By Loveth Orheruata
A good product is a good product. You can only envy it but you cannot destroy it. That is what Olorogun David Edevbie is, and in the determination of who succeeds His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to sustain his legacies and further drive the development and growth of Delta State, we cannot substitute such for lesser quality.
For those who suggest that Chief Onanefe Ibori brought him into government merely based on friendship, we wish to remind them that Governor Ibori, indeed, HEAD-HUNTED Edevbie from the Commonwealth Development Corporation when he was an investment officer for Asia and the Pacific Region, responsible for the development of investments in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Philippines and other Asian Tiger countries, and that he sacrificed his corporate career to serve his home state and country, which he has done excellently.
As Commissioner of Finance under Governor Ibori, he grew the revenue and budget of the state by over 1000 per cent in just four years, from N6b in 1999 to over N60b by 2003.
He led the Commissioners of Finance of the oil-producing states to pursue and actualise the payment of the 13% Derivation, which provided a special and extra revenue for the Niger Delta states. These are verifiable facts for all to see.
These foundations laid by Edevbie account for Delta State’s revenue growth, capacity to fund various capital projects across the state and its relative financial stability and progress.
While we have Chief Ibori to thank for identifying and bringing such a talent to serve Delta State and the nation, we wish to make it clear that President Umaru Yar’adua did not appoint Edevbie his Principal Secretary merely by the nomination of Chief Ibori.
For the records, Edevbie was identified to Governor Umaru Yar’adua by a former colleague, Tanimu Yakubu, founding President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and then Katsina State Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, through their interactions as Finance Commissioners of their different states.
Recognising his qualities, Yar’adua requested Chief Ibori to avail him of Edevbie’s services as Director of Finance and Strategy for his Presidential Campaign.
In appreciation of Edevbie’s excellent performance, Yar’adua further appointed him as his Principal Secretary.
Working in the Presidency, Edevbie contributed in crafting some of the policies that saw Yar’adua’s government set up Nigeria’s first Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
Teaming up with other key officials of government, Edevbie contributed greatly in working out the Presidential Amnesty Programme that led to ending the Niger Delta crisis and boosting the country’s crude oil output from 800,000bpd back to 2 million bpd.
We are proud to note that while our Niger Delta youths survived the invasion of Odi and Choba and intensified militancy, while our elders are rightly still in the agitation for restructuring, Edevbie utilised his time at the Presidency and employed his professional skills to contribute towards the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the establishment of the Presidential Amnesty Programme which, to a large extent, have not only accorded more resources to the Niger Delta, supported skills acquisition and employability of Niger Delta youths, but have also ensured relative peace in the region.
Having demonstrated such enormous capacity and clout, both in private and public service, to add value and deliver effective governance, peace and development, he is just the right person to govern Delta State.
Deltans cannot mortgage such quality and the prospects of economic advancement he presents, on the altar of primordial political and sectional sentiments.
Let the best do it for the good and glory of all Deltans.