Delta: The case for Okowa
SIR: As the general elections draw closer, the excitement in the air is expectedly strong. The parties are geared up and by all appearances this would be the most competitive election in Nigeria ever. Good for our democracy and the institutions managing the process.
But for many residents of Delta State, our excitement is because of the PDP candidate in Delta, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. His candidacy best represents what Delta State requires at this point: competence, integrity and level-headedness. Too often, our state has been controlled by a few people whose interests do not often align with that of the majority. Now through a rigorous, free and fair process, we have a PDP candidate who holds his election as party candidate not to the whims and caprices of the few, but to the wishes of the majority.
I agree not every Deltan shares this optimism. In fact, when the PDP gubernatorial primary results were announced, there were skepticisms about the winner, especially from the Delta South and Delta Central Senatorial zones. But being a unifier that he is, Okowa has worked very hard to heal the rifts caused by the primary. In fact, he started his campaign in the heartland of the Urhobo land, at Oghara and has been visiting major Urhobo kings, seeking their blessings and even more unveiling his blueprint for our people.
He has also worked hard to carry everyone along, selecting a competent running mate and lawyer, Kingsley Otuaro, from among the Ijaw, a major ethnic group in the state that has not held a top elective position before. This act portrays Okowa as a man sensitive to the need for unity and balancing, and also shows him as someone who is willing to bend back to accommodate every group.
That’s the kind of man we Deltans need at this time. A candidate who’s truly a democrat campaigning on the strength of his ideas; not uppity, thinking that his nomination by a major party is enough to guarantee him victory. I would have been surprised if Okowa had acted differently, considering his records and competences.
He was born on July 8, 1959, in Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State. He attended the Edo College, in Benin City, before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where he studied Medicine and Surgery. He graduated in 1981 with an MBBS degree, and worked with the Bendel State Hospitals Management Board as a Medical Officer. He entered private practice in 1986. And in 1991, he became the Secretary to the Ika Local Government and then Chairman of the Ika North-East Local Government Council. He was also Delta North Coordinator of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM), before joining the PDP in 1998, and assisted in former Governor, James Ibori’s campaign in 1998/1999. He served as a Commissioner in the Delta State government for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Water Resources Development and Health.
Okowa resigned to contest in the 2007 PDP primaries for Governor of Delta State, but did not succeed and in June of 2007, was appointed Secretary to the Delta State Government. He was voted in as a Senator in the April 2011 elections to represent Delta North in the Senate.
That’s the quality of the man who, God-willing, will become the governor of our state. A man of great depth, who is working with other respected leaders from the state such as Chief Government Ekpemupolo to continue with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s vision of establishing a prosperous Delta beyond oil.
• Tobore Omonisa,
Warri, Delta State.