‘Okowa Should Take Governance To The Grassroots’
Yes, he did. We knew he would win. I have met him twice-one at Senator Osakwe’s daughter’s wedding in Benin City, the Edo State capital. It was the first time, yet he was very accommodating.
The second was at a meeting in Kwale. I like the way he answered questions. He answered all the questions satisfactorily. It was on that day that I knew that he would win, never mind that some people were saying that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate would. I never believed them.
What do you think helped Okowa to beat his opponents?
It is his experience and nothing more. He is a grassroots politician; a man of the people. Don’t forget that he was a local government chairman, and a top shot in the Ibori government before he became a senator.
Then, he helped to prosecute people-oriented pogrammes. Those of us in the Diaspora were happy with these programmes. Therefore, based on these and others, I would say his experience saw him through.
What about the talk that Okowa’s election was rigged?
That is not true. Those of us on the field saw what happened. The candidates who lost should accept the results in good faith. The election was transparent. Let me use this opportunity to commend ex-president Goodluck Jonathan for the maturity he displayed when he lost. Earlier, there was apprehension in the air; some people travelled abroad, some withdrew their children from schools, fearing an outbreak of war.
But when the results came in, Jonathan congratulated Buhari. That was the spirit of sportsmanship and the international community commended him for his noble action. For the first time, an incumbent president lost, yet he did not go to court or refused to hand over.
What do you think Jonathan would have done different?
Of course he had a choice. He has the arsenal of power that he could have deployed to his advantage. But he didn’t. I think he should be commended for that. In the past when Buhari lost to the late president Umaru Yar’Adua, he went to court. Those things Jonathan said and did while conceding defeat were morale booster.
How did you people in the Diaspora contribute to Okowa’s election?
We attended some political meetings in Delta State, though we shuttle between Lagos and Japan. More importantly, we ran jingles in some radio stations in Delta State.
Were you to draw agenda for Okowa, what will you suggest?
What I will say from the Diasporan perspective is that we’ll want to see Okowa bringing governance to the grassroots – job creation, infrastructure development, education and health. If he can push the four points, we assist his programmes to enable him deliver the dividends of democracy. We want him to cover only these points because we don’t want him to carry too many programmes that he may not execute.
Also, we want him to complete the outgoing government’s projects and programmes, such as security, the Effurun flyover and the Okpanam-Anwai intersection.
What about the people in the riverine area?
He should not forget them. For example areas, such as Bomadi, Forcados, Onya and Okpai, have bad roads, even though they are oil communities. Okpai hosts Agip Gas Plant, which supplies electricity to the East, yet the host is in darkness. He should ensure that the plant is stepped down for the community to get power supply.
Okowa should make policies that would make oil firms to harp on corporate social responsibilities (CSR); it should order firms to do certain things that would last for the people. Besides, the government should build social amenities in these areas.
On infrastructure, he should create a record that would beat that of the immediate past and the outgoing governments. Many rural roads are bad. Others are yet to be linked with major roads. The Ogume-Abbi road; Abbi-Amai via Ezionun are among them.The Onicha-Ukwani-Otagba-Uno-Ndenmili in Ndokwa started by the Ambrose Alli administration in the 80s is yet to be completed.