Those fortunate to work with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must understand his vision, mission and personality in order to fit perfectly into his goals for a better Delta State. This is because the Governor is leader for all, apart from the fact that he is incorruptible, morally upright, accommodating, honest, detribalised and carries all sections of the state along. And by so doing, Okowa personifies stability which has resulted in a stronger Delta. Any political appointee must be thankful that out of millions of Deltans they are chosen. Which is why we must not be involved in anything that will become a clog in the wheel of progress in the state.
The Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, was established to address age-long neglect, underdevelopment and ecological problems of oil producing communities who, despite their oil deposits, lack basic amenities and are ravaged by environmental pollution. The continuing damage to the ecosystem and the attendant health and economic challenges as a result of gas flare confront them daily. DESOPADEC derives its funds from 13% derivation for oil producing states. Note that 50% of this goes to DESOPADEC and the other half to the state government.
Note also that it was Okowa who restored the independence of DESOPADEC, ensuring that there was no meddling in its operations. In the event, the hope of oil producing communities was activated, especially following the completion of abandoned projects and undertaking new ones.
Prior to the emergence of Okowa, DESOPADEC was a mere cash cow, a milking ground saturated with diverse interests and bitter politics of greed enmeshed in corrupt practices; it never implemented budgets as fraudulent cartels employed, without due process, employees with forged certificates with ghost workforce dominating the pay rolls. It was a den of corruption. Those who were lucky to be appointed there saw it as an opportunity to marry many wives, acquire a harem of concubines and mistresses as well as display extravagant lifestyle. DESOPADEC stank to high heavens on account of the greedy hyenas and vultures who fed on the common wealth of oil producing communities. All that ended when Okowa emerged on the scene.
The Okowa administration decapitated corruption, the ghost workforce and unqualified personnel with forged certificates. Particularly affected were the godfathers who delighted in illicit sharing of money on non-existent projects, apart from placing their wives, concubines, girlfriends and non-indigenes on salaries at the commission. Indeed, this corrupt clique was running a parallel government from the commission.
The good news is that a progressive wind of change has been blowing since they were flushed out. This explains why there is now prudent management of funds and goals are being actualised under Okowa’s DESOPADEC. However, corruption is fighting back; same retrogressive forces are not happy; they want the former rot to continue for selfish reasons. These greedy moles and vultures have resorted to blackmailing Okowa and the Managing Director of DESOPADEC.
The leading mole wants his hired colony of jesters to subdue board members through blackmail and intimidation so that the transparency Okowa has entrenched is compromised. This is the reason for the recent verbal diarrhea against the state government.
They want to sponsor protests, raise agitations, employ blackmail and character assassination as tools for achieving their inordinate desires. This onslaught must be resisted by the DESOPADEC Board headed by Bashorun Askia Ogie. The recent online publication by hatchet reporters to blackmail Governor Okowa and the Board is fraudulent. Their recent online publication entitled: “Has Governor Okowa Made Any Successful Person in Government?” smacks of blackmail. Its motive cannot be far from stomach politics.
Unfortunately, many cannot see who is behind the mask or the fictitious identity paraded by the hack writer. Boasting of partnership with EFCC, these questionable characters have been around government circles long enough to extract information for blackmail, even as they play the sycophants, pretending to support the government on one hand and resorting to blackmail if their demands are not met.
No society survives the kind of criminality these social miscreants impose on us. Same characters frown at some appointments in the board, hiding behind social media to invent imaginary allegations of extortion and blackmail against the board. They blame Okowa for every imaginary illusion to get attention; they create ethnic divisions to cause friction and blame that on the failure of governance. They are agents of a mole in DESOPADEC; a political appointee must understand that service is not for personal profit or mischief. Those who earn a living by causing misfortune for pecuniary gains will similarly receive same measure.
At a time the Okowa administration is building a stronger Delta State, insatiable political bats are thinking of personal gains rather than what to offer to strengthen the state. Equally sad is the use of the name of the revered Chief Edwin Clark for political mischief. Also unfortunate is the mischievous use of the names of Okowa and Ibori; we must accord them their political space, respect, dignity no matter the travails or temptations. The Edwin Clark University is a product of sweat. Pa Clark personally sold his properties to establish that university. Delta has three private universities which Gov. Okowa is doing his best to encourage, knowing their contributions to development, employment generation and knowledge transfer. They must not be sacrificed by merchants of greed. Shame on them because no blackmail can rock a solid foundation Okowa has laid in sustaining brotherhood above division.
Those blackmailing DESOPADEC to get money for peace to reign must understand nobody holds monopoly of violence; we must cherish the greater good of society. Rumour peddlers should stop using Clark’s name in their blackmail. Chief Clark, as a father, bears no grudge; he supports Gov. Okowa for his accomplishments as Okowa holds him in highest esteem. Okowa is responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of Deltans; that’s why he created a synergy that allows foes, friends and political opponents find a point of understanding in the state.
Askia Ogie is doing well in taking development to the people through community development initiatives, where consultation, choice and execution of projects reside with the people. The detractors should direct their energy to supporting Okowa for the benefit of the state. We must entrench equity, fairness and respect elders because leadership is sacrifice. We must not encourage stomach politics that only end up destroying our values and identity.
*Prince Abugo, a concerned Deltan,wrote from Uzere, Delta StateSource: