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Delta PDP: Okowa consolidates party as members allege neglect

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Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe PHOTO: LADIDI LUCY ELUKPO

• I Have No Issues With Party Members – Okowa
• PDP Kills Spirit Of Loyalty – Orubebe

Barely nine weeks into his second term, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is already having issues with notable members of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The matter is due largely to the sharing proceeds of the 2019 election, which has resulted in allegations of neglect and marginalisation by members, after working hard to win the election. 

But Governor Okowa has calmly reacted to the allegations, allaying fears and insisting he does not have issues with party members over appointments, as the process is ongoing based on a scale of preference. 

According to the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifejika, Okowa does not have issues with party members.

On the accusation that the governor is in the habit of recycling politicians, he said you do not change a winning team, and the Governor is clearly focused on delivering his campaign promises to the people of Delta State. 

“To achieve that, he is taking his time to put round pegs in round holes. As you may be aware, an appointment is still ongoing. Aside from those already in office, there are still so many other offices to be occupied, such as board memberships and lots of others”. He said words are not enough to express Okowa’s gratitude and honour the party members bestowed on him, to continue as their governor for another four years.”

The first three key appointments made were spread across the three Senatorial district thus: Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Delta North, Chief of Staff, Delta Central and Senior Political Adviser, Delta South. 

Okowa continued with the appointment of one member each from of the 25 local government areas into State Executive Council. Key members of his campaign team from across the state were accommodated in DESOPADEC and other development agencies, with more to come. 

However, some party members feel shortchanged, insisting that they or their constituents have been left in the lurch. 

Former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder. Godsday Orubebe had in an interview described the PDP as a party dominated by ungrateful and sadistic elements that kill the spirit of loyalty, love and commitment.

“The PDP is a party of so many ungrateful and sadistic people, and sometimes it sounds funny when I see and hear some of them talk on the television, radio and in the newspaper. One day we shall come out to call names with facts.  It is a party that kills the spirit of loyalty, love and commitment,” he added.

On the alleged marginalization of the Ijaw in Delta, a visibly angry Orubebe who also challenged Okowa to account for the allocations he has received so far, said: “In Delta state, Governor Okowa has been deliberately sidelining the Ijaw people who stood by him in all his two elections and it is painful and sad. The Ijaw people fought for him all through. In good and bad times, they were there for him.

“The deputy governor is Ijaw, but I can tell you that he is just a name there, even though he is not talking or complaining. I saw basically a helpless and a hopeless situation when I visited him twice since 2014. The second visit was just a month or two ago. What explanation can he give the Ijaw people who gave him all their support? 

“There is always a day of reckoning and some of us are coming out to talk now because we thought he was going to change, but he has decided not to change. I want to advise him to discuss with the leaders of the Ijaw and explain the issues he is having with Ijaw people. We shall continue to express our minds on all issues bordering on the nation, at the state and national levels.”

Governor, Okowa said the statements credited to Elder Orubebe were capable of throwing the state into crisis, just as he urged political leaders to apply decorum in their utterances to avoid heating the polity.

He said, “Orubebe was angry because I refused to accept a commissioner nominee from him. I want him to give the account from his local government area and I urge him to tell us what he used his position to do for the people of Burutu.

“I do not think that the criticism was based on a mistake on my part because the fact that a leader makes a request to appoint a commissioner and it is turned down is not enough for such a leader to go to the newspaper or social media to criticize the government of Delta State.

He recalled his efforts to ensure a better and equitable distribution of infrastructure. “My first term was quite busy with road and physical infrastructure. Through the Ministries of Works, Urban Renewal and the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, we embarked on a total of 455 projects comprising 1,269.42 kilometres of roads and 517.34 kilometres of drainage channels. As at April 30 this year, 263 of these roads, covering 638.23 kilometres of roads and 295.71 kilometres of associated drains have been completed. 

Okowa said the fact that he renewed his mandate is a massive vote of confidence for the work done in the last four years. “This mandate is an invitation to raise the bar of good governance even higher and to surpass my achievements in the first term. Top on the list of my priorities is the establishment of nineteen new technical colleges in nineteen Local Government Areas that are yet to have one. This will bring the total number of technical colleges to twenty-five, which is one per Local Government Area.” 

To complement these, a fully functional vocational centre is to be established in each of the 25 LGAs, while the existing polytechnics will be reformed and repositioned to become hubs for technical manpower development. Towards this end, entrepreneurial courses shall be introduced into their curriculum and made mandatory as a requirement for graduation.

The Governor said these are, but a few highlights of the Stronger Delta agenda, as details of the agenda are already unfolding as the administration is poised to build broad-based, good governance structures that will be responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people. 

“These necessitate that we continually appraise our structures and processes while ensuring community involvement in policy formulation and implementation, thereby engendering participatory democracy. We shall remain mindful of the fact that whatever we do without laying a good foundation for our youths would be ‘building blocks on quick sand.’ Parents, guardians, teachers and community leaders must rise up to their duties.  

“We must teach them the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.  They must be taught the virtues of hard work, civic obligation, love, tolerance, good neighbourliness and respect for elders.  We must realise that if we give the wrong foundation to our children today, it goes on to bite the society when they grow up.

“On our part, my deputy and I, we pledge to do our best to be deserving of your trust. Indeed, we are resolute in our quest to leave a legacy of a Delta State that is the frontrunner in the federation. 

All we need are your prayers and full cooperation. The future that we envision requires that we all open our hearts and minds to the values of love, courage, discipline, cooperation and commitment, which are imperative for growth, stability and sustainable development,” he promised.


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