Tuesday, 17th May 2022
<To guardian.ng
Breaking News:

Delta 2023: Challenges of economic development 

By Felix O. Okpe 
13 May 2022   |   3:31 am
Despite the permutations amongst the major political parties pertaining to who should be the best candidate to take over from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State in 2023, the recent declaration of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege...

Ifeanyi Okowa

Despite the permutations amongst the major political parties pertaining to who should be the best candidate to take over from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State in 2023, the recent declaration of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, currently the Deputy President of the Senate to run for Governor under the All Progressive Congress (APC), appears to have set in motion an intriguing and u

In a swift response to Omo-Agege’s declaration, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), resorted to personal insults of the Senator instead of relying on whatever economic success of the PDP in the last 22 years, if there was, to rebut the policy and governance issues raised by Omo-Agege during his declaration.

On its part, the State government through the Commissioner for Information apparently caught off guard by the positive response of Deltans from all walks of life to Omo-Agege’s announcement to run for the office of Governor, infamously put out a weak statement that the distinguished Senator lacks the capacity to govern Delta State. This lame criticism by the Okowa led administration makes one to wonder whether the Commissioner lives in an alternative universe where a different definition of the word capacity operates, perhaps!

The truth of the matter is that, based on his education, international exposure, political experience, and tremendous success as the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, the true and contextual meaning of incapacity in governance is not an epithet that can be used to describe Omo-Agege. In the history of Delta State, Omo-Agege is arguably the most successful Senator that has influenced more policies and infrastructural development for the betterment of Delta State. One would have expected the Okowa administration and the PDP to challenge the Senator on his record of influencing the most infrastructural development to Delta State through a robust legislative agenda since the creation of the State in 1991. To focus on name calling and a misguided definition of capacity to govern, is a feebleminded attempt by the Okowa led administration and the PDP to undermine the imperatives and challenges of economic development in Delta State.

One thing is obvious. Since Omo-Agege’s declaration, the Okowa administration and the PDP have been rattled. They have been running “kiti kiti, katakata”. To the chagrin of the Delta PDP and the Okowa administration, the situation was further made worse by the ill-informed and condescending endorsement of Olorogun David Edevbie, a governorship aspirant under the PDP by the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) as its preferred candidate for the governorship election in 2023 even before the party’s primaries. A move that has been condemned by the body language of the Okowa administration and the PDP.

It exposed the confusion and rat race amongst the Delta PDP governorship aspirants and what appears to be a struggle to impose a candidate on Deltans. This gaffe by the UPU has called into question the political naivety, interest, and judgment of the current leadership of the apex Urhobo cultural organization.

Still, for this moment, the real question in Delta State for the 2023 governorship election is premised on the need for change that can promote and accelerate the development of Delta State. Deltans are tired of successive PDP administrations. The only legacies the PDP often point to, is leaving pregnant women behind and a SMART agenda that is dumb and designed to deceive Deltans in the last seven years. It has failed to account for the allocation of more than N1.7 trillion Delta State received from the federation account. In fact, there has been no concrete development in Delta State in the last 12 years.

It is mind blowing that with the so-called SMART agenda, that most, if not all, PDP governorship aspirants are kotowing to the Okowa administration to run on, Delta State is ranked 31 out of the 36 states of the federation in fiscal performance and government irresponsibility.

Why should Deltans vote for any candidate that has committed to run on the failed policies of the Okowa administration and the PDP? With its enormous resources as an oil producing state and huge federal allocation, Delta State is currently the 4th most indebted state in Nigeria with a total debt of more than N272.03 billion.

There is no gain, stating the obvious that the SMART agenda championed by the Okowa administration is shrouded in mystery and cloth with massive corruption, deceit, nepotism, and the under development of Delta State. Under successive PDP governments in Delta State, it has become the norm to owe pensioners with reckless abandon.

How can a state government with a so-called SMART agenda not care for the welfare of its pensioners and Deltans? When it comes to the considerations of development, at least from a comparative perspective in Nigeria, Delta State has not had a fair deal under the PDP in the last 22 years. The PDP has taken Deltans for a ride for too long!

The horrible development situation in Delta State and the bad governance perpetuated by the PDP in the last 22 years explains the positive response of Deltans to Omo-Agege’s declaration to run for governor under the APC. Gleaned from his manifesto, Omo-Agege’s vision for Delta State is a welcome development for Deltans. It presents a better option for change from the shackles of the PDP that has acted as a plague by inhibiting the development of the state in the last 22 years.

Deltans are tired of PDP’s turn by turn politics that has failed continuously to produce any meaningful development in the state. Omo-Agege’s public record as a Senator supports his position and vision to build a ne

If elected, the Senator has promised to focus on empowerment, development, good governance, and enduring peace and security in Delta State. When it comes to the imperatives and challenges of development in Delta State, Deltans should bet on Omo-Agege that has delivered on his electoral promises in the past than on the aspirants in the PDP or elsewhere, who have no real public record or any meaningful development achievements in Delta State to run on, other than functioning as political stooges or are election cycle politicians who don’t have the interests of ordinary Deltans at heart.

Dr Okpe is a law professor and a public policy analyst.