Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is no doubt a consummate political titan. Right from a very young age, he has always been entrusted with leadership roles and he always delivers.
From his school days at the prestigious University of Ibadan to his stint at the Ika Local Government Council, to his remarkable feat as Commissioner and Secretary to the Delta State Government, his politics has always been underscored with a strong desire to improve the lot of the masses.
This is the political philosophy that many of his admirers including yours truly refer to as Okowability. Dr Okowa’s steady but meteoric rise in politics is attributable in the main to a firm educational background.
As a young man and unto the better part of his youth, Dr Okowa was a beneficiary of the free and qualitative education policy which was the hallmark of successive administrations such as that of Obafemi Awolowo, Samuel, Ogbemudia, Ambrose Alli and others. Indeed, Okowa is a product of that glorious era wherein education was the focus and the welfare of school teachers was not compromised.
It is therefore regrettable and appalling and most unfortunate that the same Senator Okowa who rode on to power on the crest of the people who believed in his legacy, the civil servants, the teachers would oversee the destruction of education at the basic level.
Okowa comes from a long line of educationists. In fact, until very recently, Okowa‘s mother was a Secondary school teacher. He understands the place of teachers in a society such as Delta State. It was the therefore the expectation of teachers that their man was on the saddle and should make no mistake about this expectation.
Owing to the downturn in the national economy, teachers were not asking for the impossible. They only wanted a sustenance of the existing welfare framework that will enable them impart knowledge on the children. Instead of meeting this legitimate expectation, Governor Okowa has drawn the battleline with the teachers. Several months salaries are being owed, leave allowances, promotion bonuses are all outstanding and accumulating and to further spite these teachers, Governor Okowa has threatened to invoke the no-work, no-pay policy.
The result of this cold and disdainful attitude of the Delta State Government towards the welfare of teachers would only lead to a drawback in the educational attainments of the recent past where Delta State was renown for its educational feats.
The more time the children stay at home, the more they become exposed to being recruited for antisocial activities such as oil bunkering, Armed robbery, cultism, prostitution etc.
Even though the children of Governor Okowa are all abroad studying, the cries of these children for which education is the only route to escape a lifetime of ignorance and poverty, should be a source of great concern to the Okowa’s administration or are the children of Delta State excluded from the Okowability mantra?
This is the time for Okowa to rise beyond just being a politician who only thinks of the next election to become a statesman who thinks of the next generation.
If indeed the children and youths are the future leaders, the state government should meet the demands of the teachers else Delta state stands on a keg of gunpowder beholden of a cataclysmic future should Okowa continue on his warpath with the teachers.
It is a path of perfidy and political oblivion which Okowa cannot risk.