OKOWA: Before It Is Too Late

Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa

Since the inception of the Okowa administration in Delta State over two years ago, there has somewhat been a lull in governance. Although there has been some show off by Governor Okowa to project the activities of the administration, it is the agreement of all critical minds that there is still a disconnect and a chasm between the Government and Deltans.

This situation is exacerbated by the mostly professional politicians and mediocre individuals appointed as Commissioners, Special Assistants etc with no clue as to the basic workings of government as well as the motivation to articulate and project the policies of the state government.

It is no gainsaying the fact that the present composition of the Delta State Executive Council was done in pursuit of political balance and patronage, even at the expense of merit and capacity for service. This has invariably raised a situation where the incompetence of these square pegs in round holes has become even the more pronounced.

Despite parading a retinue of about 25 commissioners as well as over 250 SAs, SSAs and PAs the activities of government seem to be at the lowest ebb at the moment.

Deltans do not know the policies of the State government in the ministries. This attitude has also been observed at the offices of these so-called government functionaries, where they rarely show up to direct the business of government.

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It is visible even to the blind that the State Executive Council is not fully given in to the SMART Agenda of the Okowa administration. In fact the aides of the Governor especially the SAs and SSAs has now come to be described by Deltans as the only form of life with a thousand bellies and no head. They seem to be in competition with a lame duck who are not aware of the demands of the office they hold. They are the worst enemies of the current administration as all that these crop of persons are concerned about is to amass pecuniary gains for themselves and milk the state dry, abandoning the task of governance for the Governor alone. It is the saying of the wise that a tree cannot make a forest. Governor Okowa cannot at the same time be the commissioner for Agriculture, Commissioner for Health, Commissioner for Housing, Commissioner for Information and an all-round Special Assistant. But that is the unfortunate scenario playing out before Deltans due to the sheer incompetence and abdication of duty by the appointed aides of Okowa.

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For instance, save from last year’s Ministerial Press Briefing, over 90% of Commissioners and other appointed aides in Delta State have not at any time engaged the people via the Press. This is not only embarrassing, it smacks of taking Deltans who massively elected Dr Okowa for granted.

Deltans can recall with nostalgia, the days of Commissioners in the mould of Veronica Ogbuagu who marshalled out the Ibori Agenda in the education sector. It is only a pity that Okowa should be doing the work of commissioners and aides who are paid for doing nothing. This is akin to the man living by the great river and washing his hands with spittle. If Okowa who is a known workaholic can bear with this situation, Deltans are confused and bewildered, looking onto Okowa to do the needful.

It is therefore time for Okowa to assess, rejig and reconstitute his entire Cabinet. The new set of commissioners and other aides which would be appointed, should be competent individuals who are ready to serve Deltans as well as advance the SMART Agenda of the Okowa administration. They should be men, women and youths with the right motivation for governance that would deliver the dividends of democracy to Deltans. They should be people who recognize that Deltans as critical stakeholders in the Delta State project should be carried along.

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It is understood that Okowa already has his eyes on 2019 and may have only been careful so as not to upset the political applecart. But the interest of Deltans to quality and responsive governance should always be sacrosanct. In the end, the character of the persons that make up the cabinet of Senator Okowa may be what would earn or deny him a second term.

Deltans deserve the best and this is when Okowa should do a switch over to the FIRST ELEVEN, BEFORE IT BECOMES TOO LATE.

There can be no better time for the reconstitution of the cabinet than now that the Okowa administration is already halfway through.

 

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