By Chianugo Emeka
Many people now regard me as being antagonistic to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State. Some say I do not write anything good about him, others have tagged me as carrying out a hatchet job for a paymaster, while some are more reasonable to understand the crux of the matter.
Let me state here unequivocally that I had strong admiration for Okowa when I knew him. While working with him, we did so with all of our heart but little did we know that he is a chameleon and quite sneaky.
In 2006, prior to the 2007 general elections, we in Delta North made up our minds that we wanted an Okowa as our governor. We argued that it was our turn to produce governor in line with equitable rotation of Power amongst senatorial zones, we further pointed to the alphabetical arrangement to buttress that after James Ibori who hails from Delta Central had served out his term, Delta North should come next before Delta South.
During this political plotting, we gathered under the aegis of Delta North Political Union (DNPU), a group formed by some of his own brothers. This group had notable political brains like Uche Ugboma, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, Barrister Chuks Obusom, among others. We made Okowa our maximum leader, because we had that dream of making him governor, so worked to place him at the point of showcasing what stuff was made of and how responsible he could be. In the course of these political plays many Anioma politicians and representatives at the time, keyed into the project. Some were divisive, but the ones that embraced the project were of more reasonable.
Okowa at the time lacked the financial muscle, but his Anioma brothers in government helped him out big time; they had made up their minds to make the project to work and to succeed. Another group was formed, United Delta Mandate (UDM). This group was instrumental to penetrating the entire nook and crannies of Delta state. It was formed and sponsored by his Anioma brother, Rt Hon Victor Ochei.
After the campaigns came the election at Ogwashi Uku stadium; an election that made the then state governor to sweat. Okowa came neck in neck with Dr. Uduaghan, the state government’s preferred candidate. A rerun was called, we needed to do more work and so we set ourselves for more mobilisation, only to be informed that our brother had sold out. He had already accepted to be the Director General of Uduaghan’s campaign. As a matter of fact he had signed an agreement to be SSG during Uduaghan’s tenure and would succeed him afterwards.
Delta North was broken. As SSG, he performed abysmally, and politically, he was to be relegated by the then state government (just as it is with Ovie Agas today). Then came his Anioma brothers again, who advised him to resign and contest the Senate elections. The road to the senate was unarguably a rough and tough one, but in the end, we all came out victorious.
All through the years that Okowa was Senator, nobody heard from him until the race to Government House Asaba commenced, not even his voice was heard in the senate. Some persons will argue that he was the one who ensured the passage of the health insurance bill, what has become of the bill in Delta state under him?
My worry about him started during the consultation periods. He came to Aniocha North to consult with the party executives and he said he was not in the race for the Anioma Agenda, that he was in the race simply because he was the older member of the party, he said had served longer, that he was there when the party was created, and thathe knew those who started with them and those who joined along the way.
I felt this was a statement of betrayal back then, for the Anioma agenda was none negotiable. The intrigues that played out in the elections can best be imagined. Okowa turned out to be a governor on a vendetta mission rather than one that is set out to govern. First, he started to pull down his own brothers, fighting them with the same power given him by them.
In all this, his performance has proved that he was the least qualified for the job. Perhaps the highest point of Okowa’s declaration of political war was the fraudulent removal of Honourables Osy Okocha and Godwin Abigor….this sin I know will haunt him forever.
The party he inherited in one piece, he has torn to shreds; he has turned governance to a village moonlight dance. His prosperity agenda for all Deltans has turned out the biggest scam ever as only he and his retinues of thugs are ably empowered. He cannot even pay workers and he is unmoved by their plight. All he thinks of is second tenure.
As governor, he only concentrated on roads and those roads are awarded to proxy companies of his, but the crux of it is that the roads are shoddily done and overpriced, less than a kilometre of road under him is constructed with N200million and more. A quick sampling of people’s opinion will reveal that there is much more to the man than meets the eye. How could he tell us there is no money to better the lives of Deltans, yet his aides are buying and erecting buildings everywhere, living extravagant and for some, immoral lives. Paris club monies have been received severally by him with nothing to show.
• Mr. Chianugo Emeke sent in this View Point from Asaba.
• Editor’s note: Responses to this piece are welcome.