the PDP from Government House Asaba, if only to set Delta State on a new path of hope, optimism and progress. By working hard together, we are confident that we will overcome the “locusts in the vineyard” that continue to prey on our common future.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is open to and will continue to welcome every well-meaning Deltan of good conscience, no matter your political affiliations or persuasion, to join this new journey of hope. It is a journey to freedom; freedom from poverty, freedom from fear, freedom to excel and freedom to be the best you can ever be. This is the heart, the mind and the soul of APC Delta State.
*Obibi is the Acting Publicity Secretary of
APC in Delta State