OKOWA: Eventful Beginning Of A New Dawn

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Okowa

FOR newly sworn in Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, his first one week in office may not really be said to be eventful, but it has certainly not been lackluster.

Two executive bills, the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency and the Delta State Technical and Vocational Education Board, were sent to the state’s House of Assembly on Monday.

Also, a new Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, was sworn in on Wednesday.

But what was supposed to be a happy first working day for Okowa turned sour on Monday, as he was denied access to his office at the sprawling Government House complex in located in uptown Asaba, the capital of the state.

Okowa, who was sworn in last Friday, May 29, was being conducted round the different offices located in the complex by the Permanent Secretary, Government House and Protocol, Mr. Benson Oburoh, but was shocked when he discovered that the keys to his office, which was locked, could not be found.

Okowa, who had gone on an inspection of the complex shortly after a prayer session at the Government House chapel, which was attended by his wife, Edith; deputy governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro; top politicians and some Government House staff, however, maintained his cool throughout the inspection.

His media aide, Mr. Amaechi Odemba, however, denied that his boss was locked out of his office, insisting that he was merely on inspection and didn’t head to his office. Odemba said that the governor had the keys to his office and was not true that he was prevented from gaining access to his office, because it was under lock and key.

The two executive bills have since passed their first readings on the floor of the House at its plenary, while the second readings was on Wednesday, June 3.

The bills, which formed part of the promises made by Okowa on Friday, May 29, in his inaugural address were forwarded to the State House of Assembly for necessary legislative actions on his first working day.

The motions for the first readings of the two bills were moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon Monday Igbuy, and were unanimously adopted.

The new governor also promised to give strength to the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission (DESOPADEC) law by restructuring the board and management in line with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC model through an amendment.

The lawmakers speedily approved request to it by Okowa for the confirmation of persons for appointment as special advisers.

In a letter to the House and read by the Speaker, Peter Onwusanya, at Wednesday session, the governor said the request was in line with the provisions of section 196, sub-sections 1-3 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The governor stated in the letter that he intends to appoint one senior political adviser, one political adviser and 15 special advisers to assist him in driving the administration of the state.

He said that the request was part of strategies by his administration to actualise the agenda of prosperity for all Deltans, soliciting the support of the house for consideration and approval of the request by way of resolution.

Against the backdrop of the huge debt profile of the state, Okowa took time to plead with the people to exercise patience, as his administration will need time to deal with the problem during the swearing-in ceremony of Agas. During the last allocation from the Federation Account, the Federal Ministry of Finance deducted about N1.5 billion at source.

The new governor said that the future he seeks has no room for parochial interests and self-ambition, but mutual cooperation and benevolent spirit that recognises and caters for the yearnings and aspirations of the citizens.

He said: “We must be willing to commit ourselves to the new order, an era of love for all, where the good of all takes precedence over the gain of one.

The art of governance has become so complex and demanding that positions of leadership require efficient, articulate and progressive-minded persons who are flexible and team players,” the Governor said, noting, “I am happy that Hon. Festus Agas satisfies these criteria and it explains why he has been brought on board to contribute his quota to the social, political and economic development of our dear state.”

Okowa recalled that during a reception organised after a thanksgiving service last Sunday, he had announced the appointment of Agas, a former lawmaker as scribe, an announcement, he insisted, many were not expecting at the time it was made, but that element of surprise only served to excite spontaneous jubilation.

He said: “Judging by that euphoria that greeted Agas’s appointment, it is self-evident that this administration has struck the right note with its first appointment.”

The new governor charged the scribe to be conscious of the enormous responsibilities, which have been thrust on his shoulders and be aware of the fact the he is the fulcrum around which government business revolves.

This week promises to be more eventful as the governor is set to inaugurate another session of the State House Assembly and nominate some political aides who will help to actualise his election mantra of prosperity for all Deltans.

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