Ever since the advent of democratic rule in Nigeria, there has been this worrisome attitude amongst the political class, that, it is only by making the people subservient and dependent on them, they could obtain and retain their support thereby parading a façade of grassroots support.
This attitude which is almost the norm, is what propels the politician to execute policies and programs that would only create a temporary relief to the people while neglecting the fundamental issues.
This odoriferous and inherently defective mindset portrayed above is meant to satisfy political expediency. With an eye on the next elections, it is obvious that there is no long term plan for the people.
In Delta State, Senator Okowa is carrying out a critical political revolution without much noise and hullabaloo. He is changing the narrative above and placing the interests of Deltans in the center of his politics. Instead of giving out fish to the people, Governor Okowa is teaching the people how to catch fish.
By the execution of several projects across the length and breadth of all Local Government Areas in the state, Governor Okowa has shown that he is a leader that is prepared to uplift Deltans from dependency and despondency to a state of socio-economic independence whereby the private sector would drive the economy of the state. Two instances will illustrate this point clearer.
Firstly, ever since his inauguration almost two years ago, Okowa has embarked on aggressive construction of roads and bridges across the state thereby literally turning the state into a huge construction site. From Abraka town to Asaba, From Ughelli to Effurun, From Agbor to Warri, the story is the same. Massive road constructions and rehabilitation of existing ones have been going on. These includes the dualization of the 7.1 kilometer Nnebisi Road (from traffic light junction to cable point) Asaba, dualization of Sapele road from Amukpe to AT & P and the reconstruction of old Oleh /Emede/ Olomoro road, Oleh among many others. The government has also embarked on the rehabilitation of the Asaba Airport runway and taxiway.
The rationale for this, according to Mr. Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, the Chief Press Secretary to Dr Okowa is to bring about development, as well as empowering the people. In his words, “What we are trying to do by providing roads that link up some communities is so that those who are into certain forms of production will have access to the market, because when we do that, they will be able to employ more people and when they employ more people, it means that government has created more jobs”.
Secondly, Governor Okowa has identified agriculture as a veritable pathway to economic independence and development. In this way, he launched the Skill Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) as well as the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) through which thousands of youths have become self sufficient and employers of labour. At the launch of the 2nd batch of the schemes in September 2016, the Governor stated as follows, “The way out is for people to acquire skills, empowered to be self sufficient and become employers of labour. We are training you to become job creators that we need in Delta State. You are here to improve on your lives and be in a position to be employers of labour. I believe that you are going to step into a greater future. I want to see you as better Deltans, Deltans who will say, I have been able to create jobs for my self and jobs for others”.
At another occasion, Okowa had this to say, “We are interested in the agricultural sector and anything that will enhance that sector is something that we are open to, because, we believe that, that is the way out in terms of job creation and for our people to be able to fend for themselves” .
Indeed Governor Okowa has shown that the ‘SMART Agenda’ approach to governance is by advancing the fundamental desires of Deltans, a paradigm shift you may say, putting the people in the center of government policies.
This has shown him as a leader who cares beyond the present.
Even in the face of a dwindling national economy and a huge debt profile incurred by the previous administration, Okowa has shown a genuine interest in the future of the people unlike certain hypocritical political masters.