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Ifeanyi Okowa
Delta Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa

The Arena

2023: Okowa, A Team Player, Will Always Consult for Equity, Unity – MSD

The Movement for Stronger Delta, MSD, is quite amused by the content and craft of some of the advise which a plethora of commentators, enjoying the largely unrestrained platform of social media, have been dishing out to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, sometimes couched in amateurish satire and often laced with audacious threats, hallucinatory convictions and a good dose of bitter, acrimonious verbiage, on the refined, respectable and polished personality of the genteel Ekwueme.

What comes across from reading some of these circumstantial offerings, is that either their authors only just started engaging in the Delta political discourse in the wake of this particular election season, or perhaps they possess incurable intellectual laziness, that inhibits and limits the scope of their research frontiers, which subsequently translates into some of the highly opinionated and watery analysis they put out in the public space.

Otherwise, let us be honest, is there anybody in Delta today, who can challenge the incontrovertible fact, with verifiable examples of course, that Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State and the ‘Ekwueme gburugburu’ of the universe, is undoubtedly, the most strategically astute and electorally accomplished politician, amongst all the active political figures in the field, both in the PDP and across all the political parties, in Delta State today?

His Pedigree is unparalleled and it is worth summarizing just to inform and educate the doubters and cretins. A distinguished Medical Doctor from the prestigious University of Ibadan, he has served as Local Government Chairman, a Commissioner in multiple portfolios, a Secretary to the State Government, the Director-General of a victorious Gubernatorial election campaign council, a distinguished Senator, who in his first and only term so far, was appointed meritoriously to head a critical Senate Committee and then a beloved and overwhelmingly endorsed Governor, whose resounding landslide triumphs in two Governorship elections, devasted the opposition into electoral submission and semi-annihilation.

His burgeoning Zonal and National stature equally remains phenomenal and unparalleled and it is worth reminding those who undermine his influence that the undiluted trust and absolute confidence which his peers and fellow party leaders and stakeholders reposed in his capacity and strength of character, was so complete and total, that Ekwueme was overwhelmingly endorsed by all the heavyweight aspirants and their fire breathtaking sponsors and supporters, to handle the 2019 PDP Presidential Election Primary in Port Harcourt.

His firm, unshakable supervision and brilliant midwifing of that highly incendiary Primary, at a time when the PDP was hovering precariously on the precipice of a potentially combustible disintegration, if the Presidential Primary had become contentious, was arguably the major deciding factor in the successful commencement of the rebuilding and consolidation process of the PDP, after the calamitous fragmentation following the 2015 presidential loss.

Of course, we must not also forget that he is the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, a position, and responsibility he was literally ‘begged’ by his fellow Governors to assume, at a time when the region was going through a political metamorphosis and a leadership crisis seemed to engulf the political space.

So, is this the same leader who many of the commentators, are busy creating the impression that he is confused and doesn’t know what to do or how to handle the 2023 succession process?

It is indeed laughable and quite unfortunate that these writers and publicists, who are filling the public space with their own confusion and obvious lack of proper knowledge about the subject they are discussing, have not really taken time out to study, understand, appreciate, and be marveled at the astute brinkmanship and the strategic acumen and superiority of the Ekwueme.

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Do these folks who offer their puerile and spurious advise actually believe he achieved all these electoral feats by lying down in his house and waiting for anointing from one godfather or some ethnic leaders and traditional rulers? Believe it or not, Senator Okowa participated in at least two or three Delta North based mock guber primaries in 2014, ostensibly to select a consensus candidate for Anioma Nation, and yes, he emerged victorious in all of them, yet those who lost out in those mock exercises, also bought nomination forms and contested the main primary election in the PDP, with him.

This is the very formidable political force who some people, because they have been offered the licence and freedom of social media, are now deploying and exposing the limitations of their peripheral research in Delta political matters, to throw kindergarten tantrums and cast all manner of futile aspersions on a man whose political trajectory is replete with outstanding electoral triumphs and accomplishments; the ways and manner of which should even be taught as a special course in the Political Science classes of prestigious academic institutions.

Suffice it to say, however, that one of the most admirable and now collectively accepted and endorsed traits of his political philosophy, is the humility of his concerted and untiring effort to always seek and engage in rigorous and robust consultations with political leaders, elders, and peers of his constituencies, and his magnanimity in accepting that power belongs to the people and the will of the people should be upheld; a principle, which is now legendary in Delta PDP.

It is on record that in his entire political career, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has never acted unilaterally or autocratically in any matter which required collective input, consultation, and negotiations to arrive at unanimous and satisfactory agreements with the majority. The Ekwueme is and has always been a great team player.

For example, there is this story which is seldom told by Governor Okowa himself and only at selected gatherings too, about the 2014 PDP primary for the Ika North East House of Assembly ticket, which is his Constituency. According to the story, which has been corroborated by the leaders, elders, and the very people involved, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri had emerged as the surprise winner of the DTHA Ika North East Constituency primary.

But Elekeokwuri was not the aspirant that Governor Okowa had supported initially and when the news got to him that his main choice aspirant had been defeated, the first question the Ekwueme asked was if the primary had been free, fair, and transparent.

He was convinced with solid and verifiable evidence by his people that it was, after which, he warmly congratulated Hon. Elekeokwuri and supported him to victory as the candidate to represent him in the Delta State House of Assembly, and as the saying goes, the rest is now history, as Hon. Elekeokwuri has stood out in shining colours, in his two terms, as one of the most outstanding legislators and performers in DTHA. That’s the man Okowa for you.

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It is against backdrops like this, which have become quite synonymous with the Okowa leadership style of consultation and letting the people decide, that the Movement for  Stronger Delta, is a bit disturbed by the quality and slant of some of the opinions which seem to gain dubious currency in the public space. The uncouth manner, deliberate desperation, ill-concealed acrimony, and opprobrious bitterness dripping from some of these write-ups, often fueled and stoked by some of the aspirants themselves, beggars belief.

One clear fact which is incontestable in this season’s gubernatorial race, is that virtually all the aspirants, especially in the PDP, have either worked closely or partnered and collaborated with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, in one capacity or the other, either administratively or politically, and in all these relationships and interactions, there has been nothing but words of praise, encouragement, mutual respect, and harmonious camaraderie between the Governor and each and every one of them.

It was in the spirit of these holistic team goals and group understanding, that Governor Okowa announced, quite early in the year, that all those political appointees who had intentions and ambitions to vie for elective positions, should do the right thing by resigning their appointments, not only in accordance with constitutional provisions, but indeed to concentrate on planning a proper campaign to actualize their objectives, going forward.

We were therefore perplexed to read from some persons who should know better, that Governor Okowa had promised multiple persons that he would hand over to them, which prompted their decision to resign and purchase nomination forms. Who does that!!! Were some of them not even the same persons who the Governor had nominated for screening to the House of Assembly, as members of his Executive council and worked with them as partners in delivering the SMART Agenda and driving the prosperity for all Deltans mantra?

Governor Okowa has never and will never play God, but he has insisted that whoever will take over from him must keep the fire of the altar alive and burning, even as he has appealed passionately to Deltans to pray for Divine guidance and revelation as the succession process unfolds. And of course, the robust caucus meetings and rigorous consultations which have taken place both in Government House, Asaba, and in other recognized locations across the State, have been widely reported.

It is imperative to point out at this juncture that one of the very salient agreements which the leaders, elders, and stakeholders of the PDP have unanimously endorsed and accepted, as a sine qua non, is the fact that in the event that they cannot agree on a consensus candidate, all the aspirants should then proceed to participate in a primary election to determine who emerges as the guber flag bearer of the party.

This agreement has even achieved greater significance and acceptance, with the categorical declaration and unwavering pledge by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, echoed and buttressed by the party leadership at every given opportunity, that the PDP Primaries will be free and fair and the party will provide a level playing field for all aspirants.

The impetus of this well-received declaration by Governor Okowa and the PDP leadership in the State, has manifested in a flurry of impressive movements to Wadata Plaza in Abuja, by distinguished and confident party members, who are fully convinced that they possess the capacity, acumen, wherewithal, and popularity to clinch the guber ticket.

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And while the number, which is about Eleven aspirants at the time of this write up, is still a far cry from the 2014 stampede, where over Twenty-Four aspirants, which was eventually trimmed to Eighteen, including some outstanding Amazons, braved the odds in the primaries, we must applaud those who have bought their declaration of intent and nomination forms, to contest the PDP guber primary. After all, as the saying goes in our dear Delta, ‘Twenty-One Million naira no be beans’.

We also want to salute those who have purchased declaration of intent and nomination forms for the other elective positions in the forthcoming primaries, for the 2023 general elections. What their actions signify is the full conviction they have in the declaration that the primaries will be free and fair. They have unequivocally confirmed by their action that they trust the process and are ready to go all the way.

Indeed what is gradually becoming clearer in the Delta political space, as the primaries draw closer, is the fact that the PDP will conduct free and fair primaries and is already providing a level playing field even now, because all the aspirants have already been granted direct access to meet with the recognized statutory delegates in the Three Senatorial Zones, interact with them and try to convince them with whatever strategies they wish to deploy.

These meetings have been widely publicized and reported in all the media for all to see and this is really a major achievement, in the effort to reassure all aspirants that in the final analysis, the power to elect a candidate as the winner of the primaries, is in the hands of the delegates and not in the hands of one man alone, as the naysayers and ill-prepared ones have been trying very hard, but without much success, to sell to Deltans.

Every serious guber aspirant must have set up their teams in all the Senatorial Zones and even LGAs and must have met with all the statutory delegates by now, pending when the Congresses for the Wards, Local Government, State, and National delegates, will be conducted to elect those delegates.

Interestingly, many people had before now, raised all kinds of meanings interpretations, and perceptions and ranted with righteous indignation, over the catchphrase “where Okowa go, we will follow” or is it even “where Okowa go, we go” mantra, which had been quite popular a few months ago.

But now that it has become clearly established that the PDP primaries will be free and fair and the power to elect whoever will fly the party flag, is now in the hands of the delegates, the new mantra which is sounding sweet on everybody’s lips and is rapidly gaining popular acceptance on the streets of Delta these days is: “where the people go, Okowa will follow”.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, ‘Ekwueme world wide’ is a great leader and a beloved team player and together with Deltans, will all collectively decide who will become the flag bearer of the PDP in the 2023 governorship elections and subsequently move on to consolidate the #StrongerDelta agenda.

That, after all, is the SIMPLE Agenda.


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